Sunday, January 20, 2013

132 The Wild, the Innocent and The E Street Shuffle. Stop right there

Album: The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle
Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Year: 1973
Genre: Rock


  1. The E Street Shuffle
  2. 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
  3. Kitty's Back
  4. Wild Billy's Circus Story
  5. Incident on 57th Street
  6. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
  7. New York City Serenade

The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle is Bruce Springsteen's second album and finds him in something of a transition. His first release was an attempt to replicate Dylan's style as much as possible and it showed. It sounded like someone trying to rip off Bob and listening to it only made me want to hear the original and not the poor facsimile.

Thankfully Bruce's attempts to become Dylan lasted only one album as he tried to find his own style and establish himself as an artist in his own write (sic) and not just a stylistic plagiarist  He eventually ended up as a guy who shouted a lot about the working class while wearing denim but before he got there he had this as a transitional point. It's a step he had to go through to reach the huge success he would later enjoy but personally I wish he'd stopped and lingered for a while on this road before reaching his destination. The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle is the best Bruce album I've heard so far.

Most other Springsteen I've heard sounds like a Bruce Springsteen Album with backing supplied by musicians who might as well have been studio ring ins. Bruce is the focus and his voice rules all. On The Wild he sounds like a member of the band standing behind him. It's a group effort in which every member of the E Street Band gets some time to shine and enjoy some limelight. The other guys aren't just standing back and letting Bruce be Bruce they're taking the chance to put their own names forward as well. The result is not just a better band effort but a better Bruce. He benefits from being a member of a band instead of the lead singer who sustains the show on his own. Granted the playing itself isn't as good as he'd enjoy in the future. Springsteen handles the guitars himself and the drummer was sacked after this recording for not being up to scratch but it isn't the quality of the instrumentation that has ever attracted anyone to a Springsteen record.

Don't think for a second I'm suggesting Springsteen has a massive ego and doesn't like to share. He's a generous guy it's just impossible for modern bands to lift out of the shadow of Bruce. But back before he was a cult leader he was a member of a band and it worked. I've heard the future of Bruce after this release and I prefer this step in his career.

Highlight: The E Street Shuffle
Lowlight: New York City Serenade

Influenced by: Dylan and a desire to be less like him
Influenced: Tom Petty

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "He's The Boss. Spokeman for the underdogs and working class. Great. But it doesn't excuse the fact that he can't write a melody to save his life and he sings out of tune."

-That's definitely a bit harsh.

So does this make you go wild or do you wish it would shuffle off to somewhere else? Let me know below.

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