Last year I listened to Nebraska and opined that it would probably end up being my favourite of the four Bruce Springsteen albums on this list. Bah, past me couldn’t be more wrong – that crown is going to be sat on the head of Born in the U.S.A. – which, once again, has me going against how these albums are positioned on the list. At this point, I am wondering how much of these placements are due to a delayed recency bias or if I just have poor taste. In any event, one listen of this album and I’m hooked.
I have spoken in the past about my love for this album’s penultimate track ‘Dancing in the Dark’. It is probably Springsteen at the most mainstream and electronic-influenced that I have ever heard him, which goes a long way to explain why I adore this song. It was the prefect single to propel this album into the stratosphere and, amazingly, the rest of the album lives up to the promise of the single despite none of them being as synthesizer heavy.
What’s also pretty impressive is how the social commentary that I heard on Nebraska is still here, it’s just that he brought them to the world of 1980s rock rather than the sparser more folk rock arrangements. He is able to make his stories of the down and outs of this world extremely accessible. Tracks that are sing-a-longable deal with topics like PTSD and the lives of Vietnam veterans. It’s subversive and yet mainstream, which makes me love this album all the more.
Now in my defence, if it were needed (which it is not), even if Born in the U.S.A. has the title of my favourite Bruce Springsteen album, my favourite song is going to be staying with ‘Born to Run’ for the foreseeable future. I’m not sure how you can beat a song that’s bordering on perfect. This feels like the perfect place to cross of Springsteen, at least for now, and hopefully I can fit in another album before I head abroad again.