#1 – Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
There are so many reasons to love Bruce Springsteen’s best album since 2002’s The Rising. I think the Boss is at his best when he has something to say. To quote Tom Joad in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, “I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too.”
That’s Springsteen to a tee. He’s the ambassador of rock to the common man. He sings of the travails of the blue collar worker. When the “Great Recession” hit us so hard that many people lost their homes, their jobs and even their lives, Bruce was there to try and pick up the emotional pieces and keep us informed. He spoke to the soul of us and with songs like “Wrecking Ball” which spoke of the tearing down of the old Giants stadium a place that held so much history for him. In a sense he spoke of the symbolism that relics of our past are being torn away and a not so bright future is upon us.
He even had a song with a rapper and it wasn’t bad at all. It caught some of us off guard, but Springsteen is nothing, if not modern. “Land of Hope and Dreams” is an immigrant anthem that speaks of what we used to be as a nation; a place where we opened our arms to those that wanted to come to our country for a better life. “Shackled and Drawn” is the story of our financial troubles. “Death to my Hometown” is like an old Irish folksong that speaks of the sheer destruction we have done to ourselves. The way we have let our politicians ruin everything that we once loved.
However, the linchpin of this album, the song that makes so effectively powerful is “We Take Care of Our Own”. In this era of selfishness, Bruce is saying get over yourselves and say hi to your neighbor. He’s saying if someone is in trouble we pick them up and we help them. We don’t watch they fail, we help them when we can. We were not founded on the principles of selfishness. We, always, throughout the annals of our existence as a nation, have taken care of our own. Bruce not only knows this, but this song is a piece of reminder and disgust all in one. We do not castigate those into the fiery pit of despair because we are better off. Just because you’re the one percent does not mean the 99 percent are any less integral in their efforts to make this nation greater.
Bruce exemplifies this as he traveled around helping people, giving of himself and his music. That is why Bruce Springsteen has the number one album of the year. Bruce reached out and told us if we stick together we’ll make it. We have dealt with this before and we came through because we stuck together. We can do this as one and he’s right.