Haha! Yes it does - listen to the lyrics carefully and you hear Tom paraphrasing Springsteen, almost word for word in some parts.
Overall, I am torn. There are two killer songs on this album; not killer AM! songs, just killer songs - as in, if Bon Jovi wrote them in the exact same way, I'd listen to them and like them. The rest of the album is growing on me, I'd say there is only one song that I can't really get all the way through.
I can understand the comparison to Green Day's trajectory, the key difference being American Idiot still sounds pretty much 95% like their earlier songs, while White Crosses sounds almost (~20%) nothing like what came before it. That is an important factor to consider, before assigning AM! to the waste-bin. At the very least - even though I may not like White Crosses as much as …Clarity - Tom and the guys are trying to expand their song-writing, and not just employing their earlier "formula" while applying a glossy veneer. As the saying goes, you can polish a turd - but it's still a turd.
That said, I would have loved to been a fly on the wall while they were recording and engineering this. Of course we can ask Tom how he came to decide when and where to employ studio tricks, but to have been there the moment the decision was made would be much more telling. I think the song writing still sounds top notch - it's just the production that is throwing me off here. The excessive compression (well, that's nothing new), the multi-tracked vocals everywhere, the auto-tune, the gate, etc. - I know Butch Vig can be a royal pain in the ass (he is known for taking weeks to get a floor tom to sound "right"), and he seems diametrically opposed to the very nature of AM!. He's the guy that gets called in to "make a hit" - and that right there is the biggest difference between AM!–present and AM!–past. My impression is that AM!–past chose the producers they were going to work with based on something much more organic and honest than "making a hit". If that's what Tom wanted for AM!, fine - who am I (or any of us, really) to question his plans for his band - however, if it was the label's decision to bring in Vig… I think that it's a shame if the band gave up creative control.
Last night I pulled out a few Vig produced albums to listen to and my first thought was: He is the unofficial 5th member of Against Me! on White Crosses. He definitely leaves a sonic mark on everything he touches, and sometimes that is exactly what seems to be needed, but I'm not convinced it was the right sound for Tom's writing. Asking Tom about this now will most definitely garner a response much different than if I'd been a fly on the wall, as he has the advantage of hindsight, and I don't doubt a fair bit of hubris as well.
What it comes down to is, for me, if this is how they wanted their album to sound, if it is the end result they dreamed about during writing, rehearsing and putting it on tape, then good for them. Luckily, it's not coming out on 8 track, so listening to only the songs I like will be a piece of cake! I just wish it wasn't compressed to fucking hell - I still like dynamics in my music.
One last thing - who else thinks the intro to High Pressure Low was lifted straight off of a New Order single?