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Magic, Bruce Springsteen's new studio recording and his first with the E Street Band in five years, is set for release by Columbia records on October 2, 2007. Produced and mixed by Brendan O'Brien, the album features eleven new Springsteen songs and was recorded at southern tracks recording studio in Atlanta, Ga.
Thirty-five years as a justifiable rock musician allows Bruce Springsteen an opinion on the state of over-the-air radio, and he takes it--and takes the medium to the woodshed on the ruthless "Radio Nowhere." The opening smash sets the tone, with the ageless Boss wondering, "Is there anybody out there?" before imploring, "I just want to hear some rhythm." Then, with E Street Band in tow, Springsteen goes on to retrace every step between here and Greetings from Asbury Park, hand-delivering more could-be, would-be hits than anything he's done since Born in the USA. Credit producer Brendan O'Brien for the wall of sound that backs "Girls in Their Summer Clothes," which sets the atmosphere for one of the great vocal performances by Springsteen, who plays the misfit "in the cool of the evening light" watching the girls "pass me by." With piano, glockenspiel, and infinite guitars, the rocker "I'll Work for Your Love" recalls The River, with Springsteen even settling for blue-collar hero in matters of the heart. "Livin' in the Future" could be an out-take from Darkness on the Edge of Town, with shades of Election Day blasting away with the boastful sax of Clarence Clemons and Little Steven's relentless backing vocals. There's even a hint of Nebraska on "Terry's Song," an earnest (and mostly solo) accolade with Springsteen acknowledging the death of a friend: "When they built you, brother/They broke the mold." The hidden track closes this unforeseen comeback, and for 48 minutes the nearly 60-year-old Bruce Springsteen sounds 35 again. --Scott HolterSee all Editorial Reviews
Top customer reviews
Gypsy Biker, Last To Die and Devils Arcade reflect on the outcomes of persons that went, some not to return, to Iraq.
I have both the vinyl and CD. Vinyl packaging is gatefold with a lyric album liner and nice label. Vinyl is 180G. Very nice, but my copy had some surface marks, I believe because of the extremely tight fit.
Main problem with this release, and it is a big one, is the mastering is awful. It is the best (worst ?) example of the compression engineers are using to get a loud sound out of a recording. The dynamics get lost and there is distortion due to the compression and having all the sound compacted together. The vinyl is hardly an improvement over the CD wich can sometimes be the case. In fact it seems almost worse.
Hard to believe it got released this way. Hoping this will get a proper mastering / uncompressed release. Perhaps even just digitally. An outstanding record.
'Magic', I would argue, is his best since 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'. Like 'Born in the USA', the album is deceiving in a way, as others have commented here, because the music is so friendly and rocking and yet the lyrics are full of anger and sadness. 'Radio Nowhere' explodes out of the speakers and just trashes the state of contemporary FM American radio. 'Last to Die' blasts the Bush Administration's Iraq war policy. 'Magic', the title track, seems to lament collective selfishness in society and rising racism. 'Gypsy Biker' documents the lost soul of a returning war Vet. The hidden track, 'Terry's Song', is a moving tribute to a departed, loved friend. Its poignancy is doubled by the fact that it could just as well been written for recently departed E Street Band organist Danny Federici - "when they built you Brother, they broke the mold...". Undeniably, this is American rock songwriting that simply doesn't exist anymore, with the exception, again, of Dylan.
I don't understand the criticisms I've read here of Brendan O' Brien's production. No album I've heard in the last couple of years booms so proudly or invites you into its wrath. Case in point - "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" sounds like Brian Wilson with modern technology, highlighting the friendliest Bruce vocal performance since "Hungry Heart", and enrapturing a wonderful tribute to lost summer innocence. If you're going to criticize production, try Madonna's latest, 'Hard Candy', which sounds like a mechanical disco-meets-going-out-of-business-porn-shop.
As you can probably tell, I love this album. If you are sick of manic-depressive techno bands with their hair hanging in their faces and hip-hop artists going on-and-on about urban ruthlessness and just want to hear music that makes you feel human again, 'Magic' is your choice. It is indeed magic.