Rolling Stone - p.1195 stars out of 5
-- "Springsteen has rediscovered the boardwalk-dance-party power of BORN TO RUN and the Mitch Ryder and Jackie DeShannon encore covers in his 1975 and '78 shows."
Rolling Stone - p.108
Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Top Albums of the Year 2007" -- "These songs are Springsteen at his toughest and most focused..."
Spin - p.1223.5 stars out of 5
-- "'Your Own Worst Enemy' and 'Girls in Their Summer Clothes' channel Brian Wilson, layering sleigh bells and swelling strings to craft experimental chamber pop."
Entertainment Weekly - pp.68-69
"No album could say more about the uncertain national mood of 2007....Bruce Springsteen is back in the masterpiece business." -- Grade: A
Uncut - p.974 stars out of 5
-- "[MAGIC] is BORN TO RUN crossed with TUNNEL OF LOVE, an attempt to recover the indomitable youthful fury of the former, astutely tempered by the older, wiser, sadder resignation of the latter."
No Depression - p.93
"MAGIC may be the closest approximation to an old-school, big-noise Bruce album in ages."
Q (Magazine) - p.88Ranked #06
in Q's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2007" -- "At 58, The Boss has arrived at another peak."
Q (Magazine) - p.120
"Songs of disenchantment and despair rarely zing with so much energy and life."
Personnel: Bruce Springsteen (vocals, guitar, harmonica, pump organ, synthesizer, glockenspiel, percussion, background vocals); Bruce Springsteen (guitars); Nils Lofgren (guitar, guitars, background vocals); Little Steven (guitars, mandolin, background vocals); William Pu, Sheela Lyengar, Olga Shpitko, Justin Burns, Christopher Pulgram, Jay Christy, Soozie Tyrell (violin); Amy Chang, Tania Maxwell Clements, Lachlan McBane (viola); Karen Freer, Charae Krueger, Daniel Laufer (cello); Patrick Warren (tack piano, chamberlin); Jeremy Chatzky (upright bass); Garry Tallent (bass guitar); Clarence Clemons (saxophone, background vocals); Roy Bittan (piano, organ); Danny Federici (organ, keyboards); Max Weinberg (drums); Patti Scialfa (background vocals).
Additional personnel: Kenn Wagner, Justin Bruns, John Meisner (violin); Charae Kruege (cello); Amy Chang, Tania Maxwell Clements, William Pu, Karen Freer, Sheela Lyengar, Olga Shpitko, Lachlan McBane, Christopher Pulgram, Jay Christy, Patrick Warren, Soozie Tyrell, Daniel Laufer, Jeremy Chatzky.
Audio Mixer: Brendan O'Brien .
Recording information: Henson Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA (03/2007-05/2007); Southern Track Recording Studio, Atlanta, GA (03/2007-05/2007); Thrill Hill Recording, NJ (03/2007-05/2007).
Photographers: Mark Seliger; Danny Clinch.
Unknown Contributor Role: Harry McCarthy.
Following up two folk-flavored albums, MAGIC finds Bruce Springsteen laying down his acoustic guitar to reclaim his rock-hero crown. He's assisted in this endeavor by producer Brendan O'Brien, best-known for big-time '90s hard rock, but the results have little in common with O'Brien's grungy past. Instead, MAGIC's sonic blueprint is more in line with Bruce's last stadium-rock statement, 2002's THE RISING. The album is front-loaded with hard-charging, heavy-riffing tunes ("Radio Nowhere," "You'll Be Comin' Down") that benefit from the sure-fire attack of the E Street Band. In fact, "Livin' in the Future" harks back to the band's vintage '70s work.
MAGIC isn't all back-to-basics rockers, though; evocative ballads that employ atmospheric string arrangements indicate that Springsteen is content neither with standing still nor with looking backwards. One of the most rewarding aspects of the album is the fact that after the relative tunelessness of 2005's DEVILS & DUST, Bruce seemingly learned from the folk gems he covered on his Pete Seeger homage a year later, and started writing arresting melodies again. Any way you look at it, those who may have been put off by Springsteen's previous stylistic diversions will have a welcome feeling for MAGIC.