Archive for Darkness on the Edge of Town

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Bruce Springsteen- Born in the USA

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2017 by 80smetalman

For a good many people, the “Born in the USA” album from Bruce Springsteen was the album of the year in 1984. No one can debate how successful this album was. Any album which sell 11 million copies certainly is that. For the Top 40 brigade, it produced seven singles and like U2, Bruce Springsteen was one of those artists who both metalheads and non metalheads could listen to and not feel they were being unfaithful to their chosen genre. Needless to say, 1984 was Bruce’s year and this album was the reason why.

Now, I’m not one to rain on anyone’s parade but I am going to make my opinion known as it was the same now as it was then. Like the rest of the world, I agree that this is a fine album. It was certainly four steps up from his previous album, the rather depressing, “Nebraska,” but I don’t rate this album as high as classics like “Born to Run” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town” and only slightly higher than “The River.” Still, unlike outgoing governor Chris Christie, Bruce Springsteen has always made me feel proud that I grew up in New Jersey.

Reflecting back, I think my main problem with “Born in the USA” was the fact that all of the singles got played to death on the radio at the time. That usually happens in any artist’s home ground so New Jersey radio stations did that. However, some of the singles got tiresome after hearing them played for the 957th time. “Glory Days” and “I’m On Fire” were examples of this and probably “Dancing in the Dark” as well. They were all good songs but got old after hearing them so many times. Saying that, “Cover Me” is the big exception here. I could hear that song 9050 times and wouldn’t get tired of it.

Fortunately, the great thing about the album was the tracks that weren’t singles. They’re all brilliant! There is some good traditional Springsteen rock to be had on all five of these. I’m talking about “Darlington County,” “Working on the Highway,” “Downbound Train,” “No Surrender” and “Bobby Jean.” For me, it is these tracks that have made “Born in the USA” so enjoyable for me.

While most people have raved about the songs on here, I think what often gets overlooked is the lyrics behind many of these songs. Personally, I can identify a tiny bit with the title track. I didn’t serve in Vietnam but Bruce highlights how badly those who served over there were treated. I had been out of the service about a year and by this time, I was beginning to wonder what had been the point of my serving due to the way I was being treated. Only the Vietnam Vets had it far worse than I ever did. The real eye opener was “My Home Town.” It was about his native town, Asbury Park and what was happening while he was growing up. It does make one stand up and think of how divided the nation really was back in the 1960s. Bruce let his feelings be known when he wrote these songs.

Track Listing:

  1. Born in the USA
  2. Cover Me
  3. Darlington County
  4. Working on the Highway
  5. Downbound Train
  6. I’m On Fire
  7. No Surrender
  8. Bobby Jean
  9. I’m Goin’ Down
  10. Glory Days
  11. Dancing in the Dark
  12. My Home Town

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen- lead vocals, guitars

Roy Bittan- piano, synthesizer, backing vocals

Clarence Clemmons- saxophone, percussion backing vocals

Danny Federici- organ, glockenspiel, piano

Gary Tallent- bass, backing vocals

Steven Van Zandt- acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmony vocals

Max Weinberg- drums, backing vocals

It is slightly amazing that in a year where heavy metal dominated, a great rock album like “Born in the USA” could do so astronomically well. It was considered by many Bruce Springsteen’s crowning achievement.

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: Bruce Springsteen- Darkness on the Edge of Town

Posted in 1978, Music with tags , , , , , , on April 14, 2012 by 80smetalman

Being a New Jersey boy, it would be a complete act of sacriledge if I didn’t include this 1978 offering from The Boss. This was another one of those albums I never had to buy because everyone else I knew had it. The summer of 1978 was awash with car stereos, (casette and 8track) blasting this album out of their speakers as they drove around town. Furthermore, the single “Badlands” got lots of airplay on local radio merely because it was a local artist making good.

I believe, as do many others, that “Darkness on the Edge of Town” showcases Springsteen’s working class roots. The tracks from this album have a raw, gritty appeal and the lyrics in them compliment this feeling. This is why I consider this album a good cruising album, to play when you’re driving down the main drag of your home town. I know, because that’s what happened for my friends and me back in the summer and autumn of 1978 and beyond.

Track Listing:

1. Badlands

2. Adam Raised a Cain

3. Something in the Night

4. Candy’s Room

5. Racing in the Street

6. The Promised Land

7. Factory

8. Streets of Fire

9. Prove it All Night

10. Darkness on the Edge of Town

Bruce Springsteen- lead vocals, lead guitar, harmonica

Roy Britton- piano, vocals

Clarence Clemmons- saxophone, vocals

Danny Federici- organ, glockenspiel

Gary Tallent- bass

Steven Van Zandt- rythm guitar, vocals

Max Weinberg- drums

This was the first album that proved to me that you didn’t need a hit single to make a good album. The two singles from this album only just broke into the top forty charts, while the album made it all the way to number sixteen. It probably did better in New Jersey. At the time, a schoolmate of mine reckoned that Springsteen was the next Bob Dylan. I don’t know if I can agree with that, but I do know that this is a good classic album that shows why Bruce Springsteen is The Boss. If you have “Darkness on the Edge of Town” on CD, put it in your car stereo next time you go for a drive, you’ll see what I mean.

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