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Smooth Banannas: Only the Strong Survive, Bruce Springsteen 

Himika Akram reporter 

I am quite old school when it comes to music. Personally, I feel we started losing the real charm of music after the decade of 90s. When I was about to write the music review for this week, I was not being able to find anything catchy, to be honest. It all sounded the same. Blurry sound effect, muddy bass, lyrics that make no sense, and so on. Perhaps today these are the part of popular trends, otherwise how can they do business? But such kinds of music nowhere fell in my definition of music. After searching for half an hour, I found this album named “Only the Strong Survive”, which I can call my kind of music, where there were some real songs.  

Released on Nov. 11, of last fall, it was released under the banner of Columbia Records, this cover-album is a combo of soul and R&B genre. Bruce Springsteen and co-producer Ron Aniello did a great job in crafting the collection carefully and mixing it with the musicianship of the duo and the hope and strength that is hidden in soul music. The announcement came in the middle of September of2022 when Springsteen announced that an album is in the pipeline where he wanted to do justice to the music of ‘60s and ‘70s. 

The alternate route this album took is worth listening to; specially for the people who love soul music. There are 15 songs in this album. The title track sums up the quality of the songs on the album. Personally, I liked ‘Soul Days’ ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,’ ‘When She Was My Girl,’ ‘Someday We’ll Be Together,’ ‘Do I Love You,’ and ‘Nightshift’ the most. Age could not destroy the magic in Springsteen’s growling voice; being combined with the brilliant craftmanship of Aniello, who recorded these songs in his studio, and gave them new lives. You can feel the cheers of stadium or dances at a wedding party in almost every song of this album.  Both the geniuses maintained the richness of the original tracks, but added more relaxed and light-hearted vibes to the tracks. The back-up singers also did their part well, by adding their beautiful harmony and vocals. 

But, like any other album, this one is also not hundred percent perfect. Some flaws are there such as, in ‘Do I Love You,’ the horns were too loud and Springsteen’s voice was barely audible. Even if you watch the music video, you could see the strain on his face to cope with that loudness. In the song ‘Nightshift’ Springsteen has been criticized for overemphasizing his delivery, which took away from the sentimental quotient of the song. 

Regardless, it is a very rich collection and undoubtedly people are loving it, which is evident in the massive success of Springsteen on Broadway. Springsteen’s biggest quality is the passion in his voice which he poured out in this great album and the result is a pure unadulterated, effervescent joy which the music lovers would definitely embrace. 

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