The Boss is back. On March 6, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will release Wrecking Ball on Columbia Records. His 17th album overall will contain 11 new songs, produced by roots-rock vet Ron Aniello along with the singer-songwriter himself and executive producer Jon Landau. A "special edition" of Wrecking Ball will add two bonus tracks, plus "exclusive" artwork and photography.
Springsteen also unleashed a first taste of the album, the earnest yet moodily atmospheric "We Take Care of Our Own":
While plenty of artists have been influenced by the Boss in recent years, from the Killers to Titus Andronicus and the Gaslight Anthem, this Wrecking Ball cut feels like the first sign that Springsteen might have been influenced by that new generation of bands himself. Sure, a surging, arena-ready rocker with rollicking organs has been a Springsteen trademark since at least "Born to Run," but something in the spacious production and quavering delivery here suggests Arcade Fire, doesn't it? (Remember when Win met Bruce on SPIN's cover?)
Springsteen manages to make reference to Hurricane Katrina in a rousing song that just might manage to bring together the type of community that Fleet Foxes' Helplessness Blues only addressed lyrically. We guess a few hopeless cynics might be reminded of Neil Diamond's "America," but everybody else, even Bruce skeptics, just might find a lump in their throat.
Springsteen will appear at SXSW in March as a keynote speaker. As previously reported, Springsteen and the E Street band will be hitting the road, with European dates listed on his website and U.S. dates still to be announced.
Wrecking Ball is Springsteen's first studio album with the E Street band since the death of saxophonist Clarence Clemons this past summer. SPIN said Bruce sounded "angry, not grumpy" on their last release, 2007's Magic. On the basis of "We Take Care of Our Own," Springsteen's next one will ratchet up the passion.
Wrecking Ball track list:
1. "We Take Care of Our Own"
2. "Easy Money"
3. "Shackled and Drawn"
4. "Jack of All Trades"
5. "Death to My Hometown"
6. "This Depression"
7. "Wrecking Ball"
8. "You've Got It"
9. "Rocky Ground"
10. "Land of Hope and Dreams"
11. "We Are Alive"