Wrecking Ball

  • Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Mar 6, 2012

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
Buy On
  1. Mar 6, 2012
    The most despairing, confrontational and musically turbulent album Bruce Springsteen has ever made.
  2. Mar 2, 2012
    Wrecking Ball is a work of commanding range and masterful execution.
  3. The Independent (UK)
    Mar 1, 2012
    [Wrecking Ball is] unquestionably his most potent album so far this century.
  4. It's protest music, damn right about moral abstractions rather than those finely limned characters good little aesthetes get gooey about, and for me a cathartic up.
  5. Mar 28, 2012
    More than anything, Wrecking Ball is a record with heart.
  6. Uncut
    Mar 12, 2012
    He's never sounded quite so bitter as he does on Wrecking Ball.
  7. The musicianship and songwriting is easily on par with Magic and exceeds the output on Working On A Dream, and as a whole, Wrecking Ball stacks up considerably with The Rising, which to this day I consider a top-5 Springsteen album.
  8. Mar 6, 2012
    The richest, most dynamic album to the legend's name in decades.
  9. 90
    Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball is that rare release that manages to fulfill, defy, and exceed expectations all at once.
  10. Mar 5, 2012
    Message aside and from a purely musical standpoint, the new album is Springsteen's most enjoyable and freshest-sounding in ages.
  11. Apr 26, 2012
    Wrecking Ball spins Springsteen's most focused work since 2002's The Rising and most defiant and hooky since 1984's Born in the U.S.A.
  12. Mar 6, 2012
    At its best, Wrecking Ball follows the model of 2006's ramshackle hootenanny, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, where Springsteen took dusty folk songs and blew them the hell out to the cheap seats.
  13. Mojo
    Mar 23, 2012
    Uninhibited, Wrecking Ball misses a star here only because two love-among-the economic-ruins, This Depression and You've Got It, don't quite fit the big-theme fierceness - deep feelings to draw together whoever may listen. [Apr 2012, p. 89]
  14. Mar 22, 2012
    Wrecking Ball is his most vibrant studio album of original material since 1984's Born in the U.S.A.
  15. Q Magazine
    Mar 14, 2012
    There is a uniform strength to its material... Wrecking Ball doesn't have a dud. [April 2012, p.92]
  16. 80
    As a whole, Wrecking Ball displays Springsteen's refusal to coast.
  17. Mar 5, 2012
    It's an impressive work from a genuine legend and as a response to our current situation, leaves us with a pertinent message: in Bruce we trust.
  18. Wrecking Ball [is] a triumph.
  19. Mar 1, 2012
    At its best, Wrecking Ball defies you not to be swept along with it.
  20. Feb 29, 2012
    Wrecking Ball may be his angriest and most overtly political collection, yet the fury is contained in some of his most uplifting and celebratory music, so you can never be quite sure if he has come to raise the flag or to burn it.
  21. 75
    Springsteen's emerged with some good material for his new album.
  22. Magnet
    Apr 11, 2012
    The 62-year old Springsteen sounds every bit the angry, empathetic and impassioned social commentator he was on post-Y2K rockers like The Rising and Magic. [No.86, p.57]
  23. Mar 23, 2012
    The balance of gold to dross still makes this album a keeper.
  24. Mar 12, 2012
    With that, this Wrecking Ball is more about a carnival of living souls moving in solidarity than a giant iron orb meant to destroy.
  25. Mar 7, 2012
    Even if some of the album's humanism cloys slightly ... it's reassuring to hear the argument against corporate greed advanced with such forthrightness.
  26. Mar 6, 2012
    While accordions, fiddles, acoustic guitars, and human voices are prominent--befitting the songs' back porch country, folk, and blues vibe--canned clap tracks, woozy keyboards, and whirring sound effects sometimes sit uncomfortably alongside them.
  27. Mar 6, 2012
    Ultimately, despite the odd moment of off piste brilliance (ie 'Death to My Hometown'), Wrecking Ball is at its best when Bruce sounds the most like Bruce.
  28. Mar 6, 2012
    In some ways, the too-slick production on Wrecking Ball is a scrim that allows Springsteen to compensate for his social detachment from his working-class subjects while perhaps convincing himself that he's giving the people what they want-a big rock record.
  29. Mar 6, 2012
    Consistently spirited and glowering, a discomforting album that never leaves his narrative comfort zone, equal parts impersonal and important.
  30. 63
    It'll be considered a late-period record that saw him in good, not great, voice.
  31. Mar 6, 2012
    Wrecking Ball feels cumbersome and top heavy, Springsteen sacrificing impassioned rage in favor of explaining his intentions too clearly.
  32. 60
    It's got plenty of ups and downs.
  33. Mar 5, 2012
    If that presentation doesn't always hit the mark, the sentiment behind it often does, and the album never completely derails.
  34. Wrecking Ball is as surgical as a ball of pig-iron on a swinging chain.
  35. 60
    You want this record to sell by the barrowload, but you might not actually want to play it that often.
  36. Mar 1, 2012
    Wrecking Ball could've been great but was derailed by unnecessary gimmicks.
  37. Mar 7, 2012
    The production isn't a disaster, but most of the stylistic flourishes can feel gimmicky or, at worst, like dry history lessons... There's also the tugging sense that Springsteen and Aniello are trying to cover up some of the album's lackluster songwriting.
  38. Wrecking Ball is an album that will reinforce most everyone's preexisting opinion of The Boss, whether they be good or bad.
  39. Mar 5, 2012
    He's written some resonant songs. But he lost his nerve as a coproducer, going for stadium bombast instead of the unadorned grit these stories of hard times demand.
  40. Mar 6, 2012
    Written from the perspective of a demolished stadium, it's broad and disappointingly simple, wallowing in cheap nostalgia and chummy good feelings.
  41. 37
    As a post-Occupy album, it's less ripped-from-the-headlines and more cribbed-from-older-and-better-ideas.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 68 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 26
  2. Negative: 4 out of 26
  1. MES
    Mar 7, 2012
    I've followed Springsteen from many years and admittedly liked his earlier records more than his recent ones. Magic represented a return toI've followed Springsteen from many years and admittedly liked his earlier records more than his recent ones. Magic represented a return to form. Working on a Dream was one step back (Lead off with 'Outlaw Pete'? Really?). But he's taken two strong steps forward with Wrecking Ball. These are very substantial songs. Beautifully crafted. He's experimenting with some interesting new sounds and perhaps, as been suggested by others, borrowing from Arcade Fire who admit to having borrowed from him. Perhaps there's something to musical incest. Nonetheless, this album requires at least four listenings before its magic hits you like a, well, like a wrecking ball. Powerful stuff. Full Review »
  2. Mar 7, 2012
    Bruce Springsteen made a great record, I like the music, the lyrics and the fact that is always pushing himself to try something new in isBruce Springsteen made a great record, I like the music, the lyrics and the fact that is always pushing himself to try something new in is music. Thanks Bruce see you soon!!!! Full Review »
  3. Mar 6, 2012
    This is the liveliest "solo" Springsteen album I have heard. Nice mixture of his recent "Seeger Sessions" influences mixed into his EThis is the liveliest "solo" Springsteen album I have heard. Nice mixture of his recent "Seeger Sessions" influences mixed into his E Street sound. Reading the lyrics,once can see where the perception that this is an angry album comes from. I also think it is ultimately a hopeful one. Will be looking forward to seeing these songs being played by the E Street Band. They will be missing Tom Morello's masterfulplaying but I am confident Nils Lofgren and Bruce will fill in the gaps! I would rank this in his top 5, along with (in no order) Darkness, Tunnel of Love, Born to Run, and the Live LP! Full Review »