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Working On a Dream

3.7 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (26 Jan. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: SonyBMG
  • ASIN: B001LF4IA6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,462 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Working On A Dream is the 16th studio album from Bruce Springsteen, and it's the E Street Band that join him here in producing more of his trademark brand of classic rock. Following 2007's Magic, this offering comes as a result of Springsteen working once again with producer Brendan O'Brien (Devils And Dust, Magic). The uplifting and passionate single Working On A Dream is featured. Also included is a bonus track, "The Wrestler", from the 2009 film of the same name.

BBC Review

On this album's opener, Outlaw Pete, Bruce, it seems, is addressing nothing less than America's own past coming back to haunt it (in the guise of a bounty hunter finally catching up with the titular outlaw) and Working On A Dream uses the complete range of The Boss to hunt down and redefine the dream in the 21st century.

Yet the use of an harmonica sample from Sergio Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West on Outlaw Pete is misplaced, for unlike Leone's cartoon vision of the great American Western it's the late films of John Ford that seem more relevant.

These are songs filled with nostalgia, regret, shame and yet, like Ford, underneath it all a love of the American Dream.

These days it seems that all the Boss can do is sound like a classic. The E-Street Band barrel manfully through tracks like My Lucky Day with all that Phil Spector widescreen verve, while This Life's first 15 seconds could even be the Beach Boys.

Much like Johnny Cash, Springsteen's status, at once heroic and preposterous, is now utterly assured. Whether you buy the image will probably dictate as to whether you regard Working On A Dream as being among his masterworks. Maybe we should just be grateful that somewhere there's someone still this guileless. But it's a paradox for a man who's made a career out of chronicling the working man's experience (he still sings about getting his hands dirty on the title track) that he's almost become an archetype.

Like his previous album, a great deal of this stuff is about mortality and age. Bruce's entourage is now feeling the hand of the Reaper. Magic was dedicated to right hand man Terry MacGovern and here The Last Carnival is a thinly veiled tribute to the passing of keyboard player Danny Federici. But it's far from bleak; Tomorrow Never Knows sings of time's passage with a jaunty Pete Seeger-in-Nashville swagger.

Beyond the usual bombast Brendan O'Brien's production work is a little less cluttered, the songs a little more closely mic'ed, and there are some small but significant stylistic experiments. Life Itself has some vaguely trippy guitars at its heart and Queen Of The Supermarket's coda checkout beeps lifts the potentially banal analogy of the mall as palace of seduction to another level.

It's hard not to read all this as a brazen attempt to encapsulate a nation on the brink of a new era. But who else is as qualified to ring the changes? Dylan's found a new home in the primal blues of his youth, while artists like Neil Young are too personal in their attempts to sum up a nation's mood.

Bruce still stands tall as both conscience and as a teller of tales. --Chris Jones

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Optimism and Springsteen haven't gelled well in the past. "Human Touch" and "Lucky Town", the 1992 two-fer that saw Bruce waxing truly optimistic for the first time in his career, rate among the least memorable efforts of his career; they weren't bad, per se, but they lacked a certain something. (The songs were recorded without the E Street Band, which was undoubtedly a contributing factor; but above and beyond that, the arrangements and lyrics suffered from a certain sameiness and genericism that left the majority of the tracks unmemorable.)

Fans will be pleased to know that, while "Working On A Dream" (Columbia, 2009) sees Bruce once again venture into the realm of the positive, he's both a) with E Street this time and b) kept his songwriting skills on top form.

The first thing longtime Springsteen fans will notice about this album is that the focus here is firmly on the music. The album is bookended by two of his more narrative-driven songs - eight-minute epic Western "Outlaw Pete" and Golden Globe-winning movie theme "The Wrestler" - but elsewhere, it's all about the sonic experimentation, rather than storytelling. The songs here hop across a veritable plethora of genres and styles: "My Lucky Day" is a foot-stomping rocker that sounds like it was written in the "River" sessions. "Tomorrow Never Knows" is a beautiful easy-listening tune that sounds more like the '50s than anything Bruce has ever written. "Working On A Dream" is an Orbison-esque plush pop tune. "Good Eye" is what can only be described as electronic rockabilly.

This variety makes the album one of the most enjoyable listens in Bruce's history.
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By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Sept. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
`Working on a Dream' is the latest offering from Bruce (at time of writing) and follows on pretty much where `Magic' left off, but with the benefit of less intrusive production this time round. The album opener `Outlaw Pete' is a great way to kick things off and I love it despite the irritatingly catchy main refrain! The title track, in my opinion, is probably the weakest track on the album and always surprises me that the album was named after it, but that's why I'm not in musical marketing. `Good Eye' is Bruce's homage to `Crossroads' and is one of the most overtly bluesy tracks he has done in a long while, but with a rocky edge to it. One of my favourites on the album is `Kingdom of Day's and this is the one that feels most Springsteen-esque to me, it definitely harks back to previous songs of his. `Queen of the Supermarket' is also a very strong offering and this album finally closes with the bonus track `The Wrestler` from the film of the same name. Overall this album throws up no real surprises and although it is very good, it is not one of his best. It won't be one I'll immediately be coming back to when I fancy that instant hit of Bruce, but it is one to be enjoyed and replayed at various times over the coming months when the mood takes you. Good but not great.

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Format: Audio CD
Up front, I confess, I love Springsteen, solo and backed. And to be honest, I expected not to like this album. I'd heard it streamed, and thought it wasnt my cup of tea. I've seen Bruce solo and with the E-Street Band etc 15 times. And I travel to do it, so I am a real fan (minor league compared to some, but still a real fan). I think all Springsteen fans love the introspection of Tunnel of Love, the bleakness of Nebraska, the anger of The Rising and Magic, and the naive romanticism of the Born To Run etc. This is none of those, it's generally happier, bouncier, though for those of us who want to look, the sad and dark edges are still there in The Last Carnival, Life Itself and The Wrestler.

Like all of Bruce's more recent stuff, this shows an artist at the height of his powers, not afraid to reinvent himself, try something new. Yep, I'd agree the the lyrics for Queen Of The Supermarket are not quite up there with Empty Sky (a song that proves you can cut someones heart out with a harmonica), but someone has to tell my toes to stop tapping. And maybe that's the point, it's just a bit of fun. And it's not Crush On You (thankfully). Funny it's been singled out for its lyrics, but like many of his fans I've sung out loud about ramrodding with my honey 'til half past dawn, and lets be honest here, that's not Shakespeare either, but it does make me smile.

And for anyone who says that it's not Born To Run, well you're right, it's not. If he was still doing albums like Born To Run now, would we still be buying them, or would we be calling him a one trick pony or "a one legged man tryin' to dance his way free"? There'll never be another Born To Run. There'll never be another Darkness, River, Rising, Magic, Born In The USA, Magic etc etc either

Give the album the chance it deserves, despite my doubts, I have to say, I rather like it. I rather like it a lot.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm a huge BS fan,he has an incredible body of work over many years,has written rock classics we all know so well.In recent years we've had the fabulous Sessions Band both CD and CD/DVD live sets,the acoustic album Devils And Dirt,now this new one with the one and only E Street Band and quite simply its stunning.Full of great new songs superbly played using such a variety of different styles over its !2 tracks,plus the award winning song written for the movie 'The Wrestler',from blues to rock to ballads,Bruce covers all bases and covers them better than any other performer in the business.The title track just gets hooked in your mind,others you know will become concert favourites.This is one album that surely will be already named among the best albums of 09.The DVD is intersesting in the ways we see Bruce taking the songs,lead on acoustic guitar to his producers and band towards creating the finished product,very interesting and great sound,well worth having as is the very intense bonus take of a very blues based song he sang last October.
A top rate release by an artist still very much at the top of his artistic brilliance,thanks Bruce.
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