But "Death to My Hometown" has company on Wrecking Ball as a political song. As on so many earlier Springsteen albums, Wrecking Ball is populated by characters speaking to us, telling their stories. Those stories were never as bright and hopeful as their often-anthemic settings made casual or careless listeners think, but they've gotten darker and again, point a finger at the causes of the darkness. In "Jack of All Trades," a man lists all the jobs he does in the effort to survive, assuring that "I'm a jack of all trades, honey, we'll be all right." But despite that reassurance, despite the comforting (or defeated? we can't quite tell) tone and the litany of work he can and will do, this struggle for survival has context—"The banker man grows fatter, the working man grows thin"—and, if at the time those lines are delivered they sound resigned, two verses later, the speaker voices his anger—"If I had me a gun, I'd find the bastards and shoot 'em on sight."
I will be getting this album.