Monday, November 12, 2007

Girls In Their Summer Clothes

Outside storms are raging and fall's rain is poring, but I'm somewhere else. I'm strolling down "Blessing Avenue, lovers they walk by, holding hands two by two, a breeze crosses the porch, bicycle spokes spin 'round, my jackets on, I'm out the door, and tonight I'm gonna burn this town down". With the drapes down in my living room, it's summer in my mind as Springsteen sings those exact words.

Bruce's album "Magic" hit the stores in the tail end of the summer. "Radio Nowhere" was the first obvious single as fans were screaming for some hard rocking sounds. Springsteen had just delivered two albums delving deep into the folkie inside of him. Some of his more Rock oriented fans were becoming impatient. They needed the
heart stopping, pants dropping, earth shattering, hard rocking, hips shaking, earth quaking, nerve breaking, Viagra taking, history making, legendary E-Street Band back on the road. After all this could be the final time round all of them are fit enough to tour. His fans needed that Magic in the night as only the E-Street boys can deliver. "Radio Nowhere" was the obvious choice to get Bruce and the boys blasting over the airwaves again.

"Long Walk Home" became the second video shortly after "Radio Nowhere", but "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" became the second radio single. "Magic" as an album is very much a tribute to the day the 45 was king. The record is filled with singles that hark back to the Byrds, the Beach Boys, the Drifters and the Beatles. "Magic" is Springsteen's tribute to the music he grew up on. Bruce and producer Brendan O'Brien managed to exploit the E-Street Band's talents to the max, creating Springsteen's first proper Wall of Sound album, in the tradition of Phil Spector, since Born to Run. Some may argue the production sounds muddy, but Magic is intended to be muddy. The album is cut and tailored for transistor radio. Magic needs to be heard on Vinyl over a portable Philips record player. Magic needs to come out of your cheap car stereo speakers at full blast, driving down the open road, to be fully appreciated.

In a sense "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" is the album's center piece. On Magic Bruce further pursued an abstract lyric style he first started to use on "The Rising". The album is filled with cryptic lyrics ("Living in the Future"), double intentions ("Magic") or clever John Kerry quotes ("Last to Die"). Grils is one of the few straight forward narratives on the album. The songs is a throw back to the classic Leiber & Stoller productions they did for the Drifters. Especially the "Winter Mix"of Girls has that subtle orchestrated feel to it that Leiber and Stoller excelled in. Listening to Girls, you can't help but wanting to spin "Under the Board Walk" or "On Broadway" next. "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" has that same and breezy feel to it mixed with that uneasy sense of blue. " She went away, she cut me like a knife, Hello beautiful thing, maybe you could save my life" sums up the core of the song. With that line Summer suddenly doesn't feel so light and breezy at all. With that line Springsteen also revisits his most melancholy and arguably best ballad, " 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)". It can hardly be an accident that Ben E King chose to cover that particular song a few years back on a Springsteen tribute album "One Step Up/Two Steps Back". Both songs put you right smack dab in the middle of an early sixties Billboard chart.

"Girls In Their Summer Clothes" may be a radio single, but unfortunately it isn't on the market for his fans as such. Both the album and his current single seem to scream for a classic 45rpm single, with a genuine B-side. It's a shame and a sin Springsteen sends you to iTunes for this gem.

" 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"
"Girls In Their Summer Clothes (live)"
"Girls In Their Summer Clothes (Winter Mix)"

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