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Bruce Springsteen - American Beauty

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American Beauty

Bruce Springsteen

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Outtakes from an album that's essentially a collection of leftovers aren't necessarily an enticing prospect but Bruce Springsteen's American Beauty -- an exclusive EP released for Record Store Day 2014, just a few months after the High Hopes LP; it wound up available digitally after its vinyl debut -- doesn't exactly feel like an afterthought. Maybe that's due to High Hopes not quite feeling as cohesive as the average Springsteen album. A collection of older tracks, covers, and songs that didn't fit a concept, there was an appealing shagginess to High Hopes, and so is the case with American Beauty. Make no mistake, its four songs also have the highly buffed sheen so typical of latter-day Bruce -- he likes what the studio can do -- but underneath that gloss is a quartet of oddities. The title song is slightly over-produced, relying on insistent fist-pumping rhythms underscored by synths; "Mary Mary" is a sober yet sweet, intimate love song that slowly builds in intensity; "Hurry Up Sundown" is a ringing anthem grounded in '60s pop delivered with the bombast of the '80s, the kind of thing that keeps Little Steven's Underground Garage in business; "Hey Blue Eyes" is a mournful acoustic folk ballad, suitable for Devils & Dust. Only four songs but there's something to suit every kind of Springsteen fan, and it's an appropriate coda to a record that also pleased all his constituencies while satisfying none. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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American Beauty

Bruce Springsteen

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1
American Beauty 00:04:06

Bruce Springsteen, Acoustic Guitar, Associated Performer, Composer, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Lyricist, Main Artist, Producer, Slide Guitar, Tambourine, Acoustic Guitar, Associated Performer, Composer, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Lyricist, Producer, Slide Guitar, Tambourine - Josh Freese, Drums, Timpani - Charlie Giordano, Organ - Ron Aniello, Bass, Piano, Producer - TOBY SCOTT, Recording Engineer - Ross Petersen, Recording Engineer - Rob Lebret, Recording Engineer - Chris Lord-Alge, Mixing Engineer - Nik Karpen, Assistant Engineer - Keith Armstrong, Assistant Engineer - Brad Townsend, Assistant Engineer - DAVE SCHIFFMAN, Engineer - Andrew Schubert, Assistant Engineer - Brendan Dekora , Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer

(P) 2014 Bruce Springsteen

2
Mary Mary 00:02:48

Bruce Springsteen, Associated Performer, Bass, Composer, Guitar, Lyricist, Main Artist, Organ, Percussion, Producer, Synthesizer, Associated Performer, Bass, Composer, Guitar, Lyricist, Organ, Percussion, Producer, Synthesizer - Patti Scialfa - Charlie Giordano, Other - Ron Aniello, Producer, Synthesizer - Songa Lee, Violin - Steve Richards, Cello - TOBY SCOTT, Drums, Recording Engineer - Scott Tibbs, Strings - Ross Petersen, Recording Engineer - Rob Lebret, Recording Engineer - DAVE SCHIFFMAN, Engineer - Brendan Dekora , Assistant Engineer - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Mixing Engineer - Sergio Ruelas Jr., Assistant Producer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer

(P) 2014 Bruce Springsteen

3
Hurry Up Sundown 00:03:17

Bruce Springsteen, Associated Performer, Bass, Composer, Glockenspiel, Guitar, Keyboards, Lyricist, Main Artist, Percussion, Piano, Producer, Associated Performer, Bass, Composer, Glockenspiel, Guitar, Keyboards, Lyricist, Percussion, Piano, Producer - Josh Freese, Drums - Ron Aniello, Producer - TOBY SCOTT, Recording Engineer - Ross Petersen, Recording Engineer - Rob Lebret, Recording Engineer - Chris Lord-Alge, Mixing Engineer - DAVE SCHIFFMAN, Engineer - Nik Karpen, Assistant Engineer - Brendan Dekora , Assistant Engineer - Keith Armstrong, Assistant Engineer - Brad Townsend, Assistant Engineer - Andrew Schubert, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer

(P) 2014 Bruce Springsteen

4
Hey Blue Eyes 00:04:33

Bruce Springsteen, Associated Performer, Composer, Guitar, Lyricist, Main Artist, Organ, Percussion, Associated Performer, Composer, Guitar, Lyricist, Organ, Percussion - Max Weinberg, Drums - Garry Tallent, Bass - ROY BITTAN, Piano - Brendan O'Brien, Mixing Engineer, Producer - Soozie Tyrell, Fiddle - Nils Lofgren, Guitar, Steel Guitar - Nick DiDia, Assistant Engineer, Engineer - Patti Scialfa - Patrick Warren, Keyboards - Tom Tapley, Assistant Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer

(P) 2014 Bruce Springsteen

Album Description

Outtakes from an album that's essentially a collection of leftovers aren't necessarily an enticing prospect but Bruce Springsteen's American Beauty -- an exclusive EP released for Record Store Day 2014, just a few months after the High Hopes LP; it wound up available digitally after its vinyl debut -- doesn't exactly feel like an afterthought. Maybe that's due to High Hopes not quite feeling as cohesive as the average Springsteen album. A collection of older tracks, covers, and songs that didn't fit a concept, there was an appealing shagginess to High Hopes, and so is the case with American Beauty. Make no mistake, its four songs also have the highly buffed sheen so typical of latter-day Bruce -- he likes what the studio can do -- but underneath that gloss is a quartet of oddities. The title song is slightly over-produced, relying on insistent fist-pumping rhythms underscored by synths; "Mary Mary" is a sober yet sweet, intimate love song that slowly builds in intensity; "Hurry Up Sundown" is a ringing anthem grounded in '60s pop delivered with the bombast of the '80s, the kind of thing that keeps Little Steven's Underground Garage in business; "Hey Blue Eyes" is a mournful acoustic folk ballad, suitable for Devils & Dust. Only four songs but there's something to suit every kind of Springsteen fan, and it's an appropriate coda to a record that also pleased all his constituencies while satisfying none. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Distinctions: Hi-Res Audio (23/04/2014)

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