Bruce Springsteen's Human Touch and Lucky Town were both issued March 31, 1992.
The question on fans minds ever since has been whether the two separate albums — his first “rock” music made without the E Street Band, and instead with studio musicians — could have made one excellent album, rather than two merely good ones.
Human Touch is the weaker of the two releases. It is less focused and does not have the cohesive vision that is present on most Springsteen releases. It seems that he just decided to relax and write some simple songs and play some guitar riffs. There is nothing terrible here; it’s just not up to his normal standards. However, average Springsteen is still better than the best of many artists.
Songs such as “Gloria’s Eyes,” “All Or Nothin’ At All” and “The Long Goodbye” are all competent and feature some powerful guitar playing here and there. There is just less passion than usual which reduces the energy level. It may be that Springsteen had gotten a little too comfortable.
“I Wish I Was Blind” is a nice gentle song with beautiful lyrics. Having Bobby Hatfield of The Righteous Brothers sing the high harmonies was a stroke of genius. “With Every Wish” finds him back on firm lyrical ground as you really do need to watch what you wish for at times.
All in all, it is a pleasant and non-offensive album that is listenable. The problem is that when reaching for some Springsteen to play on the old stereo system there are a lot of better choices.
Lucky Town finds a Springsteen who seems to be at a happy place in his life. He is now married to Patti Scialfa and his home life is good. The lyrics form the brightest and most positive that he had issued up until this point in his career.
There is a lot to smile about here. “Leap Of Faith” is almost a spiritual love song. “Living Proof” is slow building with some nice guitar licks. He is now a family man and seems to finally have found some of the missing elements in his life. “If I Should Fall Behind” re-enforces this sense of a contented home life.
My favorite track is the album closer, “My Beautiful Reward.” Life is good but the search still goes on.
It was nice to hear this album again as it is one that I all too often ignore. Bruce Springsteen’s releases tend to be slices of his life, which serve as chapters in his continuing autobiography. Lucky Town finds him happy and content and as such is a nice stop on his journey and mine.