Listen to the a New Song from the Next Springsteen Album 

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 19 2012 10:50 AM

Did You See This? New Springsteen Song

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Bruce Springsteen performs in Asbury Park last week.

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Last week, someone close to Bruce Springsteen told The Hollywood Reporter that the Boss believed his next record, Wrecking Ball, to be “the angriest album he’s ever made.” The first song from that album, “We Take Care of Our Own,” hit the web yesterday; here’s the second verse:

From Chicago to New Orleans
From the muscle to the bone
From the shotgun shack to the Superdome
We yelled “help” but the cavalry stayed home
There ain’t no-one hearing the bugle blown
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I’d say that’s fairly angry. The chorus—“Wherever this flag’s flown / We take care of our own”—sounds rousingly optimistic, but may be intended, at least in part, ironically; that would be a familiar approach for Springsteen.

The Katrina reference, meanwhile, recalls another comment from that Springsteen acquaintance quoted above: The Boss apparently “wrote and recorded the majority of the album before the Occupy movements started, so he’s not just setting headlines to music.”

The B-side for this single (on vinyl, at least) is “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” a 1990s-era Springsteen tune. Since Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine apparently features on Wrecking Ball, I’m guessing it’s the version of that song he memorably contributed to. Hope so.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.