I'll be the first to admit, I am not a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. I admire and respect him and his talent and would never deny he is a musical legend and one of the great live acts of his time. But for every song of his I love like an "I'm On Fire", "Born In The USA" (and no I'm not one of those idiots who thinks this is a patriotic 'I Love America' song), or "Streets Of Philadelphia", there's a cheesy "Glory Days" or "Dancing In The Dark" that just puts me in the 'I'll pass' category when it comes to purchasing his music.
2009's "Working On A Dream" does very little to change that feeling for me.There are some catchy, radio friendly rockers ("My Lucky Day"), arena ready anthems with soaring choruses ("Kingdom Of Days" and the title track), and a stunning, eight minute epic that opens the album ("Outlaw Pete") that's as good as anything I've heard from The Boss in ages.
Amongst the quality, however, is too much filler and that has long been what prevented me from plunking down my hard earned money for a Springsteen album. After opening strong, the album takes a dive with tracks like "Queen Of the Supermarket" (a love song about a supermarket cashier? REALLY??!!) and the embarrassing "Surprise, Surprise" which must have taken Bruce all of ten seconds to toss off the lyrics since the majority of it has him singing "surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise" ad nauseum.
The production also leaves something to be desired as, too often, it's a murky mess and the vocal effects on Springsteen's vocals during "Good Eye" should be outlawed from recorded music from here on out. An incredibly annoying effect that adds nothing to the track but to make it unlistenable.
Let me reiterate, this is not a bad album. But it's just another in a long line of average releases from Springsteen. As good as "Outlaw Pete" is, there's nothing else even close on the rest of the album to make this a release I'd listen to often enough to purchase.