I'm not a superstitious person. I'm very rational. I don’t believe in anything. Luck, ghosts, fairies, jesus, magpies, astrology, fortune tellers, horse whispers, tarot cards, god, black cats, lucky charms or zeus. Nothing. There is no one with any mystical control over my life..or so I thought! I recently notice a strange pattern. There is one man that controls everything. Who is this magical man???
What’s The Boss got to do with anything?? Let me explain. Since Bruce’s creative and critical rebirth in the early 2000s, every studio album of original material he has released has controlled my life. Put simply, when Bruce releases a cool album, things are good. But when he doesn't, they aren’t.
Let’s start in 2002.
Bruce and the band released their 12th album, The Rising. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, a cool album. Emerging from the horror of 9/11 (much like myself at the time....That’s a tasteless joke. I didn't realise the horror of the event at the time. My diary entry for that day has two words... "Got skittles") Bruce has a fire in his belly and these songs are, for me, a rallying cry. Bruce tells us the way to deal with the bad stuff is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and enjoy the good stuff. "It's alright, it's alright, it's alright yeah" Bruce sings on the opening track, and everything was. 2002 was great. Minority report was in the cinema, my cousin gave me a play station, I had good friends, the office was on telly, the Rock fought Hulk Hogan at wrestlemania, Ireland were in the world cup, I was happy in the belief that oasis were the best band in the world and I was brilliant at Tony hawk pro skater.
Next, as the war in Iraq raged on into 2005, Bruce went for a largely solo and very angry album, Devils and Dust. I'm not saying this is a bad album. In fact, it’s a very good album. But it's not an album I rush to put on every day. It's a sad album; the songs are sketches of life’s losers. "I know what it's like to fail babe, with the whole world looking on" Bruce sings on "All the way home" and I sure knew it too. I had gone from student of the year, studying astrophysics in one of Irelands top university’s to, in 2005, an almost completely friendless, almost 17 stone minimum wage production line factory worker who spent so much time at the vending machine his fellow factory workers mocked him behind his back. Thanks Bruce.
Magic. Besides Born to Run, this is my favourite Bruce Springsteen album. Although it is obviously packed with great songs, it has as much to do with circumstances as with the music. Bruce himself says in the liner notes of 2003s The essential Bruce Springsteen "In any body of work there are obvious high points. The rest depends on who is doing the listening. Where you where, when it was, who you were with when a particular song or album cut the deepest" Everything was right in 2007. I lost most of the weight, grew long hair, was doing well in college, had great friends, a great place to live and drank lots and lots of Guinness. Magic was the soundtrack to this. Every morning, first thing, Radio nowhere was played loud. "Is there anybody alive out there?" Yes there was.
Credit also to 2006s Seeger sessions album and 2007s live in Dublin (although not studio albums of original material, they are great and no doubt played a part in this up swing)
This magic time lasted pretty much to the day his next album came out, January 2009's Working on a Dream. The morning it came out, I went to the shop to get it when I should have been proof reading an economics project that was also due that morning. Both ended up being very average. It has some good songs. It's not a bad album. It’s just not very memorable. That’s about as excited about it as I can get. Since then I've done some good things. It hasn’t been bad. I have had a roof over my head and food on the table. It’s just a bit forgettable and pointless. I finished college (letting my average drop a grade) lost touch with most people and spent all the time since then, bar one extended period, the high point (very much my Outlaw Pete)on the dole, or in pointless jobs.
To-day see’s the release of his latest album “Wrecking ball” so what does the future hold? Well taking on board the brilliant lead single “We take care of our own” the letter that arrived yesterday and the impression I’m getting from the my first listen (I have it on right now!) I’m pretty optimistic.
I was going to make a graph but I can’t be bothered. I have a microwave burger so I’m going to eat that.