Why Doesn’t Springsteen’s Post 1980s Work Get Any Respect?

Springsteen album Magic turns ten this year.  It’s a great album. I am listening to it right now.

Radio Nowhere” was the real pop hit on the album. It still has relevance a decade later.

“Your Own Worst Enemy” resonates with me on so many levels, but I have been turning to it more and more in the Trump-era.

So does “Long Walk Home.”  At the end of the recent River tour Springsteen played this song without the band and set it in the context of the Trump campaign. Here he is on 9-11-16 in Pittsburgh  (I was there and I wrote about it):

And I am still working on the way Springsteen uses Catholic imagery in “I’ll Work For Your Love.”

Over at Pop Dose, Dw Dunphy wonders why Magic does not get more attention.

Here is a taste of his piece:

Magic (2007) was the first album of new music with the E. Street Band since The Rising (2002). It was also a period of unity for the band before drastic changes occurred, beyond anyone’s control — the deaths of Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici. There was some excitement surrounding the first single, “Radio Nowhere.”  According to Wikipedia, the album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, becoming Springsteen’s eighth #1 album in the U.S. and selling about 335,000 copies in its first week. After falling to number two for one week, the album rose again to number one, selling about 77,000 copies that week. To put that into context, the power of music sales was already diminished and what constituted a high-selling album had already changed drastically, but Magic did quite well for itself. That it dipped down in sales but then resurfaced is alone a feat. Most often, once sales trend down, they stay down. That’s not a recent phenomenon — that’s a standard expectation.

But where is Magic now?

By which, I mean, where does it stand in the mix of Springsteen’s legacy of releases? The answer is hard to pin down. It certainly isn’t the fault of Sony/Columbia, his longtime label or Legacy, the label’s back catalog wing. Their investment is as steadfast as it ever was.

You can’t really apply the current pop radio data to this question. While Springsteen was the embodiment of a meat ‘n potatoes ethic of pop for a certain era, modern pop is defined by hip hop and electronica presently. This is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Yet on rock radio, and specifically classic rock radio which should be embracing this stuff for dear life and relevance, not so much. A couple of months ago, Popdose writer Ted Asregadoo noted the pitiful state of today’s rock radio, a classification so tired and worn that a blood transfusion would not help. He looked at the playlists of one in his region of California, and not one track on the list defied the stereotype. If you liked it in ’68, ’78, or maybe ’88, it was probably there. Anything after that is anyone’s guess.

Read the entire piece here.

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