Since the early ’70s, Bruce Springsteen has been one of the last true rock ‘n’ roll artists, staying loyal to a style of music that has shifted and evolved countless times over the decades. He also remains one of the preeminent chroniclers of American life within pop music, drawing sketches of the down-on-their-luck and the working class, and giving the characters in his songs a dignity that the world seems intent on robbing from them.
In 2009, Springsteen released yet another album: Working on a Dream, which hit the top of the Billboard 200. The album includes some great new Springsteen songs, including “The Wrestler,” which was used in the Darren Aronofsky-directed film of the same name. Bruce Springsteen tickets sold very well as fans rushed out to hear the man play his songs live.
Here’s a run-down of some of the most essential Springsteen albums, including his most recent record, Working on a Dream.
Working on a Dream, 2009
Though the Boss doesn’t score on the charts with his singles they way he used to, Working on a Dream is still a solid album packed with great new music from this master of old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. Tracks like “The Wrestler,” the last song on the album, show off Springsteen at his best. “These things that have comforted me, I drive away / This place that is my home I cannot stay / My only faith’s in the broken bones and bruises I display / Have you ever seen a one-legged man trying to dance his way free? / If you’ve ever seen a one-legged man then you’ve seen me,” Springsteen sings on that. He perfectly captures the feeling of being broken and old but still giving life your all. Working on a Dream shows Springsteen still rooting for the underdog with moving language.
Born in the U.S.A., 1984
Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. isn’t just classic Springsteen’s classic rock, a perfect gem that’s regarded as one of the best albums to come out of the ’80s. The three hits on this album “Born in the U.S.A.,” “Dancing in the Dark” and “Glory Days” remain popular tracks to this day. It’s hard not to feel your heart swell to the chorus on many of these songs. More than any other, this is certainly required listening for anyone looking to get into Springsteen.
The black and white photo on the cover of Nebraska hints at the dark stories contained within. If Springsteen’s follow-up, Born in the U.S.A, had a silver lining of hope in it, Nebraska was the dark cloud that had to pass over you before you reached that hope. Despite the pessimism, it’s a brilliant album, one that takes a stripped-down approach to Springsteen’s music.
Greetings from Asbury Park, 1973
Though there’s plenty of gold to be mined from Springsteen’s ’70s discography, his debut is a good place to start. The classics on here – like the opener, “Blinded by the Light,” or the stirring “Lost in the Flood”-are sure to become favorites to any budding Springsteen fan.
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