Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Human Touch” (1992)

It had been five long years, more than that if my disappointment with Tunnel Of Love is to be considered.

The E Street Band wasn’t in sight and that just made a person wonder what the heck Bruce was up to. Record release day had more than the usual spark of energy, especially since we’d learned that Mr. Springsteen would be delivering two separate albums. And “separate” is really the key word here, with Human Touch being the more commercial-sounding of the two.

Until Working On A Dream came out, many people have said that this is his worst record. Another popular opinion (and one that I used to share) is that the two albums would have made one great album if combined, but with the “filler” tossed aside.

Yes, I used to feel that way. But recently listens have given me a different appreciation for that era. It sure was different, especially seeing Bruce front a completely different band. (I saw two shows on that tour.) Despite the touches of slickness here and there, it was refreshing to hear music that leaned unreservedly toward rock.

“Human Touch,” with its slow build heading into the second chorus, reminded me in ways of “Tunnel Of Love”…but it sure was great to hear Bruce getting reacquainted with his electric guitar.

Up next: Soul Driver

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.