“Working On A Dream” by Bruce Springsteen – Chords, Tabs, and How to Play

“Working On A Dream”
Bruce Springsteen

(Capo 5)

Out here the nights are long, the days are lonely.

I think of you, and I’m working on a



I’m working on a



The cards I’ve drawn’s a rough hand, darlin’ —
I straighten my back, and I’m working on a dream…
I’m working on a dream.

G                           C                                            G
I’m working on a dream, though it feels so far away.
G                           C                                                          D
I’m working on a dream, and I know it will be mine some day.

Rain pourin’ down, I swing my hammer.
My hands are rough from working on a dream…
I’m working on a dream.

I’m working on a dream, though trouble can feel like it’s here to stay.
I’m working on a dream; our love will chase the trouble away.

I’m working on a dream, though it can feel so far away.
I’m working on a dream, and our love will make it real some day.

Sunrise come, I climb the ladder.
The new day breaks, and I’m working on a dream…
I’m working on a dream.
I’m working on a dream…
I’m working on a dream.

I’m working on a dream, though it can feel so far away.
I’m working on a dream, and our love will make it real some day.

I’m working on a dream, though it can feel so far away.
I’m working on a dream, and our love will make it real some day.

** These chords and lyrics are interpretations and transcriptions, respectively, and are the sole property of the copyright holder(s). They are posted on this website free of charge for no profit for the purpose of study and commentary, as allowed for under the “fair use” provision of U.S. copyright law, and should only be used for such personal and/or academic work. **

The Weekend Review: March 2012 Report

Wrecking Ball (Bruce Springsteen)

Producer: Ron Aniello & Bruce Springsteen

Released: March 5, 2012

Rating:  2 / 5 stars

Top Two Tracks: “We Take Care of Our Own” & “This Depression”

Diverging from the string of excellent albums Springsteen has been releasing steadily since his return from a seven year hiatus (with 2002’s The Rising), Wrecking Ball comes across as a bunt where his past several albums have felt more like full-force swings aimed at the fences.  It’s not so much that this is a bad album: it is, just as disappointingly, a mediocre album.  Most songs fall into one beat from the opening bars on, often establishing a chorus line that becomes the repetitive chant throughout.  There are standouts, such as the album opener “We Take Care of Our Own” and “This Depression.”  And, of course, the tone and textures of Springsteen’s Americana sound are impressively rendered, incorporating acoustic and electric elements intermittently, as well as choir-style background singers (see: “Shackled and Drawn” to begin with) and other cultural textures (see: Death to My Hometown, itself perhaps a frown of an update to his 1985 hit “My Hometown,” then the seventh top ten hit off Born in the U.S.A.).  Still, these elements are not enough to lift Wrecking Ball into any real sense of artistic accomplishment, nor does it live up to the rock music energy and promise of the Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band performance of “We Take Care of Our Own” at the Grammys earlier this year.




Port of Morrow (The Shins)

Producer: Greg Kurstin & James Mercer

Released: March 20, 2012

Rating:  4 / 5 stars

Top Two Tracks: “Simple Song” & “No Way Down”

Fresh off his 2010 collaboration with Danger Mouse as the indie duo Broken Bells, James Mercer returns with the Shins to deliver an alt pop/rock punch in Port of Morrow.  From the fast-paced opener “Rifle’s Spiral” to the lead single and album standout “Simple Song,” through three more excellent though more understated tracks, to the second standout “No Way Down” (which, unlike “Simple Song,” requires little warm-up to get up to full speed), and up to the subsequent ballad “For A Fool” and then the quirky, sonically unique “Fall of ’82,” finally arriving at the penultimate “40 Mark Strasse,” there isn’t a clunker in the set.  The final track feels, like so many title tracks throughout history, like a bonus track or a tack-on rather than a full member of the record.  The Shins are certainly guilty of finding a sound and falling into it, destined to draw claims of “the Shins are a good song,” and yet when you like the sound – as I certainly do – it’s difficult to criticize the nine tracks of gorgeous, bright, modern alt rock music that await you on Port of Morrow.

Music Review: Bruce Springsteen’s “Working On A Dream”

Working On A Dream has all the best qualities of his previous three albums

RATING:  4 / 5 stars

By Chris Moore:

I have to get this out there before I begin:  I have a bias against producer Brendan O’Brien.  I have cringed at the sight of his production credits ever since he took the lead on Rebel, Sweetheart, the Wallflowers’ flat-sounding follow-up to their amazing Red Letter Days album.

That being said, the time for me to forget that association is well past due.

Working On A Dream sounds like you would expect it to sound after Bruce Springsteen’s previous three albums.  And yet I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense.  Rather, it plays like an amalgamation of all the best qualities of his recent work without any of the pitfalls.

Purpose flowed for Springsteen following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the result was a concept album.  On The Rising, there is a sense of “purpose,” to quote a term he used in his recent Rolling Stone interview.  Then there came Devils and Dust, Springsteen’s stripped-down solo effort.  It lacked the production luster of The Rising — rubbed the edges purposely raw, to be more precise — but it was evidence of an artist going back to his roots.  This became even more apparent when he released an album of folk covers called The Seeger Sessions a year later.  I recall having mixed feelings when I reviewed Devils and Dust in 2005, feeling particularly strongly that the album had been overrated.  I still maintain that.

And yet, I’m happy he recorded that album, because I hear echoes of it here.  There are moments on Working On A Dream where you can hear him let go, usually vocally or while playing harmonica.  For those brief moments, the song doesn’t need to be perfect — it needs to feel emotional and real.

So, this new record has the sense of purpose that emanates from The Rising, and there is a maturity only possible after Devils and Dust.  The third predecessor, released in 2007, is Magic.  This is my favorite Springsteen album by far, largely because I enjoy every track time and time again.  There is a pop/rock sensibility on this album that I loved instantly, and I have returned to Magic far more often than any other album he has released recently.

Well, I think Working On A Dream has captured that sensibility as well.  Only time will tell, but there is a variety and vitality to the tracks that I am far from exhausting after five listens in the first twelve hours of owning this album.  Rolling Stone has gone so far as to give it the five-star nod.  I’m not convinced.  A solid four stars?  Absolutely!

The album opens with a somewhat unusual choice, an eight minute track titled “Outlaw Pete.”  Immediately, I can’t help but hear the country/folk tradition that Springsteen has paid homage to recently — with a distinctly E-Street Band rock’n roll edge and beat to it, of course.  I was skeptical at first, but this tale of a toddler who “at six months old [had] done three months in jail” keeps your interest until the final refrain of “Can you hear me?  Can you hear me?”

Fittingly, the album closes with “The Last Carnival,” another character tale, this one about a character named Billy.  Maybe it’s just the Dylan fan in me, but I hear a country/western nod in that name, one which was an integral aspect of Dylan’s soundtrack to Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (the same soundtrack that spawned “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” a simpler but similarly  morbid and bittersweet song).

“My Lucky Day” is fast and fun.  The third and title track lumbers along as it opens, Garry Tallent unwinding a great bass line, and works up to a classic Springsteen vocal on the chorus.

There really is no way to take a song titled “Queen of the Supermarket” seriously until you have heard it.  Springsteen transforms the supermarket into a breeding ground for fantasy and poetic descriptions of life, love, and – of course – dreams.  I found myself wondering where the logical conclusion to the song would fall.  I didn’t want them to get together; that would be too contrived.  But I also didn’t want him to leave unsatisfied.  The final lines of the final verse? “As I lift my groceries into my cart, I turn back for a moment and catch a smile that blows this whole fucking place apart.”  It certainly surprised me to hear a swear in a Springsteen song, but it is indeed the perfect ending.

Well, that and the outro that comes complete with synthesized sounds reminiscent of a scanner in a grocery store checkout lane.

The album doesn’t really start until the fifth track.  “What Love Can Do” has it all – cool acoustic guitar strumming, moments of scorching electric guitar, great bass line, catchy beat, and a nice vocal arrangement.  Having mentioned vocal arrangements, it’s difficult not to acknowledge the Beach Boys-esque opening of the next song, “This Life.”  If Magic‘s “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” garnered allusions to Brian Wilson’s work, then this track certainly deserves a comparison.

The album changes direction a bit as “Good Eye” delivers rough vocals and a Devils and Dust-esque harmonica riff.  “Tomorrow Never Knows” (no, not the Beatles song; far from it, in fact!) is the most stripped-down effort on the album and perhaps the most pleasant and soothing.  Springsteen capitalizes on that feeling by following up with his dreamy sounding, poetic “Life Itself.”  Fittingly, the Working On A Dream booklet is — either purposely or not — set up to feature the lyrics to these two songs side by side, the text over a background picture of Springsteen lying in a field, classic Telecaster in hand, fast asleep.

“Kingdom of Days” is one of my favorites on the album, if only for the fact that it is one of the least formulaic, forced love songs that I have heard in some time.  It is cheesy without being too saccharine.

The opening progression of “Surprise, Surprise” reminds me of Brian Wilson’s “Love and Mercy.”  It progresses from there into a song that is equally as catchy and as hopeful as that classic Wilson tune.

You are in for a not-so-unexpected surprise after the final notes of “The Last Carnival,” as “The Wrestler” fades in and begins.  This is the title track to the Mickey Rourke film that has earned Bruce Springsteen some attention recently.  This is, of course, in addition to the attention he will be receiving for his half time show performance at Super Bowl XLIII.  And he just released a greatest hits album exclusively at Wal-Mart a couple months ago…  Sound like perfect timing?  This writer thinks so.

And I also think it is a good time to be Bruce Springsteen fan.  He has released three great albums in this decade alone.

And now, less than two years after Magic, he has released a fourth.