Lucky Town

Lucky Town

It took Bruce Springsteen several years to finally feel that he was finished with Human Touch, the first record he’d made without the E Street Band. About a week after sending off the album to be mixed, Springsteen called his engineer with the news that, while finishing up the track “Living Proof,” he’d also written a whole new batch of songs he wanted to record. The tunes he’d written for what would become Lucky Town sounded nothing like the smooth synthesizer compositions on Human Touch—and, in fact, the whole project came together in a little over a month. The inspiration for the lyrics on Lucky Town came from the same places that they did on Human Touch—relationships, men and women, fatherhood—but the stories are simpler, and there’s more humor: “Better Days” features the line “I took a piss in fortune’s sweet kiss,” while “Local Hero” tells the sardonic story of Springsteen seeing his photograph in the front window of the drugstore in downtown Freehold, New Jersey. But Lucky Town also gets deep. “Living Proof” is a confessional about the birth of Springsteen and Patti Scialfa’s first child, “Souls of the Departed” was inspired by the Gulf War, and “If I Should Fall Behind” could have doubled as wedding vows. Most artists in Springsteen’s situation would probably have shuffled through his pile of finished songs, picked out the best ten or twelve tracks, and put out one album. But Guns N’ Roses had recently released both Use Your Illusion albums on the same day, and Springsteen and his manager made the case to the record company that Lucky Town and Human Touch—his first new albums in four years—should hit shelves the same day in early 1992.

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