Saturday, April 23, 2005

It's like Christmas...

...but not because it's cold (although it is, 40 degrees today and blustery, with a freeze warning for tonight). No, it's like Christmas because it was a Good Mail Day today: Bruce Springsteen's new CD (which I pre-ordered, and now I have it before its official release date on Tuesday -- I feel special), and my order from Tupelo Press (books by Patricia Fargnoli and Ilya Kaminsky).

The Tupelo order just went in on Monday afternoon, and already I have the books in hand. Not only do they do gorgeous books with terrific poetry in them, they provide good service. Yep, I'm a fan.

And speaking of being a fan ... I'm listening to Springsteen now. This is, I think, very much a writer's album. His primary concern in these songs seems to be the creation of characters and the spinning of tales. It's not really new ground for him, but he does it so well. And the sound is, as early reviews have noted, a lot like the "Tom Joad" stuff but informed by the full-band sound of "The Rising." Themes: family, loss, bleakness, hope, the salvation brought by love (and sex). You know, the usual Brucely stuff. I really like the production on this (Brendan O'Brien again) although I'm sure a lot of Bruce fans will fuss that there's too much crammed in on it.

There ain't nothing like the E Street Band in full swing, and this is not that. But it's good stuff nonetheless. And the writing -- well -- I love how he picks out details that tell us something about his characters, how he uses the passage of time within each song, how he focuses on specificity. I know it's nothing new to compare Springsteen to Dylan, but a lot of this material does kind of remind me of Dylan, the "Tangled Up in Blue" Dylan.

He's on VH-1 "Storytellers" tonight. That should be just plain fun.

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