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Working on a Dream (Deluxe Version) CD+DVD, Limited Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Jan. 27 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Limited Edition, CD+DVD
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B001L5SXQG
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,478 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Disc: 1
1. Outlaw Pete
2. My Lucky Day
3. Working On A Dream
4. Queen Of The Supermarket
5. What Love Can Do
6. This Life
7. Good Eye
8. Tomorrow Never Knows
9. Life Itself
10. Kingdom Of Days
See all 13 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. My Lucky Day (Video Version)
2. Queen Of The Supermarket (Studio Sessions)
3. Kingdom Of Days (Studio Sessions)
4. Tomorrow Never Knows/What Love Can Do/This Life (Studio Sessions)
5. Life Itself (Studio Sessions)
6. Working On A Dream
7. The Last Carnival (Video Version)
8. End Credits
9. A Night With The Jersey Devil (Video Version)

Product Description

Limited CD/DVD edition includes a bonus DVD that contains 30 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage on the making of the album. 2009 album by one of the finest American songwriters of his generation. Working on a Dream was recorded with the E Street Band and features 12 new Springsteen compositions plus a bonus track: 'The Wrestler'. . It is the fourth collaboration between Springsteen and Brendan O'Brien, who produced and mixed the album. Springsteen also wrote an eponymous song for Darren Aronofsky's 2008 film The Wrestler. The song, also titled 'The Wrestler' won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. SBME. 2009.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I wish Working on a Dream was as good as it should be. I wish Bruce Springsteen recording while in between tour breaks created a vibrant, energized set of songs that felt infected with the rush of his live performances. I wish I could, but I'd be working too hard to believe that, the truth is this is a depressingly average album missing Springsteen's previous perfectionist streak.

On Born to Run's 25th Anniversary DVD Springsteen acknowledged that he worked very hard on lyrics to avoid falling into cliché on that record. On Working on a Dream his songs can't avoid falling into that trap. Queen of the Supermarket is the best example of this as the lyrics just don't dance the tightrope of sounding like an authentic slice of life tune that zeroes in on our quiet daily crushes. Instead Bruce spouts some truly awful lines like 'each night I take my groceries and I drift away.' Really Bruce, did you wander down to the Wal-Mart in between tour stops?

In between such cringe inducing moments Springsteen does give us a solid track or two. Outlaw Pete gets the album off to a great start as this eight minute epic is a great showcase of Springsteen's grandiose abilities that he showed off on Born To Run. It gives the album the sort of large scale beginning that Thunder Road did. The rest of the CD however, never even attempts to climb such heights and jumps by with very few memorable moments. The real problem may be the rushed nature of the recording sessions. Springsteen usually takes his time in between records but Working on a Dream comes very quickly on the heels of 2007's Magic. Great Springsteen songs feel like a lot of work has been put into them.
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Format: Audio CD
The Boss has been a busy man as of late. Written directly after the 2008 Magic sessions, Working on a Dream is an epic collection that brings together themes of unrequited love, personal tragedy and salvation, and a refreshing, optimistic reflection on getting older. Like Magic, Dream relies heavily on overdubs and the E-Street Band bring their A-game, playing to whatever Springsteen and producer Brendan O'Brien can throw at them. Easily the best track is the seven-minute saga "Outlaw Pete". Musically, "Pete" contains everything from dramatic strings, bright bells, searing organ pulls and a final gutsy guitar squeal that could be Outlaw Pete's final roar as he rides through the prairies. After 16 albums, Springsteen has his formula down. There are pretty, rock-pop songs ("Kingdom of Days" and "Surprise, Surprise"), a blues number ("Good Eye") and refrained folk thinkers ("The Wrestler" and "This Life"). As with most Springsteen records, it ends leaving you wanting more and the final track, "The Last Carnival", doesn't disappoint. "Carnival" is a touching eulogy for E-Street member Dan Federici; beginning with a circus loop and a set of dry acoustic guitars, it segues brilliantly into a heavenly choir crying out for their fallen brother.
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Format: Audio CD
I enjoyed Bruce's bid to craft a Brian Wilson-style pop song on MAGIC's "Girls in Their Summer Clothes," but that was one stylistic indulgence on an otherwise traditional-sounding Springsteen album; throughout WORKING ON A DREAM, though, he sounds like someone trying awfully hard to sound like anyone but himself, as if to demonstrate that, like Billy Joel or Elton John, he can adopt any musical style and produce something catchy. That may be true, but it's a formulaic approach to songwriting and the final creation becomes more about 'product' than passion.

In that vein, then, we find Bruce mining the sound of The Mamas and the Papas and The Beach Boys (again!) with "This Life," early Elvis ("Tomorrow Never Knows"), and Roy Orbison (the title cut). On "Surprise Surprise" we even get a snatch of Bobby Sherman! All these songs are exquisitely crafted and executed with typical E-Street efficiency, but none are very personal, and Springsteen's greatest gift has always been his ability to make music his audience can relate to. The three-star rating I have given this release is really a nod to the crackling musicianship of the E-Street Band on display here; the songs themselves are kind of...weird ("Queen of the Supermarket?!"). Even opening rouser "Outlaw Pete," for all its epic production, sounds like the theme to a western parody; is Bruce just having us on?

Upon first listen, I can't tell if he's serious or not...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First cd I bought in a long time, good to see the boss is still recording and carrying on like he always has.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa87c7450) out of 5 stars 306 reviews
105 of 132 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa87482c4) out of 5 stars Bruce is a genius, but this cd is lousy Jan. 29 2009
By jhl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I read a Springsteen interview once where he noted that his fans don't seem to like his music when he's happy. I thought then - and I think now - that even his serious albums have music that makes me happier than anything else I've ever heard, and I don't mean just Thunder Road or Born to Run, but Open All Night (Dublin Live) or Maria's Bed (Devils & Dust).

So I'm sorry to say that I'm yet another one of those long-time Springsteen fans who's disappointed in this album. The Bruce I love seems to sing directly to the audience, but in this CD, as in Magic, he sounds about 10 miles away, with a lot of noise between us. I have to say I think this album is worse than Magic, however, because there's not a single song that makes you want to get up and rock, and only the Wrestler genuinely touches your emotions. Are we having fun or do we care when we listen to this? When the answer to both is no then the album comes nowhere near Bruce's usual standards. Outlaw Pete is the closest we can get to enjoyment, but Supermarket Queen and Surprise Surprise are so cheesy that I'm embarrassed to listen to them. And the album is unusually unvaried (read: boring), with nearly every song at a similar volume and tempo.

Bruce still has plenty of energy in concert - I saw him last in August when he was outstanding - but he sounds pretty tired here. And, as others have mentioned, the E-Street band might be credited, but I can't hear them. He's always had ups and downs, so we can keep our fingers crossed for Better Days...
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa87bacfc) out of 5 stars The Boss Takes You Away Again Feb. 25 2010
By Jeffrey Rickel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I didn't latch on to Springsteen when I was a kid despite the popularity of Born in the USA when I was six (I sure did love Dancing in the Dark, though). I recall liking Human Touch (the song) when it was released, but it wasn't until I got out of high school that I realized there was more to The Boss due to Secret Garden being such a big part of the Jerry Maguire advertising campaign. That song refused to leave my head and so I purchased Greatest Hits, knowing only Hungry Heart, Born In The USA, Glory Days, Dancing In The Dark, Human Touch, Secret Garden, and Streets of Philadelphia. That made it easy to validate the purchase, but when I actually listened to the whole thing I realized there was much more, though it took me a couple of more years until I explored Springsteen more fully.

When I finally got Born To Run and popped it in to a CD player I was mesmerized. I love music. I love what a song or a good album can do, but I'd never been TAKEN somewhere before. I'd never just been sucked into a different world by an album. By a book, yes. By a film, yes. And here was Bruce Springsteen just taking me away. The experience was exhilarating. Upon exploration I did find another Boss album capable of doing that - The Wild, The Innocent, and The E-Street Shuffle. And that's not meant as an indictment on his other work, but those two albums feel very cohesive and they really flow and take you from scene to scene. I may like Darkness On The Edge Of Town better than either (or not, have trouble ranking them), but it is not cinematic like those two.

And that brings me to Working On A Dream. I avoided it for over a year for some reason. I think that my enthusiasm for Springsteen had quieted down a bit. I really liked Magic and The Rising, but had gotten into other things and for me time can often lessen my view of an artist, not enhance it. Overall I think the 2000s were one of Bruce's best decades. Great output throughout.

But The Rising, Devils & Dust, The Seeger Sessions, and Magic didn't take me somewhere. So, after putting it off for a long while I finally put Working On A Dream in ye olde Zune and hit play. It was then that it happened.

The Boss took me somewhere again, though not in the way of those masterpieces from the 70s. This was more mature and definitely not as cohesive, yet it somehow all fit together seamlessly.

From the folktale of Outlaw Pete that recalls the absurdities of that genre and of The Boss' old street gang songs to the overlaid guitars, vocals, keyboards, and more of My Lucky Day and beyond, this record is wonderful and mature. I doubt Bruce could make Born to Run today - he's no longer naive. People always point to those type of things with older artists, but Young Bruce could never have made something with the emotional depth and knowledge of Working On A Dream.

Here he deals with love, growing old, with loss and does it beautifully. Even a song like Queen of the Supermarket, an easy one to write off like Outlaw Pete, has a lot more depth when you really listen to it. Besides, I think a lot of people have had those encounters with waitresses, checkout girls, etc where the possibility of something greater sneaks into your head. Here the singer idealizes her just as the singer of Cynthia from the BUSA sessions did - the women serves as the exemplary ideal even if reality can't match it, but while he doesn't approach her and confess his feelings she can still serve as a pillar of all that is right in the world. In that the character is naive, but there is a beauty in the naivete.

This album is laced with beauty that has become too uncommon in modern music. This Life is beautifully on so many levels, from the craftsmanship of the music to the lyrics that really captures the beauty of life and love. Kingdom of Days is another eloquent pop song that focuses on man and wife growing old together with Surprise Surprise closing out this cycle wonderfully.

The record closes (I'm ignoring The Wrestler as part of the record - great song that I regard as a separate item) with a goodbye and a sequel to Wild Billy's Circus Story from The Wild, The Innocent, and The E-Street Shuffle. The Last Carnival is a beautiful farewell to Danny Federici, long time E-Street organist who died of cancer in 2008. As a fan, this song chokes me up as Danny is put in the role of Billy who has died and will no longer join the carnival as it goes from town to town. From the lead in carnival music (played by Federici's son) to the end with a chorus of angelic voices, this song is perfect, bittersweet, and heartfelt.

I wish I would have listened to this record sooner. It's difficult to rank Springsteen's work, but he is clearly one of the greatest rock'n'roll artists ever. This album probably flows the best of any of his albums since Born In The USA (Tunnel of Love, Human Touch, Lucky Town, Tom Joad, Rising, etc all had a hiccup here or there). It is definitely his most pop oriented sound since Born In The USA, though it's not like that or The River entirely, with more Brian Wilson inspired stuff here. But the pop sound works so well for Springsteen. The problem with so much pop is that it is mindless lyrically and musically, but this album is neither. The lyrics are mostly thoughtful with some quirks and the songcraft is top notch. It's a shame that this is not the norm. The kids all want to take the easy way out while making a quick buck, but not The Boss. Buy it and then buy more Bruce if you haven't already. I guarantee your opinion of a lot of the newest popular stuff will drop dramatically.
47 of 58 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa87ba180) out of 5 stars Like Magic, A Fine Collection Of Songs Butchered In The Studio Jan. 28 2009
By Samuel Shabrin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Like Magic, Working On A Dream is a good collection of songs, some stronger than others, but great to hear Springsteen's creative juices are still flowing. Also like Magic, it's too bad the recording is so compressed that it hurts to listen to it. Strangled cymbals, organ that sound like it's being played through a toilet paper roll, background singers that are singing... something- can't make out a melody...

Unlike Magic, I am hoping a 5.1 surround mix is released so I can actually hear and distinguish the drums, organ, guitar, strings, bass, instead of hearing "drumsorganguitarstringsbass".
34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa87bade0) out of 5 stars I didn't think Bruce could sound this bad Jan. 30 2009
By K. Casey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am a die-hard Bruce fan and I generally fall in love with anything he writes...but this is quite possibly the worst of all his albums. There are some pretty good tunes on here - "The Wrestler," "Working on a Dream," "Outlaw Pete" - but there are many awkwardly bad ones. I want to like "My Lucky Day" and "Queen of the Supermarket," but the lyrics are irrevocably hokey, something you don't expect from Bruce. "What Love Can Do" and "This Life" are just flat and boring. "Surprise, Surprise" is one of the worst songs he has ever written. He says he worked on this album quickly, and it shows. I'm certainly disappointed.

UPDATE: Here I am months later in May and I still think this is the worst album Bruce has ever put out. I can appreciate everything he's done from Before the Fame right up through Magic (the list of my ten favorite Bruce albums includes an even mix of 70s, 80s, and his modern stuff)...but I can't make it through this album. I'm going to see Bruce in New Jersey this week (my 5th concert) and I'm SO grateful that he only seems to be playing 2-3 songs a night from "Working on a Nightmare!"
47 of 60 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa87bd1c8) out of 5 stars Working On A Dream - Bruce Springsteen Jan. 27 2009
By Wezzo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Optimism and Springsteen haven't gelled well in the past. "Human Touch" and "Lucky Town", the 1992 two-fer that saw Bruce waxing truly optimistic for the first time in his career, rate among the least memorable efforts of his career; they weren't bad, per se, but they lacked a certain something. (The songs were recorded without the E Street Band, which was undoubtedly a contributing factor; but above and beyond that, the arrangements and lyrics suffered from a certain sameiness and genericism that left the majority of the tracks unmemorable.)

Fans will be pleased to know that, while "Working On A Dream" (Columbia, 2009) sees Bruce once again venture into the realm of the positive, he's both a) with E Street this time and b) kept his songwriting skills on top form.

The first thing longtime Springsteen fans will notice about this album is that the focus here is firmly on the music. The album is bookended by two of his more narrative-driven songs - eight-minute epic Western "Outlaw Pete" and Golden Globe-winning movie theme "The Wrestler" - but elsewhere, it's all about the sonic experimentation, rather than storytelling. The songs here hop across a veritable plethora of genres and styles: "My Lucky Day" is a foot-stomping rocker that sounds like it was written in the "River" sessions. "Tomorrow Never Knows" is a beautiful easy-listening tune that sounds more like the '50s than anything Bruce has ever written. "Working On A Dream" is an Orbison-esque plush pop tune. "Good Eye" is what can only be described as electronic rockabilly.

This variety makes the album one of the most enjoyable listens in Bruce's history. On first listen, you've no idea what will come next: harmony-laden "This Life" segues into the cacophonous "Good Eye"; the relentless joyful "Surprise, Surprise" - possibly the Boss' poppiest tune ever - fades into the melancholy, calliope-backed "The Last Carnival", a touching track clearly dedicated to dear departed ESB member Danny Federici.

"Kingdom of Days" is one of Bruce's finest ballads of all-time: the guy from "Born to Run" is all grown up now; no longer desperate to get out of this place, he's happy to lay on "the wet grass, as autumn breeze drifts through the trees", and "count the wrinkles and the grays" of his lover beneath the covers. Bruce's maturity pervades the album: reflecting on past lovers who were "life itself, rushing over [him]"; coming to recognise that "where the river flows, tomorrow never knows".

Not everyone will enjoy every track. Many have criticised the "trite sentiment" of "Queen of the Supermarket", and the "lyrical simplicity" of "Surprise, Surprise". These may be valid criticisms, but they did not hamper my enjoyment of the album even slightly.

The deluxe version of the album comes with a 40-minute DVD that includes some footage from the studio sessions creating the album, as well as the video for "A Night With the Jersey Devil", a Halloween song Bruce released for free via his website last year.

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