Friday, 1 June 2018
Bruce Springsteen - Human Touch & Lucky Town (1992)
Released March 1992
Recorded at Thrill Hill Studio, New Jersey
Released, oddly, as two separate albums on the same day, they really should have been a double album, or else one quality single album. There is definitely some filler on there, particularly on ”Human Touch” and tracks like “Gloria’s Eyes”’ “Soul Driver”, “Cross My Heart” and “The Long Goodbye”, which are sort of “average rock band by numbers” tracks, which brings us neatly to the fact that the band used on these albums is not the E St Band (apart from pianist Roy Bittan).
Looking for a change and hoping that working with new musicians would re-invigorate his muse, Springsteen dispensed with all bar one of his iconic band and employed a new bunch of journeymen/women musicians. The result is a competently played collection of material, but it always sounds as if something is missing. The E St Band have subsequently played some of this material live and it does indeed improve upon them. Having said that, tracks like “I Wish I Were Blind”, “With Every Wish”, “Better Days”, the rocking E Street-y “Roll Of The Dice”, “Souls Of The Departed” and the swampy blues of “The Big Muddy” sound great anyway. I also have to admit a real weakness for the cheesy “Man’s Job”.
"Local Hero", "Lucky Town", "All Or Nothin' At All" and the beautiful, romantic "If I Should Fall Behind" are all more than acceptable too.
I would say, though, that it is now that one can look back and say, pretty categorically, that Springsteen’s best days as a studio, album-releasing artist were behind him. Nothing has ever bettered the run of albums between 1973 and 1987. Anything subsequently just doesn’t match up, whatever people may say about “returns to form” and so on.