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Human Touch

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Amazon.com: 26 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Perhaps Bruce's most underrated record June 19 2009
By ctrx - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Rock icon Bruce Springsteen recorded "Human Touch" in 1990 but shelved the project until he completed Lucky Town in 1992, deciding to release both albums together. In light of its predecessor, 1988's somber, personal, and emotional Tunnel of Love, "Human Touch" is generally happy and upbeat, consisting of clever, thoughtful rock songs, as well as some of his best guitar playing highlighted in the E Street Band's absence. Bruce and his crew of studio musicians execute a 59-minute record with few dull moments and many memorable ones. For the most part it doesn't have the power of his legendary classics, nor does it try to; they are light, enjoyable songs. Overall it's a great sounding record and might surprise some listeners because it is so overlooked.

It opens brilliantly, with the wondrous title track, a classic single with ingenious writing and playing, the phenomenal "Soul Driver," and the great statement that is "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)." "Gloria's Eyes," "Roll of the Dice," and "Real World" are steady-rocking and well-written winners, and "All or Nothin' At All," "The Long Goodbye," and the swinging "Real Man" also succeed radiantly at an upbeat tempo. The solemn ballads "With Every Wish," marked by muted trumpet instrumentation, and "I Wish I Were Blind" sound like leftovers from Tunnel of Love and are also vintage Bruce. Perhaps the best song, though, is "Man's Job," a simply excellent rock `n roll love song. The album also closes with a charming rendition of folk classic "Pony Boy."

"Human Touch" may feel somewhat insubstantial in light of everything that preceded it, but it is an endlessly solid album of well-written, pleasant rock songs with some truly great moments and Bruce's inimitable soul. Springsteen fans should not hesitate to own this collection.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Bland and Forgettable, With a Few Outstanding Moments. April 30 2010
By Anthony Nasti - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
After a five year hiatus that brought forth a great deal of soul searching, a second marriage, two kids and the breakup of the band that helped his music and live shows come to life, Bruce Springsteen reemerged in 1992 with not one, but two new albums dealing with all these issues and their resolutions. One would think such deeply personal material would make for some of the strongest, most emotionally raw material of The Boss's career. Unfortunately, poor production and arrangement choices strangle out a lot of the potential these songs have.

Springsteen has often stated that his fans like him best when he has a chip on his shoulder. He may have a point. Three of his best albums, "Born to Run," "Darkness on the Edge of Town," and "Tunnel of Love," were all written and recorded during tumultuous times in his professional and personal life. There's no doubt his darker emotions bring out the best in Bruce, giving a music a soul and edge that most of "Human Touch" just doesn't have.

Some of the songs have potential, but are shot down in their execution. "Soul Driver" is, lyrically, a very strong, dark love song, but musically is mutilated by an arrangement that would make Michael Bolton green with envy, complete with synthesized woodwinds and corny jungle beats. The much maligned "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" is actually contains a lot of first rate witty touches in its lyrics, but commits musical suicide by taking itself way too seriously. If he had done as a little roadhouse rocker like "Ramrod," it would have been a nice throwaway "River" - type blowout. The biggest tragedy of all is "Real World," which is one of the best songs Bruce has ever written - "Thunder Road" / "Born to Run" / "Backstreets" good - but the album version, aside from some nice guitar work, is soul crushingly bad. Anyone who's heard any of Bruce's solo piano versions knows how great of a song this is, but you'd never know it from this version.

Some songs are simply forgettable. "Gloria's Eyes," the admittedly catchy "All or Nothing at All," and "Man's Job" are harmless but do not make much impact after more than a few listens. And the less said about "Real Man," the better. The synth line alone is corny enough to cause constipation, and the lyrics are beyond abysmal.

This leaves us with the highlights, which, thankfully, are extremely song. The title song was a huge hit single and deservedly so, a passionate ballad with amazing lyrics and a steady, subtle arrangement that fits the song perfectly. "Cross My Heart" is as sexy a song as Bruce has ever done aside from "I'm on Fire," and "With Every Wish" is simply lovely. The exhuberant "Roll of the Dice" is sublime, with Roy Bittan propelling the song along like only he can. "The Long Goodbye" is a terrific, soul bearing rocker with some of his best lyrics. And "I Wish I Were Blind" is an amazingly beautiful tortured love song.

"Human Touch" will be remembered for keeping Bruce Springsteen in the public eye, but not for advancing his artistic prowess in any way. Its outstanding moments are truly outstanding, but its bad points are REALLY bad.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fools gold, memorys, and tears cried Oct. 7 2009
By R. M. Richardson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I've had this album for a while, and it has defiantly grow on me. There is a better version of "I Wish I Were Blind" on the Xx plugged album, and "Gloria's Eyes," and "Pony Boy" are not the best songs ever, but I really enjoy this album. "Real World" is one of those lost treasures that never really got much attention, and "Human Touch" is a fine song. Very underrated release from the Boss. Not his best, but better than what most people think!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I wish more people would give this cd a chance! Nov. 28 2009
By DMW - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Sure this may have been his first foray into the world of no estreet band land, but it contains some of his most underrated song writing. Ultimately, the production lets this record down. Songs like real man, a classic ish rock love song, or real world, a song about the joy of Bruce's first son, are bogged down by something that sounds like early 80's pop. Shame... Even human touch itself, while mastered quite well, is bogged down by production issues. The best track on the album, which is I wish I were Blind, could have been bruces most commercial for this album. A touching love ballad, and maybe the best one he's written.

I do like Jeff Pocarros drumming on this album. I wish he had joined springsteen on the other band tour, but, he did die a few years later, so he wouldn't have lasted all that long. Bobby kings vocals are really nice on mans job, almost overtaking bruce at times. The album is well mastered, especially compared to lucky town, which is wayy too loud.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3 out 14 songs are great . . . the rest, meh. Dec 7 2010
By Jason C. Brayshaw - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have all of Bruce's albums. But this would be my least favourite. During the writing and recording of this album Bruce had relocated to LA, had just become a parent for the first time, and was writing these songs to overcome his writer's block. It shows. That said, it's not the Human Touch is a terrible album; it's not. It's just not a very good one. Ironically, however, this album includes one of Springsteen's finest ever songs, that being 'Human Touch'. Upon listening to the opening track one could be forgiven into thinking that the rest of the album will be as majestic and heroic as this classic opening song. It's not. If you're going to purchase this album do so for the opening track alone . . . oh and The Long Goodbye. That song is brilliant also. 2 1/2 stars.

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