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  • Magic
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4.3 out of 5 stars153
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 23 reviews(4 star).Show all reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 17 October 2007
Now approaching 60, Bruce Springsteen is arguably one of the artists of the current decade, after a fairly lean patch in the 90s, and is, in my opinion, producing the finest work of his career since pre Born In The USA.
2002's The Rising, Springsteen's superb post 9/11 commentary through the eyes of individual characters, was followed by the low key acoustic Devils And Dust, the joyously exuberant 'Seeger Sessions' album of folk songs, and now this, a vintage Bruce rock n roll album with the full E Street band in fine from.
There are echoes of his previous work all over this album, right back from the Born To Run days, through to The River, Nebraska and Born In The USA, and yet none of it sounds dated, or like treading over old ground. Both his voice and the band's sound have matured, and become more finely tuned. Gone are the occasional tendencies towards chesse and slight lack of quality control that characterised some of his old hits with the E Street band, there is a remarkable consistency here. Some other reviewers have complained about the production, but I like the slightly rough, raw feel, it suits his music better than the over polished glossy sound on Born In The USA, and is more like the sound of his early albums.
As usual, Bruce proves once again to be one of the finest lyricists of his generation, with a mixture of the personal, political and observational.
Two of the album's finest tracks deal in different ways with Iraq, Last To Die is the most overtly political rallying cry 'we don't measure the blood we've drawn anymore/ we just stack the bodies outside the door/ Who'll be the last to die for a mistake'
Even more effective, is Devils Arcade. Characteristically for Bruce, as he did so brilliantly on The Rising, commenting on events through the eyes of an individual, this song takes the role of someone who has lost a loved one in the conflict, and is deeply moving. Its a song which doesn't go for overkill, but is more powerful by the calm dignified delivery which makes it truly poignant. This is followed up by the 'hidden track' Terrys Song, a deeply personal tribute to Bruce's friend Terry Magovern, who passed away this year, which manages to be affectionate and a little humourous, without over sentimentality.
Musically, there is a more energetic upbeat feel to the majority of the rest of the album though, with a more guitar heavy sound than we have heard from Bruce for some time, backed by the familiar bursts of sax from big Clarence Clemons and organ from Roy Bittan, with Max Weinberg's pounding drums evident right from the storming opener Radio Nowhere.
There is a world weariness in many of the songs themselves though, and a middle aged wisdom. You'll Be Comin Down sounds like it could have been recorded for The River, but the words 'you'll be fine as long as your pretty face holds out/ then its gonna get pretty cold out' speak of the elusive passing of youth. The excellent Girls in Their Summer Clothes tells of a middle aged man with a broken heart wistfully watching the girls now beyond his reach.
So far only the title track and the slightly workmanlike I'll Work For Your Love have failed to have much of an impact on me.
Overall this is a terrific continuation of The Boss' fine 00s form, with top quality songwriting, great backing from the E Street band and Bruce himself in fine voice.
Magic. Has he still got it? You bet.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2007
I should begin by saying that unlike a lot of Bruce fans I did really enjoy Bruce's "solo" work like Devils and Dust and The Ghost of Tom Joad. I also really love the E Street collaborations...

I've listened to this album all the way through continuously for a couple of days and it's an interesting one.

"Radio Nowhere" isn't one of my favourites, whereas "Magic", which one reviewer said had no magic, is.. It's a fab song, but is a solo song rather than a rocking e street one.

My only gripe with the album has been echoed elsewhere - it seems a little bit like a collection of songs a la "Tracks" rather than a cohesive album with a strong theme like "The Rising", "Devils and Dust" or "TGOTJ". In that respect, for me, it's somewhat reminiscent of "Human Touch" and "Lucky Town". It's doesn't make the tracks any less good, but it makes you feel there's something slightly lacking at the end...

Of course, after a week or two I may think differently!

Like everyone else, I think this will be at it's best played live - the rockier songs will really shine!

My favourites:

Girls in their summer clothes
Long Walk home
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
`Magic' is a Sprinsgteen album with great song writing but diabolical production. Never has a Boss album sounded so flat and uninspired and you can tell this has been produced for the mp3 market with it's boosted signals and lack of nuance. But anyway, the actual songs on offer live up to Bruce's excellent back catalogue and this is one album that gets better with repeated listening. The opening track, and first single released from the album, `Radio Nowhere' has a great feel and lets you know from the off what type of Springsteen album this will be. Full on rock. Personal favourites are `Long Walk Home' and `Devil's Arcade' with the way they build and some excellent guitar playing. This album is yet again packaged in the terrible digi-pack format which, although may be environmentally friendly, are prone to bending and being compressed, but I can look past this for the music on offer. Like I say, this album is one that gets better the more you listen to it and it makes for great summer listening. A solid outing from Springsteen to show the fans he's still got it.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2009
I recently bought my copy of this album having read these reviews and I have been impressed by its approachability and the way it quickly lifts you and draws you in. It is, indeed, a fine album with great songs. I regarded 'The Rising' as a true return to form and this is pretty close, too.
However, the comments about production are fair - it does sound compressed and the band feels like a wall of sound for much of the first half/two-thirds, none of that lovely clarity in their individual contributions we've found on other albums. Late on this is less pronounced in slightly quieter tracks.
That's why its only four stars from me. Otherwise its certainly a good-un.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2007
Reading these reviews is fascinating! People keep comparing this album to Springsteen's work from decades ago! Let's take this album on its own in 2007. Apart from anything else, all Springsteen's albums sound quite different (Devils & Dust - Seeger Sessions - Magic just in the last couple of years).
There won't be many better albums released this year. However, if you are too ruthless and only listen to this a few times, you'll never find this out. When I first listened to the album, I was disappointed in the production, which is quite 'mushy' - the individual instruments and the lyrics are sometimes difficult to pick out. But Springsteen is an artist that I'm willing to persevere for. After several listens, the album really started to grow on me and now I can't stop listening to it. I think it will sound great live, although it isn't really an all out rock album as the hype and 1st single would have you believe. I won't bother listing favourite tracks - if you look through these reviews, one person's favourite is another's nightmare - so there's not really much point. However, I am yet to skip a track - I really don't think there's any filler. Songs that didn't appeal so much at first are now sticking in my head. Springsteen is so consistent - you're unlikely to be disappointed but only if you give it a chance and listen to it a number of times. See you at the o2 (along with all the others who paid stupid money because the tickets sold out in less than one minute to hundreds of soulless touts and 'agenies').
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on 5 March 2008
AGING rocker Bruce Springsteen's 14th studio release sees a return to his rock and roll roots.
The record opens with single "Radio Nowhere" - relentless guitar chords cycle oppressively as Bruce bombasts the world demanding soul and rhythm back on the radio.
Elsewhere "You'll Be Coming Down" bounces along with a stadium-filling backbeat whilst "Livin' In The Future" harks back to his 1980 hit "Hungry Heart".
This marks the third collaboration with iconic `90s rock producer Brendan O'Brien, who has once again reinvented Springsteen as relevant contemporary force in the marketplace.
But of their three works it's perhaps the most facile and throwaway - it lacks both the awkward post-9/11 social commentary of 2002's "The Rising" and the mature contemplation he showed on 2005's "Devils and Dust".
Instead the once prolific lyricist - whose early works were bursting with image-conjuring poetry rivalled by only Dylan - is content to meander meaningless refrains such as "I'll work for your love dear" and "Girls in their summer clothes".
But despite vague anti-Bush hints, this isn't Bruce the songwriter on display, it's Bruce the rocker, and the songs rock harder and more concisely than anything he's released since 1985's 30-million-seller "Born In The USA".
Yet the record sounds best when he opens himself up to subtlety and weakness on the aching "Long Walk Home".
There's nothing wrong with this album, fans will lap it up. But there's no great surprises here, there's just some damn fine, fun rock n' roll.
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VINE VOICEon 13 November 2007
Well you know, I have listened to this album more than three times and I just don't see it as "The Album of The Year" How any true fan can compare this to "Born In The USA" is beyond me. BITU it most certainly is not. It reminds me more of "Tunnel of Love". (I wasn't particularly fond of that album either)

Bless him though, he does try 8-)

There are a few stand out tracks "Radio Nowhere" sticks in your head, (but only the first line of the chorus to be precise) the title track is a cracker and so is "Gypsy Biker". "I'll Work For Your Love" and "Long Walk Home" are probably most reminscent of "Born In The USA" but one or two tracks an album does not make for comparison, dear friends.

It is nothing new, the same Springsteen that's been batting out "Born To Run" for 32 years, but each time the quality gets lesser. (there are of course exceptions "Nebraska, Born In The USA, and We Shall Overcome".

I have been a huge fan of Springsteen since I was 14 years old, when "Nebraska" came out to be exact.

I don't think it will disappoint Springsteen fans at all, or fans of "older generation rock". I wouldn't say it was his weakest album by any means, just not the great masterpiece it is considered to be. The lyrics are still sharp, the voice is still amazing, and well in my opinion, if you want a Springsteen treat go for "We Shall Overcome - The Seeger Sessions" or one of his earlier albums if you want his own stuff.

Better still buy his live DVDs, NOW there is class in a glass of sheer crystal!!!!

Springsteen is Springsteen, there's nothing new to it and nothing less than that!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 December 2013
Bruce's 2007 reunion with his E Street Band after some years apart generates some energy, and I found the sound, in my car, perfectly fine. However, I don't think that it's one of the indispensable albums. Bruce is at his strongest when he can write songs that make connections with a larger world outside the private pains or joys of the singer, and the writing here, while accomplished, isn't on that level. When you think of the verbal boldness that Bruce could demonstrate even before "Born to Run' that carried up through "Nebraska" and "Born in the USA," it's not here. This is good solid rockin' ("Radio Nowhere" and "Last to Die"), with some nice ballads for leavening (I like "Long Walk Home"), and Bruce sings with great assurance -- listen to his attack on the highish note in the refrain of "Girls in their Summer Clothes" -- and you realize again what is not sufficiently acknowledged: that Springsteen has a lovely voice. And there's a nice unlisted thirteenth track that's a tribute to a lost friend that you should hear, and the title song shows some of the old verbal deftness, though it's relatively low-key. On this album, sometimes the voice is placed back in the aural mix, sometimes more forward. The sound is always pleasant, and the band is tight. Good to hear, even if it isn't transcendental.
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You never quite know what you are going to get with the Boss and we all have our preferences as to his darker side or towards pure rock belters. So I did what I usually do, I buy on the day of release but I leave it in the car on the auto-changer and I listen to it and see how it grows before I write a review.
And I am enjoying this as much as I did on day one - a return to his best with great songs with real hooks that just make you want to keep on listening.
I obviously prefer the belters and here he delivers in spades.
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on 4 June 2013
For some unknown reason this album by-passed me when released in 2007 so here I am reviewing it in 2013!! I wouldn't say this is a classic or vintage Springsteen album but there are some fine songs to appreciate and overall nothing to dislike. I have to agree that the production on some tracks doesn't sound right. For sure it sounds better on my MP3 player than on my hi-fi system.
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