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Magic

Artist: Bruce Springsteen

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Album: Magic
# Song Title   Time
1)    Radio Nowhere
2)    You'll Be Comin' Down
3)    Livin' in the Future
4)    Your Own Worst Enemy
5)    Gypsy Biker
6)    Girls in Their Summer Clothes
7)    I'll Work For Your Love
8)    Magic
9)    Last to Die
10)    Long Walk Home
11)    Devil's Arcade
 



Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Bruce Springsteen (vocals, guitar, harmonica, pump organ, synthesizer, glockenspiel, percussion, background vocals); Steven Van Zandt (guitar, mandolin, background vocals); Nils Lofgren (guitar, background vocals); Clarence Clemons (saxophone, background vocals); Danny Federici (organ, keyboards); Roy Bittan (organ); Garry Tallent (bass guitar); Max Weinberg (drums); Patti Scialfa (background vocals).
  • Additional personnel: William Pu, Sheela Lyengar, Kenn Wagner, Justin Bruns, Olga Shpitko, Christopher Pulgram, Jay Christy, Soozie Tyrell, John Meisner (violin); Amy Chang, Tania Maxwell Clements, Lachlan McBane (viola); Karen Freer, Charae Kruege, Daniel Laufer (cello); Patrick Warren (chamberlin); Jeremy Chatzky (upright bass).
  • Following up two folk-flavored albums, MAGIC finds Bruce Springsteen laying down his acoustic guitar to reclaim his rock-hero crown. He's assisted in this endeavor by producer Brendan O'Brien, best-known for big-time '90s hard rock, but the results have little in common with O'Brien's grungy past. Instead, MAGIC's sonic blueprint is more in line with Bruce's last stadium-rock statement, 2002's THE RISING. The album is front-loaded with hard-charging, heavy-riffing tunes ("Radio Nowhere," "You'll Be Comin' Down") that benefit from the sure-fire attack of the E Street Band. In fact, "Livin' in the Future" harks back to the band's vintage '70s work.
  • MAGIC isn't all back-to-basics rockers, though; evocative ballads that employ atmospheric string arrangements indicate that Springsteen is content neither with standing still nor with looking backwards. One of the most rewarding aspects of the album is the fact that after the relative tunelessness of 2005's DEVILS & DUST, Bruce seemingly learned from the folk gems he covered on his Pete Seeger homage a year later, and started writing arresting melodies again. Any way you look at it, those who may have been put off by Springsteen's previous stylistic diversions will have a welcome feeling for MAGIC.

Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.119) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "Springsteen has rediscovered the boardwalk-dance-party power of BORN TO RUN and the Mitch Ryder and Jackie DeShannon encore covers in his 1975 and '78 shows."

Rolling Stone (p.108) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Top Albums of the Year 2007" -- "These songs are Springsteen at his toughest and most focused..."

Spin (p.122) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "'Your Own Worst Enemy' and 'Girls in Their Summer Clothes' channel Brian Wilson, layering sleigh bells and swelling strings to craft experimental chamber pop."

Entertainment Weekly (pp.68-69) - "No album could say more about the uncertain national mood of 2007....Bruce Springsteen is back in the masterpiece business." -- Grade: A

Uncut (p.97) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[MAGIC] is BORN TO RUN crossed with TUNNEL OF LOVE, an attempt to recover the indomitable youthful fury of the former, astutely tempered by the older, wiser, sadder resignation of the latter."

No Depression (p.93) - "MAGIC may be the closest approximation to an old-school, big-noise Bruce album in ages."

Q (Magazine) (p.88) - Ranked #06 in Q's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2007" -- "At 58, The Boss has arrived at another peak."

Q (Magazine) (p.120) - "Songs of disenchantment and despair rarely zing with so much energy and life."

Format:Vinyl (0 Disc)
Release Date:25 September, 2007

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1 review(s)
All Reviews
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Ashwin Gangisetty on
 
My original review of MAGIC has generated a lot of votes, but also a lot of negative backlash, so I thought I would elaborate on a few things before we get to the review proper. First, I am posting a revised version of the review. The original is still listed on Amazon.co.uk. Now onward.

When I wrote this review back in early October, I made it quite clear that, although I like Springsteen's music, I haven't taken the time to go through his discography like I have with other musicians. My original review was written from a point of view of a middle-of-the-road Springsteen fan. Although Springsteen obviously has a very strong, devoted fanbase, I think my status as a good, but not hardcore, fan represents a good proportion of potential listeners for this album, and so is a valid or helpful review.

I freely confessed I hadn't listen to all of his albums, though I have a passing familiarity with most of them. People really took me to task for not having heard TUNNEL OF LOVE, which is USA's followup, even though I made it clear I haven't listened to Springsteen as extensively as I have other musicians due to time and money. Yes, you an be a fan of Springsteen and not have heard TUNNEL. I'm a Tom Waits fan and there's a lot of his albums I haven't heard all the way through.

Since I posted the review, I have taken the time to listen to TUNNEL, and have even wrote a review of it for Amazon. It's quite good, and it's a perfect bridge between USA and MAGIC. I consider it his pop trilogy, much like NEBRASKA, TOM JOAD, and DEVILS & DUST is his acoustic/folk trilogy.

Though I've been accused of "not being a fan" because I hadn't heard TUNNEL, listening to it really didn't radically change my position on MAGIC. It only slightly modified it.

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