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.