Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kneejerk: Bruce Springsteen – Lee DeWyze

Welcome to the latest edition of KNEEJERK, where we preview some new releases and give our short, "kneejerk" reaction...

Bruce Springsteen “The Promise”

“The Promise” is a time capsule – a massive collection of recordings from The Boss from the “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” recording sessions. Two discs hold 21 previously unreleased songs from the creative peak of a living legend – what more could Springsteen fans want? To be prolific is one thing, but to write so many songs that are this good truly speaks to the magnitude of this man’s talent. “The Promise” could have been one of the greatest rock albums of the late 70s. We finally get to hear Springsteen perform familiar hits like "Because the Night" and "Fire", songs he gave to Patti Smith and the Pointer Sisters, respectively. It is difficult to identify highlights from so many wonderful songs, but suffice it to say that you’ll find some of the jubilant Springsteen and the E Street Band on numbers like “Gotta Get That Feeling” and “Ain't Good Enough For You”, and the more contemplative balladeer on “Someday (We’ll Be Together)” and “The Brokenhearted”. I also really liked “Wrong Side Of The Street”, “One Way Street”, and “The Little Things (My Baby Does)”.

Lee DeWyze “Live It Up”

The winner of last season’s American Idol (season 9), and the last to make it through the Simon Cowell filter, Lee DeWyze offers “Live It Up” as his major label debut. Quite the departure from his pre-Idol singer/songwriter releases, “Live It Up” is predictably slick and hip, with DeWyze tweaked to sound like Jason Mraz. Recalling some of his standout performances on Idol, this is not quite the sound I was expecting from the raspy rocker with the humble guy next door attitude. The charm of his voice, even that rock-ready tone, seems to be vacant from this record. I am left wondering what happened, but it is obvious he’s been through the Idol processing machine. It is a shame…his vocals could have made a great modern rock record, but this pop rock fluff that tries too hard to sound like other artists besides himself is extremely disappointing. “Live It Up” will bore you to death.