Friday, February 6, 2009

The Essential 10: Bruce Springsteen (Part 2)

6. Born in the USA (1984): The iconic, MTV friendly, pop culture album with all the hit singles on it. Misunderstood ? Yes, Accessible ? Very, His best work ? No.

7. Tunnel Of Love (1987): Reviews at the time would have described this as the disappointing follow-up to “Born in the USA”, but the passage of time has shown the deeper resonance within. Intensely raw and personal with some truly incredible songs, partly let down by an uncharacteristic, tinny production.

8. The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995): Following the Human Touch/ Lucky Town fiasco in 1992, Bruce was ready to get serious again and threw yet another curve-ball in the shape of these desolate, character driven stories imbued with a murky borderline atmosphere. A mixed bag, but Youngstown and the title track are pure Springsteen gold.

9. The Rising (2002): The post 9/11, Bush era album. On one hand its a major return to form with the E Street Band back in tow. On the other hand its overlong, with a horribly compressed drum sound (an unfortunate trait of producer Brendan O’ Brien).

10. Magic (2007): At the time I wasn’t convinced by the return to pop sensibilities, then I woke up to the fact that most of the songs are pretty much outstanding (with the odd clunker in there too).

And the rest:

Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ: Solid.
Human Touch: Avoid.
Lucky Town: Mildly engaging.
Tracks (Boxset): Mammoth, for hardened fans only.
Devils & Dust: Excellent return to the ‘Tom Joad’ sound.
We Shall Overcome: Worthy folk project. Enjoyable.
Working On A Dream: Flawed, yet interesting.

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