Coincidentally, that review's description of the record's overall spirit "encapsulates" some of my own most treasured values. Excerpts:
"These first years of the millennium have been extraordinarily trying, especially for a nation that had passed a quarter century in relative peace. Then came terror. Then came wars. Then came economic meltdown. And in the last we were galled to find that what had brought us to the brink of ruin was greed, corruption, mendacity and predatory practices of giant money houses and that we were now required to save them...
"It is from the heart of this disconnection, the chasm between the America that is and the America that ought to be that Springsteen issues his report... He finds depression, lamentation, and resignation... He finds anger, too... there is also defiance...
"There is something quintessentially American in that. One recalls Gen. McAuliffe's one-word rejection of a Nazi demand for surrender, 'Nuts!' One recalls Franklin Roosevelt's standing up to 'fear itself...'
"That is what America is -- hope and defiance in the face of challenge -- and there is something oddly patriotic in Springsteen's evocation of that in these hard times. Not the easy patriotism of Lee Greenwood's song and children waving sparklers on July 4th, but the hard and determined patriotism of those who never stay down, never accept the gap between the America that is and the one that ought to be.
"It is Springsteen's triumph to honor anger and lamentation, but also to look beyond them. And to remind us that, though hard times come and hard times go, hope and defiance still abide and sustain.
"Bring on your wrecking ball." ~ Leonard Pitts, Jr.