Going hand-in-hand with my post from last week, today we'll take a look at Springsteen's other release from March 31st, 1992, Lucky Town.
As a whole, I do like Lucky Town more than Human Touch, and I think that's the general opinion of most fans. Personally, I see this record as possibly where Springsteen's reputation as a influence on the "Alt Country" movement begins. There's a definite country vibe to a lot of these tunes.
When it comes right down to it, a lot of the same comments I've made about Human Touch can be applied to this album. The lack of E-Street Band involvement is keenly felt, the albums feel like a much "fuller" experience if you take them together, etc. (Quite honestly, I probably should've combined Parts 9 and 10 of this series into a single entry, and covered both albums together.)
Like Human Touch was about change, and upheaval. Lucky Town seems, to these ears to be about rolling into a bright future. A future where things may be different, but that's not always a bad thing. I mean, when an album opens with a track called Better Days, you're looking at a pretty positive feel. The album is simply fun to listen to, even the moments of slightly darker introspection, like My Beautiful Reward, still promise something hopeful.
There are tracks here that I absolutely adore, The aforementioned Better Days always puts a smile on my face, and Local Hero is such a light-hearted shot at Springsteen's own fame an image you can't help but give a chuckle. Living Proof is simply a joyous ode to the birth of Springsteen's son.
I've grown very, very fond of that last song. The last Springsteen concert I attended (Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI, Nov. 15th, 2009), during the "requests" section, a man held up a sign that had a picture of a baby, with a onesie that said "Future Boss Fan" and "3 weeks ago I found Living Proof" written on it. The band scrambled, you have to remember this was a non-E-Street record, and they NEVER play songs from Human Touch or Lucky Town. (Which is a damn shame) Bruce got the band in line after some work, and it really turned out to be a beautiful version.That's my primary memory of that song, and I treasure it.
There is joy aplenty on Lucky Town, acceptance of risk, as in Leap of Faith, and commitment, as in If I Should Fall Behind. It's not hard to see that this is Springsteen's album about his commitment to Patti Scalfia, and joys he found in their life together. After the uncertainty and turmoil on display on Human Touch, it feels like coming out the other side, and see that, yep...You did pull it off. It's liberating and joyous. I smile a lot when I listen to this album.
I think Bruce smiled a lot when he wrote it. It feels looser and less calculated than it's sister release. I think Bruce just started having fun making music again. That, my friends, is something that's always great to hear.
Then, of course, he flipped it back the other way....