I've been a bit slow getting around to Bruce, but after a week of the new album 'Magic' on almost constant repeat on my iPod (brief interludes of the also excellent new Steve Earle CD) I can now say, that this really is a fine record. It is without a doubt his most commercial/mainstream offering since the often overlooked Tunnel of Love album, and continues on with the joyous feel of last year's also rather excellent Seeger Sessions album.
Kicking off with the excellent 'Radio Nowhere', this is an album that is a lot of fun. The most interesting thing for me over the week has been how my favourite tracks on the album have actually changed, and how songs that I didn't really rate as much at the start - such as 'Gypsy Biker' (a hint of U2 in this one) and 'Devil's Arcade' - have started to come into there own. Also the title track has grown in stature to become one of the best cuts on the record.
Elsewhere, the production is quite interesting - esp. in relation to Bruce's voice, where on a number of songs - esp. 'Girls in Their Summer Clothes' and 'Your Own Worst Enemy' he actually reminded me a lot of Ian McNabb, ex Icicle works singer (check out his excellent Head like a Rock album from 1994). There is a lot of Clarence Clemons sax on this record, which is always what makes an E-Street band record stand out, and listening to him and Bruce on 'Livin in the Future' harks back to 70s Springsteen records.
All in all, I have to say, this will be a contender for album of the year, as there just isn't a duff track to be found on it. Favourite track? Today it's 'Last to Die' , 'Your Own Worst Enemy', 'Magic', and 'Radio Nowhere' ....as for tomorrow, who knows ....