On his 68th birthday, The Boss still remains a staple of modern day Pop Culture, just like Paul Weller and Morrissey in Late 70s/80s England he symbolizes a certain time in American culture. A time of Political Unrest, Financial Mess and questions over which country is the enemy or is the enemy within? Unfortunately for Springsteen not much has changed since his heyday but that only adds to his relevance. On this list Tommy K gives you a definitive list of what he thinks are the Top 10 Springsteen albums for the Boss to ever release.
Probably his most commercial album since The River, certainly his most sunny and colourful musically, lyrically though its classic Springsteen, focusing on alienation and disillusion in an America society sick and tired of a Republican government. The songs combine these lyrics with Phil Spector influenced ‘Wall of Sound’ production, a classic Springsteen trait.
Key Tracks: Radio Nowhere, Livin’ In The Future, Long Walk Home
9. Tunnel of Love
Springsteen’s Divorce Record, Filled with songs about Pain and Suffering with regards to his own fame and the impact on his relationship. Released 3 years after Born In The USA it didn’t quite have the same impact amongst newer Springsteen fans who were used to Blue Collared Rock about Baseball and Cars, it however showed Springsteen’s maturity as an artist and remains one of his more underrated albums.
Key Tracks: Tougher Than The Rest, Brilliant Disguise, Tunnel Of Love
8. Wrecking Ball
His angriest album since Born In The USA, while that albums themes were overshadowed by Springsteen’s dabbling with Synthesizers and music videos this one hits the nail on the head. Lyrically it explorers similar themes in a 21st century environment with topics like the economy and the War on Iraq becoming particular targets.
Key Tracks: We Take Care Of Our Own, Easy Money, Wrecking Ball
7. Born In The USA
Springsteen’s biggest selling album with over 30m in sales, however it is fair to say that a lot of the hype was built around the Synth inspired title track which Ironically was considered an unofficial National Anthem despite being largely critical of the American Dream. Still Born In The USA included many more hit singles that became so iconic it even made him a star on MTV.
Key Tracks: Born In The USA, Glory Days, I’m On Fire
6. The Rising
While the rumour that the album was written and inspired by 9/11 is a myth it did somewhat influence the inclusion of certain songs and the structure. Many of the songs on this record had been written before the tragedy of that particular date. It was also Springsteen’s most politically inspired release since 1984’s Born In The USA and gave the Boss a new Post-MTV audience.
Key Tracks: Lonesome Day, Mary’s Place, The Rising
5. The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle
His 2nd record was an improvement in quality and sales than his first effort, unfortunately it still didn’t sell enough for it to be deemed a success, but his rise in popularity years later made people take notice of his earlier material and in particular this album, which is widely considered one of his greatest despite the lack of recognition initially.
Key Tracks: Rosalita(Come Out Tonight), Incident on 57th Street, New York City Serenade
4. The River
A pre cursor to Born In The USA, equally as commercial and fun as it is political. The River saw Springsteen enter the 80s more mature and able to take risks. This double record included the beautiful and haunting title track, The Ronettes inspired ‘Hungry Heart’ and the rockabilly ‘Cadillac Ranch’. It would’ve been an unbelievable single album, it remains an excellent double album.
Key Tracks: Two Hearts, Hungry Heart, The River
3. Darkness On The Edge of Town
Born To Run’s darker, edgier brother. Whereas that album focuses on trying to make it out of a ‘Dead end town’ this album talks about failing that task and finding it hard to get use to ‘home traits’. Its a return to the roots of the first album and is perhaps more Tom Waits in terms of mood than the Boss himself.
Key Tracks: Badlands, Candy’s Room, The Promised Land
An album that divides opinion, an album where Springsteen ditches the E Street band and decides to release a bunch of demos in order to reflect the dark mood he originally intended, luckily this reviewer loves it to the point where it finishes in the silver position of this particular top 10. Nebraska is lyrically Springsteen’s strongest album ever and it doesn’t miss the E-Street Band at all, Nebraska rawness shines through a dark and cloudy album.
Key Tracks: Nebraska, Atlantic City, Johnny 99
– The Ghost Of Tom Joad
– Devils and Dust
– Working On A Dream
– Greeting from Asbury Park, N.J
– Human Touch
1.Born To Run
What else? The album that kick started everyone’s love with The Boss. Born to Run focuses on hope and destiny rather than the rage and despair of his previous releases as the Girls and Cars cliche explored by Prefab Sproat is perfectly typified, check for Thunder Road and Born to Run as examples. Its his most ‘Springsteen’ album so to speak, and its also his greatest.
Key Tracks: Thunder Road, Born to Run, Jungleland