2017 BET Awards

You Can Look ... But You Can't Touch

Somewhere between "The River" and "The Rising" falls "Magic," Bruce Springsteen's first rock record since 2002 and a sleek machine that's practically pleading to be taken out on the highway. Fully res

Somewhere between "The River" and "The Rising" falls "Magic," Bruce Springsteen's first rock record since 2002 and a sleek machine that's practically pleading to be taken out on the highway. Fully resettled on E Street after two solo projects, Springsteen has injected the taut "Magic" with a fierce purpose you can almost taste.

The first eight songs play like a joyous E Street history lesson: "Radio Nowhere" is an arena-ready call to arms, the winking "Livin' in the Future" hails from the "Hungry Heart" school of Clarence Clemons-powered Motown-rock, and "Gypsy Biker" is a wide-open epic-in-waiting about, well, roads.

Yet there is more to "Magic" than meets the eye: "Livin' in the Future" and "Long Walk Home" drop in some sneaky politics, while "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" finds Springsteen indulging an inner "Pet Sounds," purposefully trying on different vocal styles and keys.

Springsteen's return to the road with the E Street Band this fall should provide a big boost to the industry's fourth quarter bottom line. His 2003 tour with E Street was the most financially successful of his stellar touring career, selling out stadiums in both Europe and the U.S., and dozens of arenas across North America.