2009 album by one of the finest American songwriters of his generation. Working on a Dream was recorded with the E Street Band and features 12 new Springsteen compositions plus a bonus track: 'The Wrestler'. . It is the fo... more »urth collaboration between Springsteen and Brendan O'Brien, who produced and mixed the album. Springsteen also wrote an eponymous song for Darren Aronofsky's 2008 film The Wrestler. The song, also titled 'The Wrestler' won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. SBME. 2009.« less
2009 album by one of the finest American songwriters of his generation. Working on a Dream was recorded with the E Street Band and features 12 new Springsteen compositions plus a bonus track: 'The Wrestler'. . It is the fourth collaboration between Springsteen and Brendan O'Brien, who produced and mixed the album. Springsteen also wrote an eponymous song for Darren Aronofsky's 2008 film The Wrestler. The song, also titled 'The Wrestler' won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. SBME. 2009.
"I read a Springsteen interview once where he noted that his fans don't seem to like his music when he's happy. I thought then - and I think now - that even his serious albums have music that makes me happier than anything else I've ever heard, and I don't mean just Thunder Road or Born to Run, but Open All Night (Dublin Live) or Maria's Bed (Devils & Dust).
So I'm sorry to say that I'm yet another one of those long-time Springsteen fans who's disappointed in this album. The Bruce I love seems to sing directly to the audience, but in this CD, as in Magic, he sounds about 10 miles away, with a lot of noise between us. I have to say I think this album is worse than Magic, however, because there's not a single song that makes you want to get up and rock, and only the Wrestler genuinely touches your emotions. Are we having fun or do we care when we listen to this? When the answer to both is no then the album comes nowhere near Bruce's usual standards. Outlaw Pete is the closest we can get to enjoyment, but Supermarket Queen and Surprise Surprise are so cheesy that I'm embarrassed to listen to them. And the album is unusually unvaried (read: boring), with nearly every song at a similar volume and tempo.
Bruce still has plenty of energy in concert - I saw him last in August when he was outstanding - but he sounds pretty tired here. And, as others have mentioned, the E-Street band might be credited, but I can't hear them. He's always had ups and downs, so we can keep our fingers crossed for Better Days..."
It shows the soft, joyous side of Bruce's passionate, outsta
jazz4thenight | Florida | 01/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Working On A Dream" is his 24th album and the fourth collaboration between Bruce Springsteen and producer Brendan O''Brien. The album was recorded at Southern Tracks in Atlanta, L.A., New York and New Jersey, and has echoes of the Californian music scene of the mid-60s, with shades of Brian Wilson circa 1966, pulsing through at various times. It could be viewed as an extension to 2007's Magic, as the Boss finished that album he carried on writing material. While "Magic" is a record underscored by fear, disgust and shame at the direction of his country under the previous America administration, now, as he plays to inaugurate the new president, the weight seems to have been lifted. The most political thing about "Working On A Dream" is that it is not political at all. The album dwells on love and optimism instead of political discontent. The effect is like a superhero looking down on a society safely returned to normality, saying "my work here is done". And those new songs are reflections on love, life and death and all points in between as only the romantic aspect of Springsteen can conjure. The mood is set by the opener "Outlaw Pete", a tongue-in-cheek ballad ('at six months old he'd done three months in jail, he robbed a bank in his diapers and little bare baby feet') and western epic that's more Howard Hawks than Clint Eastwood and all the better for it. Otherwise the songs are tight, Springsteen forgoing length for impact, and the hits roll: the touching "Queen of the Supermarket" - which is about nothing more profound than fancying a checkout girl - , the raucous swamp-blues "Good Eye", the Macca-tastic "Surprise, Surprise" and the beautiful, brooding "The Last Carnival", which alludes to the death last year of E Street Band keyboardist Danny Federici. Where he once bristled with testosterone-fuelled certainty in "She's The One", he is now in love. "My Lucky Day" and "Surprise, Surprise" are exuberant love songs, and Bruce Springsteen's joy at a bright future shines through. This album resounds with the same passion as Born in the U.S.A. a quarter of a century ago, less relentlessly intense but no less of its time. The album wraps with "The Wrestler", featured in the new Mickey Rourke film about a has-been grapple king directed by Darren Aronofsky. All in all, this is an album which shows Bruce's passionate, joyously outstanding pop world. Out of a Dream The Wrestler [Theatrical Release]"
Like Magic, A Fine Collection Of Songs Butchered In The Stud
Samuel Shabrin | Phoenix, AZ United States | 01/28/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Like Magic, Working On A Dream is a good collection of songs, some stronger than others, but great to hear Springsteen's creative juices are still flowing. Also like Magic, it's too bad the recording is so compressed that it hurts to listen to it. Strangled cymbals, organ that sound like it's being played through a toilet paper roll, background singers that are singing... something- can't make out a melody...
Unlike Magic, I am hoping a 5.1 surround mix is released so I can actually hear and distinguish the drums, organ, guitar, strings, bass, instead of hearing "drumsorganguitarstringsbass"."
I didn't think Bruce could sound this bad
K. Casey | Yonkers, NY USA | 01/30/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I am a die-hard Bruce fan and I generally fall in love with anything he writes...but this is quite possibly the worst of all his albums. There are some pretty good tunes on here - "The Wrestler," "Working on a Dream," "Outlaw Pete" - but there are many awkwardly bad ones. I want to like "My Lucky Day" and "Queen of the Supermarket," but the lyrics are irrevocably hokey, something you don't expect from Bruce. "What Love Can Do" and "This Life" are just flat and boring. "Surprise, Surprise" is one of the worst songs he has ever written. He says he worked on this album quickly, and it shows. I'm certainly disappointed.
UPDATE: Here I am months later in May and I still think this is the worst album Bruce has ever put out. I can appreciate everything he's done from Before the Fame right up through Magic (the list of my ten favorite Bruce albums includes an even mix of 70s, 80s, and his modern stuff)...but I can't make it through this album. I'm going to see Bruce in New Jersey this week (my 5th concert) and I'm SO grateful that he only seems to be playing 2-3 songs a night from "Working on a Nightmare!""
Springsteen's 'Dream' Works Well
Lance G. Augustine | The Midwest, USA | 01/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"From an objective point of view, Working On A Dream may not entirely please every Bruce Springsteen fan, but I don't think it will alienate many either. From fun, upbeat pop/rock to intimate acoustic balladry, this collection takes off from where 2007's Magic ended, but also includes more than a hint of 'classic' Springsteen sound. This is by no means a 'perfect' record, but it has more than enough substantial material to stand uniquely on its own in The Boss' discography.
Written and recorded quickly beginning immediately upon the conclusion of Magic, there's a 'raw'-ness at the core of many of these songs that no amount of production can cover up. And yes, producer Brendan O'Brien has ordered up quite the majestic arrangement on many of the tracks...almost to the point of overdoing it at times. The string orchestra is back in full force, and there are times where the music comes close to overwhelming Bruce's vocal. For example, on "What Love Can Do" and parts of the second and third verses of "Life Itself", you lose a few words here and there due to guitars and/or background vocals that seem to share the same frequencies as the vocal. But for the most part, you get to hear Bruce's one-of-a-kind vocals loud and clear. On a few songs, we get a very 'up-front' vocal sound...especially on songs where the arrangements aren't as big, like "The Last Carnival" and "The Wrestler". On "Carnival", I love how Bruce's voice cracks and breaks at the end of many of the lines...most tracks were recorded in only a couple of takes, and that adds up to a high 'human' factor...very real and pure, like he's singing live right in front of you.
A few tracks haven't done a lot for me yet in the short time I've been listening to it..."Good Eye" seems to be just another run-of-the-mill blues rocker, and the 'almost-country two-step' "Tomorrow Never Knows" hasn't had me doing any cartwheels either. Then again, I initially wrote off "My Lucky Day" as overly simplistic and repetitious, but it's grown on me a bit now (and it's fun to dance to), so I think its possible to change your tune on some of the songs that don't instantly strike you. Several did have an immediate impact on me however...the bottom of the lineup is especially strong starting from "Life Itself" (I love the different, almost eerie mood) all the way to "The Wrestler", the Golden Globe Award winner and my personal favorite song here...that one's all emotion with a wonderful vocal delivery.
"Outlaw Pete" paints a picture of the American west with guns ablazing with a bottom line message of learning to live with the sins of our past in order to move forward. The absurd 'controversy' over Bruce stealing this from Kiss ("I Was Made For Lovin' You") has me smelling 'publicity stunt'...while the melodies share the same notes, NOTHING else is remotely similar. Several tunes focus on a personal relationship theme...a line from "Kingdom Of Days" tells us "I don't see the summer as it wanes, just the subtle change of light upon your face." "The Last Carnival" remembers keyboardist Danny Federici, who lost his battle with cancer last April. "Queen Of The Supermarket" almost seemed silly at first...grocery shopping is a unique topic...but Bruce has said this song is to remind us we can find beauty where it's often ignored or passed by. No matter how trite the lyrics may seem at times, you know the wheels were turning in Bruce's head when he wrote it...there's always a message or deeper meaning there, even with all of these pop songs he's doing now.
In any case, it appears Bruce really enjoyed making this record...I don't believe he set out to break any new ground musically or to make any grand statement here either, but that doesn't diminish the enjoyment of listening to it...minor flaws aside, Working On A Dream works well.