One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

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I love Bruce Springsteen, and I am cautiously looking forward to Wrecking Ball, a few tracks of which I’ve listened to and have been impressed by. The Boss is pushing this record harder than any I can remember since I started listening to him, releasing one song from the album every day to various popular websites, appearing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and generally throwing himself into this album like he’s got something to prove. The above blurb, from author Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island), is the kind of thing from which one gleans nothing: Countless books come out every year with boilerplate like Lehane’s opinion of Wrecking Ball (some including phrases like “I hate hyperbole,” followed by extreme hyperbole), and few things with such amped-up standard-bearers become anything like what the blurb claims it will, in short order.

That being said, Lehane has taken the time and effort necessary to compile a list of albums Wrecking Ball compares to; a list worth attention if only because Springsteen’s new album is being compared to five albums, some of which, I’m willing to bet, are in the discussion of being among the best records of all time. Care to guess which of these five populate that list? Feel free to choose more than one…

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run (1975)

 

Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

 

Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St. (1972)

The Clash - London Calling (1979)

 

Green Day - American Idiot (2004)

It is simply too much to fathom how somebody looks at a list of rock albums that’ve come out since rock was invented and selects Green Day’s American Idiot as being one of those rare albums that changes and shapes a generation of musicians and listeners, so let me divine the following from Lehane’s rather brazen list: Either Wrecking Ball ends up being one of the best albums ever, or it’s an absolutely horrible trainwreck of an album that nevertheless sells six million copies and launches a greatest hits CD worth of singles. I’m not too good at math, but Lehane’s list gives Wrecking Ball a 4/5 chance of being the best thing ever recorded. We find out tomorrow.

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