Sunday, February 08, 2009

More on Working on a Dream

Barbara Hall writes:

There's so much to listen to in this record. My ears are all jammed up with it. I love the operatic nature of it. As much as anything, I love the long phrasing which allows Bruce the time and space to sing. I just love hearing him sing. Not the modern Bruce staccato singing but the old Bruce chasing down these endless melody lines singing, but with a brand new, or old school, understanding of how to do it. It strikes me as funny and sad and weird that he is one of the best soul singers of our time.

The romance of the record, and the phrasing, too, reminds me of The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle. Not in a nostalgic way, but in a way where those songs finally figured out what they were really meant to accomplish.

There are only a couple of songs where he overloads the lines with lyrics. Mostly, he just creates this space to maneuver. I guess the overall thing, much as the last album, is the harmonics, the sense of space, and the unusual and unexpected forms of filling that all up.

But here's the thing. This record isn't like anything we've heard before. You almost can't compare it. It's of a piece, or mise en scene as the filmsters like to say. A friend was asking me what it was like and I said it was mostly like a film score. In the best way. In that you can't really break it down or take anything out of context. Listening to it while I drive makes me a little drunk. I wonder what I'd say if I got pulled over.

When I was studying film in school, I fell in love with it (Fellini, Bergman, Bunel, et al) because it was like entering someone's dream. This record is like entering some dream Bruce is having, too. Sonically, lyrically, atmospherically. I suspect it might take years to get it entirely.

I guess that's why he's Working On A Dream.

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Anonymous Zeke said...

Wow...somebody other than me likes this album? I am so tired of reading the usual hack opinions of WOAD. Outlaw Pete excepted, WOAD is one of my favorite albums of the last ten years and the title song - which everybody seems to despise - is FANTASTIC. And trust me, I'm not a Bruce-has-no-faults guy. I didn't even attend last night's concert that was 10 miles from my house because I couldn't find a decent ticket and, frankly, the live shows are no longer a big deal to me. I loved Bruce when dressed and sang like a greaser. Then he went country. Hey, I love Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakum (spelling?) and a little "twang" on the rural songs ain't no thang. But twanging-up Thunder Road? And (especially) Racin' In The Street? No thanks! So I don't go see him all that often anymore, but I do still like the cds. In the case of WOAD I love the cd. Thanks for the great review!

10:14 PM  

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