Saturday, 19 April 2014
REVIEW: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN-AMERICAN BEAUTY E.P.
Here he is ladies and gentelmen. He's back after a three-month layover. For the record and for this day there's nothing more fittingly perfect than some new and classic Springsteen from the boss himself. Recentely on the second-hot streak of his post-middle-age career that started with New York's 'Rising', this generations American icon hasn't stopped 'Working On A Dream' with 'Wrecking Ball' like 'Magic' in this new milleniuum. The man who holds some of the most iconic records in all music in his classic catalogue from 'Born To Run' and 'Born In The U.S.A.' to 'The River' and 'Nebraska' has recentely given the winter worn blue-collar, blues feeling of the start of the year a new lift with his epic, enthusiastic energy. Just call him 'Mr. January' as he's owning the start of the years he continues to rule with his epic three-hour concerts set all around the world. This year we where given even more 'High Hopes' as Springsteen released a redux album of old B-Side, covers and live material that was magnificent and fresher than most young bands first, fantastic feeling records. With a Rage Against The Machine assist of 'The Nightwatchman' Tom Morello, E Street was paved with new power for this generation as rocks king over Prince stormed through some stellar classics at a new sonic speed from 'American Skin (41 Shots)' to 'The Ghost Of Tom Joad' to go along with Suicide's alive 'Dream Baby Dream' and the latest singled out success 'Just Like Fire Would'. Burning bright with even more B-sides of the record, Bruce had so much cutting-room floor material to master through that he even had to leave some records off this set, like only the man with the Dylan rivalling songbook can. Thankfully though for the collectors and the bootleggers we have a real find now as The Boss brings four of the most formidable of these tracks to the forefront going all Kevin Spacey for the 'American Beauty' E.P. for the record stores today. Like a million rose petals flying towards you this is iconic beauty of America like a classic movie...but this is a classic release for the record collection and Springsteen catalogue. You can put this next to the 'Chimes Of Freedom', 'Blood Brothers' (which birthed the original 'High Hopes') and 'Magic Tour Highlights' (that birthed the Morello marriage on the alive, live 'Ghost Of Tom Joad' reawakening) E.P's of Springsteen's extended play best.
From the built for a frame on-your-wall, cool cover you can tell this release is a classic and no throwaway, cashed-in side project. From it's Californian cool atmosphere to the off-cream, classic American car adorned by a denim clad girl sitting on the bonnet, this could be Frankie or Wendy ready to take a trip with the young Springsteen out of town and to the highways of the American dream. 'American Beauty' indeed, like the title-track that leads off with feelings of classic Springsteen with a inspired vocal twist from the baritone boss who keeps showing how underrated his range is (see and hear the falsetto on 'Lift Me Up'). As the Spring sings "I remember last summer drifting through our eyes/We're in the high grass, my finger in your hemline" this season his evoking lyrics and inspiring sound make a welcome return to the fans fondness like they've been missing and waiting for him for years, not months. More new/old classics are embraced with these outstanding outtakes as the man and one of his favourite muses come together for the unshackling of 'Mary, Mary'. After 'The Risings' leftover 'Harry's Place' (a 'Hopes' standout) was replaced with 'Mary's Place', there's nothing contrary here as she returns for more Bruce on this E.P., as the lyrics "I heard they seen you yesterday in Charles Town/I heard about that story going round round/All I got's a book of love with pages worn clean through/A circle of gold and one bleeding tattoo" lament. More storybook songs with lasting lines like "Lipstick case and one lonely red shoe" are found on the 'Hurry Up Sundown' classic that is king even amongst modern American greats like Leon. It's the closing wave to 'Hey, Blue Eyes' however that's the brightest and best way of showing this boss Bruce is an American icon of Sinatra way power. Asking the woman that's caught his dilated pupils "what she's doing tonight" and telling us in tale-told tradition that "it's alright", Springsteen harmonises "In this house it's so easy to set a world on fire/All you need is the need and the money and a soul full of reckless desire" amongst some of his most lyrical immpecable verses...and this is the boss with the realest resume of words. On this Record Day, the tradition of Bruce Springsteen has honoured this one with some of his best work and all music can do in these fitting times of survival. The American dream has never sounded so beautiful. TIM DAVID HARVEY.