This is the kind of stuff Springsteen used to make before Born in the U.S.A. turned him into a cultural icon. Unfortunately, he and the E Street Band tap that old well one too many times: "I'll Work for Your Love" begins with a sprawling piano run that sounds like it just drove in from "Jungleland." The harmonica-driven sparseness of "Terry's Song," a bonus cut, is pure Nebraska. And Clarence Clemons blows his sax like it's 1984.
Still, Magic serves as a tonic for the downer material found on 2005's Devils & Dust and the post-9/11 musings of The Rising. On the single "Radio Nowhere" (an obvious bid for airplay, something that's pretty much eluded Springsteen for the past 15 years), the band works up quite a sweat while their Boss sings, "I just want to hear some rhythm" over and over again. Yeah, we get it.