I heard the music (a couple times) hours before I heard the news. Magic, the Springsteen and the E Street Band album set for release Oct. 2, has leaked onto the internet.
At first listen, my reaction amounted to, “It’s okay.” I was more favorably impressed with each subsequent listen and I even began considering where and how various cuts would be performed in the shows on the upcoming tour. (Tickets for the Belfast and Oslo shows on the tour sold out in less than 10 minutes this week.)
Magic isn’t quintessential Springsteen/E Street material. In fact, “Radio Nowhere,” the first single and the song that opens the album, is by far the most anthemic. But any number of songs call to mind earlier work by Springsteen both with and without the band without sounding like the band is just retreading older approaches. That includes “Terry’s Song,” a tribute to a recently deceased friend that official sites do not list as being on the album but which appears as a 12th track on what’s making the rounds online.
From the little I’ve read from others, I think there’s a consensus — with which I’d agree — that “Livin’ in the Future” is among the better tracks, if not the best. Perhaps because of the subject matter, I’m also quite impressed with the most overtly political of the songs, “Last to Die” (whose chorus asks, “Who’ll be the last to die for a mistake?”). There are a couple tunes that still strike me as weaker links — so far the title cut would be among them. As I said, though, each tune seems to reveal another layer with subsequent listens so it’s far too early for final categorization.
One last thing. If you stumble across the music online, consider this leak nothing more than an early preview. There’s no reason or excuse for not buying the CD when it hits the shelves October 2 (or the vinyl that is to be released a week earlier). I guarantee I’ll be at Best Buy early that day.
We’re livin’ in the future and none of this has happened yet
“Livin’ in the Future,” Bruce Springsteen, Magic