Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Classic Album of The Week (Part 3)

I was thinking I hadn't done my classic album of the week section for awhile. This is the third in the series (getting to sound more and more like a bad television station everyday). So far I have looked at stone wall classics in Neil Young's After The Gold Rush and Fleetwood Mac's Rumours which are both albums which have childhood memories for me.

This weeks album takes a slightly different turn in that it has been around for over twenty years but I came to it quite late, in other words over the past three years. Initially when I thought of Bruce Springsteen I thought of Courtney Cox, Dancing In The Dark and Born In The USA however after purchasing the Greatest Hits (can a supposed music lover admit to buying a greatest hits collection) there was one song that stood head and shoulders over the rest and that was Atlantic City taken from the sparse and beautiful Nebraska. The work of Bon Iver is slightly reminiscent of this in terms of backing vocals and beats.

The story songs within the album tell of dysfunction and tragedy (Highway Patrolman, Nebraska State Trooper in particular) and never reach the feel good factor of something like to Born To Run or the new release Working on a Dream which probably was a contributed to the initial dislike within the mainstream music population for this album. However it for me represents what Springsteen is really about in terms of lyrics ("Everything dies that's a fact, but maybe everything that dies someday comes back") and the representation and reality of chasing the American Dream (since reading F Scott Fitzgerald have realised that's what nearly all of American culture and art appears to be about) or for that matter dreams in general.

The album contained few if any hit singles with only Atlantic City (covered recently in the War Child album by the Hold Steady) being considered worthy of single release by the record company. The album was a major risk for Springsteen and was a massive departure from some his of previous releases with the E-Street Band but one could get a sense of that possible direction in his Greetings from Asbury Park album (see Mary Queen of Arkansaw) and one must also remember that Springsteen was initially touted as a possible succesor to Dylan's folk crown in the mid seventies.

Nebraska for those who haven't listened bucks many of the stereotypes and possible hang ups people have with Springsteen. Laying the ground work for much of the current alt-country genre it is an under appreciated album that deserves a wider listening base perhaps more so than some his more illustrious albums. Anyways the title track for the album... enjoy!

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