The occasional bombast, celebrity and popularity of Bruce Springsteen alienates many, but strip away the last two factors and any fair assessment says he frequently delivers classic rock'n'roll which refers to the past (garagebands, soul reviews, Dylan, the lineage of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie) and often has a wrap-around political ethic which can be understated.
This album -- which crashes to life with the cynical but double-edged We Take Care of Our Own and only makes a few faltering steps -- is unequivocal in its politics however. The cast here includes characters damaged by America's foreign wars and the battle on the homefront as bankers and real estate companies strip people of their homes, jobs and dignity.
Springsteen rails against these with howling rage or quietly seething fury and only when he tries to humanise the scenarios with an ameliorating love/relationship story does it stumble.
At the tme of release it was favourably reviewed at Elsewhere (here) but the question is, "Does it still stack up the first flush of enthusiasm has passed?"
Yep, with the same qualifications of course.
And now that it is just $13 at JB Hi-Fi stores (here), that makes it this week's play-loud Bargain Buy.
Incidentally, albums by The Boss have regularly appeared in our Bargain Buy suggestions. You can pick up some of his classics on the cheap. Have a look here.