By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

“Magic” is coming; magic is gone

In my latest for The Guardian, I explain why I’m not looking forward to “Magic,” the forthcoming album by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Update: You can’t take on Bruce without having to fend off his hordes of fans. I have more to say here, complete with ratings for every one of his albums.

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10 Comments

  1. MeTheSheeple

    Did you just declare a long career ended because of a single song that didn’t catch your fancy?Wow. That’s appalling on its face, nevermind the effort to praise the warbling and painful Robert Zimmerman over at least, well, fun musicians like the guys behind the Eddie and the Cruisers soundtracks.If innovation were that important, we’d all be walking behind Weird Al and Bob Rivers.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Not at all. As I said, I thought “The Rising” was a horrendous embarrassment. I didn’t mention “Devils & Dust” because I was running out of room, but I found that to be one of his most inconsequential albums, a very weak follow-up to “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” his only good album since “Tunnel of Love.” And at this point, even “Joad” is 12 years old.Springsteen’s career certainly isn’t over. I predict great success for “Magic,” whether it deserves it or not.

  3. another face at zanzibar

    Dan, I disagree with you about “The Rising,” although I must say I haven’t listened to it in a couple of years, so I’m not sure how it would hold up. I agree with you about “Magic.” I eagerly downloaded “Radio Nowhere” and almost threw up on first listen. Springsteen’s music is now cliche-ridden in every aspect (though not quite to the level of the Rolling Stones’ last effort). And he now sounds like John Cafferty doing Springsteen. Awful. And sad. I liked Billy Joel in the 1970s and have often wondered why he stopped writing songs. Now, as I listen to the current Bruce music, I’m happy Billy stopped and wish Bruce had, too. Mark

  4. Cody Pomeray

    Good call, Dan. I’ve been a Springsteen fan for eons and yet it’s been a steep downhill slide since Human Touch/Lucky Town (which could have been a masterpiece if it was mixed down to one CD).While The Rising felt like an appropriate artistic response to 9/11 at the time, in retrospect it’s awful. Then again, I’ve always preferred the thoughtful Bruce over the bar band River-esque Bruce.I only caught him live once when he first resurrected the E Street Band. I was glad to experience him live, but I don’t need to see the schtick again.The new song is unlistenable.Here’s a hot music tip for you. The new “new Dylan” is Ryan Adams – by far the most talented songwriter that I’ve encountered in years.

  5. another face an zanzibar

    I think the “new Dylan” is Dylan himself.

  6. Anonymous

    Why are you so observant about Bruce Springsteen and yet you still believe in the greatest conspiracy in the history of pop music: the “brilliance” of Bob Dylan? Bob Dylan is an embarrasment. Besides being the worst singer in the history of music, he hasnt put out a really good album since Blood On The Tracks. Tom Waits is a problematic singer as well, but compensates with consistent brilliance and a unique vision.

  7. Tony

    I’ve never been a huge Bruce Springsteen fan although I respect his longevity. By chance, I happened to see the “Radio Nowhere” video on the Tube and I thought I was looking at old footage of Keef’s solo effort. Then, I turned the volume on and heard that unmistakable, muddied, cluttered sound of the E Street Band, and hit the mute button again.

  8. Anonymous

    i agree with the ‘blood on the tracks’ remark – it’s hard to believe the genius behind that masterwork gave way to the abundant drek that followed.

  9. Dan Kennedy

    “Blood on the Tracks” might be Dylan’s best. But “Time Out of Mind,” “Love and Theft,” and “Modern Times” are stunningly good albums. There was some stuff in between that was pretty good, too, especially “Infidels” and “Oh Mercy.”I love Tom Waits. “Franks Wild Years” is great, great music.

  10. Bill Toscano

    Dan: It’s funny.You and I had exact opposite reactions to “The Rising.” I think it is one of the best concept albums ever, though not quite “The Dark Side of the Moon.”It redeemed Bruce for me. I had really turned sour on him after “Born in the USA” — arguably one of the 10 great American albums. I hadn’t liked “Nebraska,” and Tunnel of Love, “Human Touch” and “Lucky Town” all did little for me.”The Rising,” and the two recent Seeger pieces, really brought me back (as did “The Essential Bruce Springsteen.”)I am looking forward to the new one.Also, did you know that on Tuesday morning, between 7 and 8 a.m., WUMB is debuting his duet with Seeger?Billy T

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