Is there anybody alive out there?

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Those words of this blog’s title, long a part of Bruce Springsteen’s live show, finally come to an album, leading the charge as “Radio Nowhere” kicks off Magic, his glorious return to the E Street days of old.

While 2002’s The Rising was Springsteen’s long-awaited reunion with his E Street bandmates, Magic feels more like the music they made in the 1970s and 1980s, as the musicians play off each other and the songs build and build until the emotions are almost too much to take. This a songwriter and his band at the top of their form, playing with a looseness and togetherness that comes from years of brother- and sisterhood.

The album’s finest point comes toward the end with “Long Walk Home,” a track that felt like a classic from the moment I first heard it a couple of weeks ago. It starts out as as love-gone-wrong lament:
Last night I stood at your doorstep
Trying to figure out what went wrong
You just slipped somethin’ into my palm
Then you were gone
I could smell the same deep green of summer
Above me the same night sky was glowin’
In the distance I could see the town where I was born

By the time it ends, though, Springsteen has hit larger themes:
My father said “Son, we’re lucky in this town
It’s a beautiful place to be born
It just wraps its arms around you
Nobody crowds you, nobody goes it alone.
That you know flag flying over the courthouse
Means certain things are set in stone
Who we are, what we’ll do and what we won’t.

Ultimately, though, nothing sums up this album as much as the initial reaction I had after the listening to the first two tracks, “Radio Nowhere” and “You’ll Be Comin’ Down”: I just wanted to get in my car, roll down the windows, turn up the music and drive. And that’s just what I did, tears of happiness and satisfaction (to borrow sentiments from The Drake) traveling along with me.

And that, my friends, is Magic.

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