August 23, 2007

Bruce wonders: “Is there anybody alive out there?”

The first single from Bruce Springsteen’s forthcoming fifteenth studio album, the Brendan O’Brien-produced Magic [due October 2], leaked into the world last night — and it’s a scorcher. It’s got a dark melody that reminds me strongly of the Warren Zevon song “Splendid Isolation” (which has enjoyed a resurgence among the young folk thanks to Pete Yorn doing a whiz-bang cover of it on his latest album).

This is a straight-ahead rocker and I find myself drawn to the prominent guitars and the urgency of the delivery (Bruce is nothing if not urgent, right?). Absolutely a song to drive fast to in the misty rain, with lyrics like these:

I just want to hear some rhythm
I just want to hear some rhythm
I want a thousand guitars
I want pounding drums
I want a million different voices speaking in tongues
This is radio nowhere
Is there anybody alive out there?

Radio Nowhere – Bruce Springsteen
(free download here)

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  • Yes, there are pieces of Jenny-Jenny and Don’t Fear the Reaper. But for a guy who could end his career making sleepy acoustic tracks, the fact that he wants to play an electric guitar, by itself, is reason to celebrate.

    Anonymous — August 23, 2007 @ 4:09 pm

  • Rock is where its at baby and that is the truth. E-Streeters are an amazingly tight, I just wish one day Brian Eno would produce one of his remaining albums.

    Anonymous — August 23, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

  • Just what the music/radio industry needs; is a guy who has defined rock in the past and is now trying to re-establish it again against the likes of this hip/hop/rap shit that is deluging the minds of the youth.
    Words alone don’t make music, rhythmn man, pure rythmn is where its at.

    Anonymous — August 23, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

  • Thank you for posting this! You really made my day!!

    Justin — August 23, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

  • Has he heard the Rilo Kiley album – oh oh oh oh yeah!

    russell — August 23, 2007 @ 5:50 pm

  • Why do some people only seem to be able to praise Bruce’s music by putting down other types of music (and not having the courage to identify themselves)?

    Private Beach — August 24, 2007 @ 4:08 am

  • Surely the call to rock n roll arms in the song makes that a natural debate? Personally,I think Springsteen would like Jenny Lewis and Rilo Kiley (although I have no real idea!) and my comment was only to suggest that there is something dead challenging and rhythmical out there, just this week, which equally deserves attention and is worth more than a cursory listen.

    russell — August 24, 2007 @ 6:32 am

  • Thanks Heather

    Paul — August 24, 2007 @ 8:06 am

  • I’m happy, The Boss has returned

    agustin — August 24, 2007 @ 9:29 am

  • I’m happy, the boss has returned

    agustin — August 24, 2007 @ 9:29 am

  • Yeah!

    Mackley — August 24, 2007 @ 11:29 am

  • I just heard it and it just made my day. No, my week. No, my month! Bruce is the greatest American Rock musician of all time. Great to see a hard driving rock and roll track as his first single!

    Anonymous — August 24, 2007 @ 11:43 am

  • Hi Heather-

    Over on the Springsteen boards, there is a heated discussion as to whether this is classic rocking Bruce or the worst leadoff single of his career. All of this is based on a 128k mp3 of what is probably snatched off a pre-recorded radio show. To me, it’s so compressed I can’t really tell what the song sounds like. And I’m kind of kicking myself for listening to it.

    Good call on Splendid Isolation, by the way.

    Brian — August 24, 2007 @ 1:19 pm

  • I think the song is decent, and I like it better than anything off of “The Rising” (the last E Street Band album). But (there always is a but), I hate the melody of the song. Bruce hasn’t written a good melody in something like 20 years (the “Tunnel of Love” album).

    Now, will that stop me from buying the album and going to see him live? No. I’m sure that live the songs, much like the songs I hated off of “The Rising”, will open up and be great.

    Jason Bugg, Killer of Fools — August 25, 2007 @ 9:14 am

  • Good to hear The Boss rocking again.

    The melody reminds me of 867-5309/Jenny by Tommy Tutome as mentioned and Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress) by The Hollies.

    Rob — August 25, 2007 @ 11:28 am

  • Radio Nowhere. This is the worst piece of claptrap Springsteen has ever signed off on. Who is advising him? It’s the Bay of Pigs and Thinktank all over again. Pure garbage. And I’m a big fan of Bruce– but like I have heard before, this song isn’t even good enough for a Tracks II collection. It’s really unlistenable. Sounds like something the Clash would have written when they were 14.

    Anonymous — August 26, 2007 @ 9:38 am

  • This song is great and Springsteen is great. For all the philistines criticizing him or the song, I suggest you stick with Huey Lewis & The News. Huey’s music is a lot less taxing for those with limited brain cells. Springsteen seems a little beyond your reach.

    Anonymous — August 26, 2007 @ 10:50 am

  • these comments were fun to read ;)

    c — August 26, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

  • Now that it’s free on iTunes, these boards are really going to heat up!

    Mac — August 28, 2007 @ 4:55 am

  • For a guy in his late 50′s he remains relevent and true to his artform. This songs rocks with the best of them. It’s about time Bruce did this. Brendan OBrian’s production makes it fresh, exciting and covincing–not like some old rocker trying to recapture his youth. And for those who critizice and have not experienced Bruce live–it all makes perfect sense when you see him in his natural environment–on stage in front of a live audience. No one can even come close to what he does here.

    Anonymous — August 28, 2007 @ 7:48 am

  • I Love youuu! You like Ray Lamontagne,Bruce Springsteen! A perfect woman!++

    Anonymous — August 28, 2007 @ 12:08 pm

  • Listened to it toay. Twice. Certainly not his best, nor his worst. However I believe his voice is lost in the mix. Maybe I’ve been listening to too much old stuff, but honestly, I have a hard time hearing HIM. The band sounds good, and its nice to hear him rocking again, but wow, his voice is waaaay back in the mix I heard from the itunes download

    Anonymous — August 28, 2007 @ 12:13 pm

  • Anybody hear a bit of Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers?

    Anonymous — August 28, 2007 @ 4:01 pm

  • I had no difficulty hearing Bruce through the music. I put on my Bose phones and let him rip. It’s so nice to hear Bruce with some fresh rock and roll, and I’m impatiently waiting until 10/2….and more impatiently for the tour that should soon follow.

    Anonymous — August 28, 2007 @ 9:02 pm

  • 1) It is typical these days for the lead off single to be “poppy” and accessible but not really the best cut. This song fits that bill perfectly.

    2) I liked it. Ok. It isn’t “Born to Run” but it is one of his best rockers in a decade or more.

    3) Speaking of “Born to Run”… this song’s mumbling vocals & low growl that gets lost in the mix actually reminds me of “Born to Run”. But you can’t judge a mix from a crappy compressed iTunes track.

    4) I was a bit disappointed with the “Big Man” sax solo. That could have been much better.

    5) The bridge is great and the outro that takes the “rhythm” from a rant for better rock & roll to a plea for personal connection – well, it worked for me.

    Bill — August 30, 2007 @ 10:20 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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