The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle was Bruce Springsteen's second album, also the second he released in 1973, he was announcing his arrival with style and a confident authority. The musical themes that are present in this collection are the same one that re-occur throughout his work, urban working class and unemployed life, love celebrated and lost love lamented, all driven by exuberant musical arrangements and captivating melodies.
It is amazing that this is a second collection, it has none of the hesitations that frequently dog second outings as artists struggle to find their feet in the music industry with all the attendant production and scheduling pressure that come with it. Bruce Springsteen displays the lyrical density and dexterity that he has always had, there does not seem to have been a learning curve, he had a fantastic talent to capture a slice of life that feels truthful and honest without being pedestrian or patronising. In particular 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), a song about a fading romance , showcases this aspect of his songwriting. The music is gently supporting the words. On the other hand Rosalita (Come out tonight), the music is rushing and triumphant, the lyrics are clever and joyous, it is celebrating life , love and success.
This collection contains one of my all time favourite sings, Wild Billy's Circus Story. From the opening tuba through the extraordinary evocation of a circus at work and play it is wistful, generous and haunting. This collection lacks the thematic coherence of some of the later great collections, it does not suffer by any comparison to any of them. A glorious collection of songs.