Bruce Springsteen working on a comeback

Chloe Quinn

The last twelve months have been good for Bruce Springsteen; his 2008 tour with the E Street Band for his last album “Magic” totaled $69.3 million, he performed at president Obama’s pre-inauguration concert, he played the half-time show for the most-watched sports event in America, and he won a golden globe for Best Song for his work with the movie “The Wrestler.” The Boss is back again and fierce as ever, along with the remarkable E Street Band, for his sixteenth studio album “Working on a Dream.”

“Working on a Dream” was recorded during breaks on the “Magic” tour with producer Brendan O’ Brien, and the majority of the album’s songs were cut from the primary takes in the studio; Springsteen wrote “This Life,” “My Lucky Day,” “Life Itself,” “Good Eye” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” all within a week.

Despite the unusually fast-paced editing process, Springsteen adopted for his latest album, he still managed to brilliantly capture all the grace, depth, and emotion that his previous works have delivered.

The 12 new tracks attest to the layers of sound and diverse themes Springsteen weaved into “Working on a Dream”; Springsteen’s vocals carry an air of exhilaration and spirit that the band harnessed from its successful year of packed stadium shows.

“Working on a Dream” ushers in Obama’s presidency with words of hope and optimism and serves as a fitting follow-up to “Magic,” an album brimming with Springsteen’s distaste for Bush and his call to America for change in politics. Nevertheless, he still reminds Americans of the reality of the long and difficult road ahead.

The album’s first track, “Outlaw Pete,” is a wild eight-minute tale chronicling the downfall of a bandit character with a sound that channels Springsteen’s early works of the seventies; accompanied by his characteristic raspy, sustained bellows and a background of what could be the opening song to an old western show, Springsteen plays a true storyteller.

“The Last Carnival” is a heart-felt tribute to the E Street Band’s organ and accordion player, Danny Federici, who was recorded on some of “Working on a Dream’s” tracks before he passed away in April of last year. Federici’s son plays accordion on this ballad, appropriately supported by hums of gospel-choir sound and a solemn guitar arpeggio.

On “Queen of the Supermarket,” Springsteen masterly captures the emotions of a man’s infatuation with a woman who works at a supermarket. With a bright piano melody, acoustic guitars, and lyrics of yearning, “Queen of the Supermarket” is a classic example of Springsteen’s versatility as a musician, demonstrating his ability to write a commanding and structured track.

Both the album’s title track “Working on a Dream” and “My Lucky Day” are poppy songs with catchy saxophone solos by Clarence Clemons, powerfully rocking guitar accompaniments, and consistent choruses.

“Working on a Dream” is pure Springsteen, relaying the trials of the average American just trying to get by in times of war and a troubled economy. Even after decades of producing successful pop hits and ballad numbers alike, Springsteen has certainly not lost his gusto; “Working on a Dream” is a refreshingly energetic companion to a new age in America, and evidence that hope, optimism, and enthusiasm for a better tomorrow can endure above all else.