I think I'm willing to say that this is the first Bruce Springsteen album I didn't dread. I wouldn't want to listen to it a lot, but when it would come time to listen to The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle, I actually chose to give this album repeat listens rather than taking either of the next two albums in the list (Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack and Black Sabbath's Paranoid) a spin since “it's actually not painful.”
Sorry, but this big band style of rock may have Meatloaf to blame, but that's what I am constantly thinking of during so many of the 70's rock band-Springsteen songs. It is tainted as cheesy and a bit over the top in my mind. I think part of what I like about WI&ESS is that Bruce demonstrates a good sense of humor in several of the songs. Maybe that permission for me to laugh at the song and not to have to take it seriously allows me to relax a bit about it?
Taste preferences aside, the performances on this album are done by an enthusiastic and tight musical unit. There is a raw, bar band, jam-based energy that makes this album glow. Some really jazzy elements permeate tracks such as “Kitty's Back”. When wanting to analyze why I enjoy the “E Street Shuffle”, I start noticing all of the disco in the song - with the wah-wah pedal, a Meters-inspired bass, the keyboard choices, and the Latino percussion breakdown at the tail end. It sounds as if the band is having a blast during so many moments on WI&ESS and I think I found it contagious on occasion.
Songs I Knew I Liked: None
Songs I Now Like: “The E Street Shuffle” and “Kitty's Back”
Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
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