First impressions: that production! It’s perfect. I wish he’d re-record Magic like this. It’s live-sounding, organic, deep, and even in its noisier moments weirdly intimate.
No epic stand-out solos. I would have liked one or two, but okay, we’ve moved on. An ensemble piece, with every musician locking into his part. Bittan’s playing defines The E Street Band – restrained, emotive, powerful, beautiful.
Compositionally, it’s a new hand from an old, old deck, so no points for spotting similar phrases or chords from his own huge catalogue or rock music in general. It sounds like what it is – a Springsteen/E St. album. Not self-referential, not going through the motions, not a cookie-cutter exercise. The real deal. What we were hoping for.
The three old songs are going to take a while for me. I’m familiar with them from bootlegs. Their tone is very much the New Dylan wordsmith he was back then, and although musically they fit better than might be expected – why? and why these? It’ll not be noticeable, perhaps, if you don’t know the original versions. Like all Springsteen albums since ’74, it’ll take a while to settle with me.
The reviews seem to be overwhelmingly positive. And there are songs here that are the equal to anything he’s done.
But? No buts. It’s the album we wanted. The Boss is back in town.