Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Lucky Day

Song: My Lucky Day
Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Album: Working on a Dream

I’ve been building this theory that artistry and creativity are driven by the understanding of our own mortality. Clint Eastwood has currently been making films at a fever pitch and arguably, he’s doing the best work of his career. Since 2003’s acclaimed “Mystic River,” the man seems hell bent on making a true mark on the history of film. “Million Dollar Baby” followed, then two World War II epics in one year, and then this year, he released both “The Changeling” and “Gran Torino,” to much Oscar talk.

I also think this holds true for Morrissey. After an initial burst of creativity in the early 90’s, he released some so-so albums later that decade ending with the much maligned “Maladjusted.” Seven years went by until he finally came out with a follow up, the excellent “You Are the Quarry” in 2004. Since then he has not stopped working, releasing the even better “Ringleader of the Tormentors” and this years “Years of Refusal.” It’s as if both of these men, after full careers with moments of little output, have begun to realize that their time is short and they either owe it to themselves, their fans, and maybe the world to continue on artistically.

I also group the amazing Bruce Springsteen in with this theory. After becoming just about the biggest American male singer-songwriter in the 80’s, “The Boss” fell off a bit in the 90’s with some so-so albums. But in 2002, after the tragedy of 9/11, Springsteen reunited with the E Street Band and released the amazing “The Rising.” Since then it’s like the man has been re-born, releasing two more solo albums and then most recently back with the band to record last years “Magic” and once again this year with “Working on a Dream.”

I didn’t love ‘magic” as much as “The Rising,” though that would be quite a follow up, but I have immediately connected with “Working on a Dream,” his most hopeful set in years. While he doesn’t write anthem after anthem like he did during the “Born in the U.S.A.” years, he can still do them, best evidenced by “My Lucky Day,” a positively hopeful and loving stomper that I am sure is GREAT in concert. The rest of the album (which includes his NOT nominated song “The Wrestler” from the film of the same name) has Springsteen in a relatively calm place, most likely spurred on by the new president. (Where “Magic” was a pretty pointed attack on the Bush administration.)

Point being, I think we might be seeing much more, and quickly, from Bruce (as well as Morrissey and Eastwood.) I can think of others, such as Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello that have, later in their career realized that time is of the essence, and their icon status can be as big as they want. As long as we have killer music coming, I have no problem with that.


My Lucky Day

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