Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m jealous — the folks at Mashable have dibs for the next 24 hours on Bruce Springsteen’s new single “Wrecking Ball,” from the eponymous upcoming album, due March 6. I’ve had a copy of Wrecking Ball preordered from the day it was announced, and I’ll be seeing The Boss here on the U.S. leg of his new world tour in Detroit come April.
Springsteen’s last studio album was Working on a Dream, released three years ago in 2009. Since then, he’s released a DVD/Blu-ray of his June 28, 2009 concert in London’s Hyde Park and a multi-disc boxed-set reissue of Darkness at the Edge of Town (what Springsteen calls his “samurai” record) dubbed The Promise. The latter includes an incredibly cool facsimile of the spiral-bound notebook — including taped-in scraps of paper, stapled-on notes and what look like edge-side coffee stains — that Springsteen used to scrawl lyrics and musical arrangement miscellany while pulling the album together.
But last June, Springsteen’s E Street Band suffered an egregious loss when one of its founding members, saxophonist Clarence Clemons, died of a stroke at 69 years old. Clemons, an actor as well as guest musician who’d played with everyone from Aretha Franklin to The Grateful Dead, was a staple at E Street Band concerts, and some speculated his loss could put Springsteen off touring. But as 2012 rolled in, The Boss announced both a new album and world tour.
Wrecking Ball will be Springsteen’s 17th studio album, and as Mashable notes, Springsteen’s throwing a launch bash by rolling out each track on various websites through March 2. The first single, “We Take Care of Our Own,” debuted on YouTube in January to both listener and critical acclaim. It’s very much a contemporary “Born in the U.S.A.” — a seemingly patriotic anthem-rock song, but with a chorus steeped in darker lyrics that probe the country’s contradictions.
The new single “Wrecking Ball” was originally written in response to the closing of Giants Stadium (the stadium was demolished in 2010), and Springsteen first performed it in a farewell concert at the stadium.
Rolling Stone recently spoke with Springsteen about the new album, calling it “a scathing indictment of Wall Street greed and corruption and a look into the devastation it has wrought.” Springsteen says it’s “as direct a record as I ever made … with the possible exception of Nebraska, which this record has a lot in common with.”
PHOTOS: Remembering Clarence Clemons