American Beauty [EP] Review

artist: Bruce Springsteen date: 04/22/2014 category: compact discs
Bruce Springsteen: American Beauty [EP]
Released: Apr 19, 2014
Genre: Rock, Hard Rock, Folk Rock
Label: Columbia
Number Of Tracks: 4
This new Record Store Day release from Bruce Springsteen features four previously unreleased tracks that are filled with unignorable classic elements.
 Sound: 8
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 8
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overall: 8
American Beauty [EP] Featured review by: UG Team, on april 22, 2014
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Boss is back, and this time with a new release issued to commemorate this year's Record Store Day. Familiar fans may be curious as to why Bruce Springsteen has already released new material, after just issuing his eighteenth studio album "High Hopes" this past January. Springsteen's most recent studio effort was, itself, largely comprised of previously unreleased material from the vaults, so the fact that his new EP "American Beauty" features four songs from this same catalog isn't surprising.

Purists may scoff at the notion of using previously unreleased songs to comprise two consecutive offerings, however to the ears of Bruce Springsteen fans it's still newly released material, and strong material at that. "High Hopes" was widely considered to be a solid studio album, however as you're listening to these four tracks which make up "American Beauty" you may find yourself wondering as to how they missed the original cut.

The new release kicks off with the high tempo title track "American Beauty," which shows Springsteen incorporating some slight country influence into his vocal performance while ultimately landing on the proper side of his signature approach. A string of delicate acoustic guitar welcomes the listener to the second track "Mary Mary," before gradually increasing in volume with whispered vocal melodies and brass arrangements adding to the song's nostalgic chemistry. 

"Hurry Up Sundown," which is also serving as Bruce Springsteen's newest single, could easily pass for an outtake from 2007's "Working on a Dream" simply on the grounds of it's sound production and proud use of vocal harmonies. Engaging distortion guitar is layered above the distinctive combination of The E Street Band, with another melodic hooks generously scattered about to serve as ear candy for established listeners. 

Ending the compilation on a somewhat melancholy note is "Hey Blue Eyes," which similar to that of "Mary Mary" makes proud use of acoustic guitar while also incorporating emotion-stirring female vocals. // 8

Lyrics: Bruce Springsteen's singing style and approach hasn't changed that much throughout his nearly five decade long career. His gritty singing style on the lower octaves remains very much intact, bringing the warmness we find throughout such memorable selections from this EP as "Hey Blue Eyes" and "Mary Mary." Springsteen does show his age while (still successfully) hitting the high notes during the chorus of "Hurry Up Sundown" and "American Beauty," however this fails to take away from the overall performance. // 8

Overall Impression: Bruce Springsteen's "American Beauty" EP features four previously unreleased recordings which show The Boss remaining at the top of his game with no sign of slowing down. Included on this new offering are the two arena rock anthems "American Beauty" and "Hurry Up Sundown" which could easily find their way onto Springsteen's live setlist, as well as two standout light acoustic rockers "Mary Mary" and "Hey Blue Eyes" which will easily appeal to fans of Springsteen's more relaxed execution. // 8

- Lou Vickers (c) 2014

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