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Springsteen is a pretty consistent artist. He takes his time over his albums and puts a lot of thought into them. The outcome is usually a hugely rewarding piece of work. Not so this time, with the worst record of his career. The context is important of course - he hadn't made an album since the great Tunnel of Love in 1987 - and in that time he disposed of the great E Street Band, got divorced, got re-married and became a father. He also turned 40. All that would be great grist for the songwriting mill - especially as he did two acoustic shows in 1990 whcih drew rave reviews, and showed off some new material, such as the epic Real World on solo piano.
What a shame then, that this album was so bloated and uninspired. Instead of having the courage to go in a new direction, he played it ultra safe, with session players adding nothing, and taking Springsteen's music down a dead end. Too many songs and a lack of quality control are also a problem. Can you believe that Rolling Stone gave this 5 stars?
That is not to say that there isn't some good stuff here - you just have to put up with the dross to find it. The title track and I Wish I Were Blind are the standouts - and stuff like Roll of the Dice and Man's World are pleasant enough. But when you hear what he does to the great Real World, you want to smash the album into a million pieces and never hear it again - and as for the career low "Real Man" you squirm in your seat.
Luckily, Lucky Town, released on the same day, was much better and pointed to a new direction with some hope, that was realised on the 1993 tour. If starting a Springsteen collection, get Human Touch last of all....
human touch was released on the same day as its sister album lucky town and was the first album in 5 years after tunnel of love. also it was the first proper album not to include the e street band. only 1 member remained for this album ( keyboardist roy bittan )
The album was welcomed on release but was also attacked by a lot of people. sudeenly the boss was getting bad press.
this is mainly because the e street band were not present for this commercial album and the fact theat the lyrics though are dealing with self loathing and struggle are too positive.
the die hard hard core fans regard this as he's weakest album though they all pretty much agree wish i were blind and human touch are great songs.
personally i think its great album ok its very polished and the estreet band would of made it meaty instead of silky. but overall it has some cool songs.
the hit title track is brilliant, 57 channels the 2nd single is cool.
wish i were blind is great. also it has a great rocker glorias eyes and a lovely song ballad called with every wish.
if you dont know springsteens music you will like this album. yes its flawed i,e real world solo piano live is amazing however on this album verison he ruins it and its a mid uptempo messy affair.
overall a good album with some great songs rather than visa versa
When it was released, I bought Springsteen's "Human Touch" album, and felt it was a 'grower'. I didn't dislike it, thought a few of the tracks were pretty good, and always meant to play it more than I did. But then other things came along to take pride of place at the top of the pile by the CD player. So it's an album I have played very little in the 8 years that I've owned it. Not an immediate hit, then, compared to albums like "Born to Run" or "The River". Listening to "The human touch" today, I wish I had played it more, as there are some excellent tracks on here. About half of the album still makes very little impact on me, though. These are the tracks that make it all worthwhile for me: "Human touch" is my favourite moment is when he screams heyy-yaargghh and the band comes back in, towards the end. "57 Channels (and nothin' on)" - now this song is very distinctive, and highly memorable. It's a kind of "Indian Reservation" for white poets / rappers. "Man's job" - it has questionable lyrics ("lovin' you's a man's job, baby"), which give the song an oldfashioned quality, making you wonder how Bruce finally managed to get married. But anyway, it's a catchy, passionate song, and I love it. "I wish I was blind" - with some highly worthwhile backing vocals from Bobby Hatfield. Talking of the backing vocalists, there are several songs with some real quality vocals, from Sam Moore and Bobby King, which lend a kind of 50's / 60's sound to the songs, and remind me quite a bit of the work Springsteen did in the 80s with old-timer Gary US Bonds. Much of the album sounds to me like it's made up of below standard outtakes from "Born in the USA" - "The long goodbye" and "Real man" for instance. Even though they
are rockers they make me yawn. In fact, overall, it sounds like he's just trying too hard - the vocals are strained, and the band is beefed up a little, but the in the end the tunes aren't always good enough. "Soul driver" and "Cross my heart" are prime examples of this (in Springsteen's terms) mediocrity - both plod along and don't invite repeat listens. I'm sure I will play this album a lot more now, but I will be programming the CD player to just play these last 4 songs most of the time. The rest of it sounds fairly dated, and there's so much great music on some of Springsteen's other albums which I'd rather spend my time listening to.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Human Touch
2 Soul Driver
3 Fifty Seven Channels (And Nothin' On)
4 Cross My Heart
5 Gloria's Eyes
6 With Every Wish
7 Real World
8 All Over Nothing At All
9 Man's Job
10 I Wish I Were Blind
11 Long Goodbye
12 Real Man
13 Pony Boy