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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bruce Springsteen -- Human Touch


My major complaint with Bruce Springsteen's Tunnel of Love is the uninteresting, uninspired music. Bruce follows that album with a collection of b-sides that takes the most lackluster elements of that music and runs with them.  What's that?  These aren't b-sides? These are the real songs and the guy who made Nebraska made them? I can't believe it.
Human Touch is a collection of lightweight pop songs with little substance.  Though Bruce has a new backing band for this album, it often sounds like he is programming beats into a cheap keyboard (it's actually ace session drummer Jeff Porcaro, but who can tell the difference?) and playing along with his electric guitar locked onto the least edgiest setting his effects board has. Also, you know that really boring guy from American Idol who always says "Dawg" or "Yeah, Dawg, I'm not feeling it?" I've never sat down and watched that show, but I've seen him say "Yeah, Dawg, I'm not feeling it" in enough commericials to make me really not want to watch that show. Well, he plays bass on this album. I'm definitely not feeling it, Dawg.
Take "Roll the Dice" for instance.  It's one of the few songs where Bruce actually tries to get something going. He tries to rock out at the start, but see if you can make it to the minute and a half mark.

Nothing exciting happens there, it's just the moment I get bored.
Human Touch is the sound of your friend who just got married and doesn't want to hang out anymore.  Human Touch is the sound of the closing credits in a box office flop.  It is the sound of a high school dance DJ'd by the principal. It is the sound of the adult contemporary station playing in the bathroom of a corporate firm.  It's the sound of Michael Jordan trying to play baseball.
The worst thing about Human Touch is, it is the sound of a man running away from his destiny.  It is almost as if Springsteen is making the most minor music he can possibly make, dodging the shadow of his own greatness for some corner no one will ever want to look.  He saw for a decade just how great he could be, found no personal happiness in it, so tried to do something else (and tried to do it without the great band that got him there in the first place).  It doesn't work and it's a shame.

1992 Columbia
1. Human Touch 6:32
2. Soul Driver 4:39
3. 57 Channels (And Nothin' On) 2:28
4. Cross My Heart 3:51
5. Gloria's Eyes 3:46
6. With Every Wish 4:39
7. Roll of the Dice 4:17
8. Real World 5:26
9. All or Nothin' at All 3:23
10. Man's Job 4:37
11. I Wish I Were Blind 4:48
12. The Long Goodbye 3:30
13. Real Man 4:33
14. Pony Boy 2:11


david said...

" It is the sound of a high school dance DJ'd by the principal."



Nicholas said...

Thanks, man. It is weird for me to have such disdain for an album released by an artist I have so much admiration for, but I hate this thing. It is the sound of Don't Fear the Reaper with no cowbell.