Saturday, January 24, 2009

Working on a Dream continued

"What Love Can Do", "This Life" and "Good Eye" follow in sequence and I can't help but feel that in particular, these three songs are sequenced as such deliberately. There is almost a sonic structure that builds from within each song, progressing sonically into each song. The musical influences of The Byrds and that sound they always had, a touch of Phil Spector - lots of layers, sound atop sound with the vocal sitting on top like a cherry on a sundae. Three very unique sounding songs that somehow are a part of each other - not just in sound, but lyrically - there is a complex resonance that ties these songs together - for me at least.
"Tomorrow Never Knows" could be a hit on the country charts any day and in fact, with some minor rearrangement would be a killer bluegrass number (note to Alison Kraus). I dare you to listen to this song and not tap your foot; two minutes and twelve seconds of pure joy.
As I listen again to "Life Itself" and "Kingdom of Days" I find myself wondering why I am even attempting to analyze these songs - these aren't meant to be analyze, just listened to. The best way I can describe these songs, along with "Surprise, Surprise" which follow is that they are beautiful.
"Surprise, Surprise" in particular, for me, just makes me feel so darn good. The sound, the vocals, the lyrical surprises - In five listens, this is one of my favorite songs not just on this album, not just of Springsteen, but of all time.
"The Last Carnival" brings the album to a close with a folksy, yet gospel-tinged, story song told only like a Springsteen story song could be told.
"The Wrestler" is technically the last song on the album, listed as a "Bonus Track". This song is from the Darren Aronofsky film of the same name and was written for the movie supposedly at the request of actor Mickey Rourke. I was a huge wrestling fan growing up, I even still watch it once in a while. I've read many biographies and autobiographies of wrestlers and have studies the profession and it's participants to some degree. In less than four minutes, Springsteen tells the story that most professional wrestlers would agree is the essence of what many in their business become.
In closing this over-exhaustive look at "Working on a Dream" I need to emphasize the strength of the instrument that would likely get the least attention, Springsteen's voice. The songwriting, the music, the band, all are undeniable and obvious but these songs work here not only because they are brilliantly crafted, they are brilliantly performed as well.


RC said...

i very much agree with your assessment. kingdom of days, you are right, does not seem like it is meant to be analyzed, but is certainly one of my absolute favorites on the album.

the last half of the album flows together very nicly

Chris said...

RC - Thanks, looks like he's got some dates already booked in Europe for 2009...