Trying To Get To You

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Springsteen's "Radio Nowhere"

I’m still on vacation until next week, but the release of “Radio Nowhere,” the first single from Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming album, Magic, merits a posting. Or on second thought, maybe not.

A guitar driven, mid-to-up-tempo rocker, “Radio Nowhere” is a major disappointment to these ears. Generic in sound and lyric, the song occurs as a somewhat lifeless affair, with little in the way of joy, wonder or soul. The guitars growl, but they growl like an old, mangy dog might – with little spark or bite. And when Bruce sings the line “I was driving thru the misty rain/Looking for a mystery train,” it’s all I can do not to groan. This is one of those songs that sounds like it was constructed by using a “Springsteen-paint-by-numbers-kit,” and the blandness that producer Brendan O’Brien was wrongfully accused of for his production on The Rising comes to pass on this track.

No one wants to fall in love with new Bruce Springsteen music more than I do. But I have to call ‘em like I see ‘em – this song is a stiff. I’m still very hopeful about the album – and perhaps in context with the rest of the album, “Radio Nowhere” will resonate more. And live, I’m sure it will gain some power. But for now, I have to say that this is the worst Springsteen lead single ever, a song that feels like it should be an outtake, and coming off of the looseness and joy of The Seeger Sessions, it feels like a major stumble.

Springsteen sings on this track, “Been in some kind of dark cove/Searchin’ for a world with some soul.” Usually, Bruce Springsteen music is something that can be counted on to provide the soul – but if his new music is indeed soulful, it’s going to be on the Magic’s other tracks, because this one just flat out misses the mark.


Anonymous said...

Spot on buddy! Bruce has been dead, SOULESS, for the past 20 years, 1987s single Brilliant Disguise was the last decent tune he wrote. Since then he's been full of himself and full of shit. Riding on his past glory days, so empty he has to cop 9-11 or Seeger to say anything. All he spouts now is lib political nonsense, go watch your girls ride horses in the Hamptons BRuce, your soul ceases to rock

Ben Lazar said...

Well, while I'm not into "Radio Nowhere," I heartily disagree with your assertion. Bruce has made great music on every album since Tunnel. I could rattle off a list of a couple of dozen great ones.

And I agree with most of his politics, for whatever that's worth.

Anonymous said...

I don't like Radio Nowhere either, but it is fairly inoffensive, and expected. I don't know why anyone would expect a 57 year old guy to produce great rock when no one else is.

People bash Bruce for his work the "last twenty years" - but other than a couple of grunge bands from the nineties, and a very few bands today, mainstream rock itself has been a wasteland the last twenty years. He's an old man. He can't write the songs he wrote when he was young and hungry. He can't carry the entire dying genre on his shoulders. He does pretty well with folk - it might not always be to my taste, but at least it shows him accepting who he is and trying to age gracefully.

What is with people who bash him from being "liberal" as if that is something new or alien to his music? He has been liberal from day one, as anyone who listens to The Wild The Innocent can deduce from the subject matter. Apparently there are a couple people who got duped by the marketing of Born in the USA and didn't realize it until now.

Anonymous said...

Radio Nowhere is the kind of bland crap that Springsteen blew away with Born To Run etc. He can do better than this. (His last album sucked as well).

weirddog said...

I've never been a big Bruce fan, but I have disagree and say that this song is killer. I personally don't care about his politics or the soul in his sounds. I love rock music, and this song rocks. This song is meant to be blaring out of every speaker it comes across. Its a rock anthem, its meant to move you and I could only imagine how it would sound in concert. All those speakers driving the drums and riffs right through you.