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Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska (Cover Artwork)

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen: NebraskaNebraska (1982)
Columbia

Reviewer Rating: 5
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Contributed by: JeloneJelone
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Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska will probably never be as big as Born to Run, but its influence on indie music has been huge over the last 30 years. It began life as a demo collection of songs for the next E Street Band album. But practices yielded versions that lacked the demos' haunting, sparse quali.
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Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska will probably never be as big as Born to Run, but its influence on indie music has been huge over the last 30 years. It began life as a demo collection of songs for the next E Street Band album. But practices yielded versions that lacked the demos' haunting, sparse quality. Eventually, Springsteen opted to just release the songs as they were, minus "Born in the U.S.A." The resulting record took elements that had been present in Bruce's work since at least Born to Run--the darker failings of America--and pushed them to the forefront.

The songs have various energies, but they're all just different kinds of desperate. "Atlantic City" is the closest thing to a rocker, a strummed out ode to a failing romance. "Highway Patrolman," "Johnny 99" and "State Trooper" form a trilogy of bad dealings with the law. Familial strains come up as well, again on "Highway Patrolman," as well as "Used Cars" and "My Father's House." The closest thing to uplift comes on the concluding track, "Reason to Believe." Over a bluesy riff, Springsteen is confronted with a litany of disturbing images and realizes that faith is meant to placate ("At the end of every hard-earned day / People find some reason to believe"). It's a stark conclusion to a stark record. Yet as depressing as the songs get, the hooks are surprisingly strong too, as evidenced by "Atlantic City" and "Reason to Believe."

Nebraska gets by on minimalism, something Springsteen still isn't known for, and good lyrics. Most of Bruce's albums were homages to his favorite styles. With Nebraska, he invented one of his own, lo-fi. Lo-fi is marked by low fidelity recording quality, which lends songs a hazy atmosphere. It forces listeners to imagine more about what's going on, creating sounds that aren't there. It's like keeping a monster in the darkness: More effective. Born to Run is stuffed with instrumentation, but it's the same listen every time. Nebraska constantly shifts its shape, lending already amazing songs like "Atlantic City" and "Johnny 99" an extra enticing quality.

By utilizing lower fidelity, artists can create a haze for listeners to get lost in. Monster movies are more effective when the creature is hidden, a la Jaws or The Thing, and the same could be said of lo-fi. The tones implied are just as important as the ones heard. Springsteen has tried a few times to recreate Nebraska's indie-folk, with mixed results on The Ghost of Tom Joad and Devils & Dust, but it truly is a one-of-a-kind record in his discography.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
MN_DrNick (April 4, 2012)

Love this album so much.

HeresLookinAtYou (April 3, 2012)

Yes.

timahelm (April 3, 2012)

I dont get it...

eatdogs (April 3, 2012)

for some reason, i always liked to associate the song "my hometown" with this album, even though it was a bigger produced song than any of the ones on nebraska. still, this is essential boss music right here. bon iver can only wish he was this good...

lukabratzi (April 3, 2012)

Anyone ever heard Sticks and Stones cover of Atlantic City? Shit is amazing.

kidgotham (April 3, 2012)

On of the finest records ever recorded.

preston (April 3, 2012)

Seriously.

nickdiesel (April 3, 2012)

my favorite record

Torgo (April 3, 2012)

Amazing record, really blew me away the first time I heard it

eatbicycles (April 3, 2012)

this is the brass ring, fellas

N8R (April 3, 2012)

I used to talk very badly about Springsteen. Then, a friend of mine lent me this album and told me to listen to it. In an effort to not be a total prejudicial prude, I did.

It really forced me to listen to the way his songs were written. It was an amazing experience I wish I could share with everyone. Some people however, are too stuck in their opinions. Anyway, I then went on to listen to all of his albums realizing that just about all of his albums (especially those recorded BEFORE Born In The U.S.A. which is actually anything BUT patriotic) was written in a very similar tone once you listen past all the orchestration.

The man is brilliant... 'nuff said.

conblake (April 3, 2012)

The only decent boss.

ashtraymonument (April 3, 2012)

"Atlantic City" is one of the greatest songs ever written.

rob_rob (April 3, 2012)

Can the punk rock community get over bruce springsteen please? Yes, his voice is gruff, but I'm never going to mistake the music for being anything but awful.

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