Bruce Springsteen's surprisingly sunny 'Dream' makes us happy, too.
by Simon Vozick-Levinson in Entertainment Weekly
Working on a Dream, the third E Street Band album of the new millennium, feels like a sigh of relief by contrast. Springsteen's topical concerns have subsided for now, washed away by a high tide of positive personal feelings. "Our love will chase the trouble away," the Boss promises on the chiming title track. He sounds downright exhilarated on the uptempo pop anthem "My Lucky Day." And good for him. The guy deserves a break after so much eloquent angst.
Even so, a handful of tunes make it clear that Springsteen still sees a creeping darkness on the edge of town. "What Love Can Do" restates his humanistic faith with an anxious twist: "Darling, we can't stop this train/When it comes crashing through/But let me show you what love can do." He's bleakest of all in "Life Itself," pleading with a troubled lover in strangled tones. Even at Springsteen's most hopeful, then, his lyrics may always remain subtly haunted. Yet the warm, bright music blasting away behind him reminds fans what they've known for ages: It's hard to stay downbeat for very long when the E Street Band is playing. A
Two brothers, four decades, six CDs, hundreds of riffs: The Kinks finally get their box.
by David Fricke in Rolling Stone
Half of Picture Book's long view (this is the first Kinks anthology to go up to their mid-Nineties finish) is devoted to the band's sustained brilliance into the early Seventies, emphasizing Ray's near-daily pursuit of excellence and a fading Albion across now-fabled singles and corralled rarities. Some of the legendary tension between Ray and his younger brother, Dave, the Kinks' lead guitarist, was rooted in the latter's love of loud, and his equal, if not upper, hand is evident in the wisely selective passage through the Kinks' Seventies and Eighties arena-rock resurrection. But Ray never stopped looking over his shoulder. Picture Book ends with another demo, "To the Bone," from 1995, in which Ray spots a favorite old LP in a record shop, triggering memories of a failed love affair. "Every single groove," he sings, "cuts me to the bone." It is a familiar sensation here. * * * *
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