Bruce Springsteen
Born to Run


5.0
classic

Review

by Distorted Vision USER (4 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 64 replies | 10,799 views


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist


7 of 7 thought this review was well written

Few artists personify the American dream as well as Bruce Springsteen. If those reading this know him by only one song, it�s highly probable that it will be his 1984 hit 'Born In The USA', his tribute to the soldiers in Vietnam, but which soon became the unofficial anthem of blue-collar, working class Americana. His sound is distinctly American, yet there is feeling behind it all that transcends nationalities, and though his songs tell stories of young American dreams and hardships, they are tales that people everywhere can connect with.

When Bruce and his E Street Band crashed onto the scene in 1973, the young songwriter was hailed as the next Dylan, which though flattering was not the best comparison. Sure, there are similarities, not least the use of harmonica, but whereas Dylan is the master of tight rhyme schemes and subtle messages, Bruce's storytelling was raw and much more direct. His songs about growing up were words that adolescents could latch onto straight away, and so Bruce was much more quickly accepted into American youth culture of the time than the older folks who gave him the Dylan label.

Born To Run, the Boss' third album, was the one that finally broke him out of New Jersey and into the mainstream. It is a record that encapsulates the hopes and dreams of a generation, fuelled by hope, possibility, romance, determination, desperation and an energy that makes it sound as fresh today as it did in 1975. Bruce sings for his life here, backed up by the fabulous E Street Band, which makes the music thunder behind the Boss as he proclaims his message to anyone who dares to listen.

The album opens with piano and the strains of a harmonica, before Bruce sings one of the greatest opening verses in rock, which pretty much sums up the whole ethos of the album.

Quote:
'The screen door slams, Mary's dress waves.
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays.
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely, hey that's me and I want you only.
Don't turn me home again I just can't face myself alone again.
Don't run back inside darling, you know just what I'm here for.
So you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore.
Show a little faith there's magic in the night,
you ain't a beauty but hey, you're alright.
Oh, and that's alright with me.'
Thunder Road is without a doubt Bruce's single greatest song and one of the finest songs of hope I've ever heard. It's about breaking free, leaving it all behind and heading out into life on your own. It's scary, but don't worry, you're not the only one and even when you're alone, Bruce is with you. The final line says it all: 'It's a town full of losers, I'm pulling out of here to win.'

After the stunning opener, the album never lets up. Night and the title track Born To Run (with one of the most recognizable drum intros ever) move with a vigourous energy and pace, while Tenth Avenue Freeze Out let's you relax into a great E Street groove. After years together, the Boss and his band were so tight, and you can really feel the chemistry in the way they all mix together - not to take a spotlight, but just to enhance Bruce's songs, for the sake of the music.

Interspersed with the bombastic anthems are moments of quiet beauty, like the jazzy, introspective Meeting Across The River and Backstreets, which starts low-key but grows into something of much bigger proportions. Bruce's emotion doesn't come through any better on this record than here, singing his lungs out as the music builds behind him. It's the same on She's The One, but in a slightly less serious manner, with the rhythm section bouncing along as one to a youthful sounding Springsteen.

The final cut on the album is the epic Jungleland, which only slightly misses out on being as great as the opener. The song is the perfect closer, concluding everything else you've just heard on the record. The Boss switches into storytelling mode one last time and Jungleland has everything you want from Springsteen, with the piano intro, the powerful verses, and then a glorious mid-section containing one of the most emotional saxophone solos you are likely to hear ouside of jazz - Clarence really shines here. Finally, it is left to just piano and Bruce's voice to conclude, with fine aplomb, the song and the album. His album, the definitive Springsteen record.

Born To Run has consistently been voted one of the greatest albums of all time, and rightly so. All the hype is warranted, because this album is something pure, something powerful, something with a real message. Bruce tells stories which you can connect with, and in my opinion he hasn't done that as effectively since as he does here.

Do yourself a favour, listen to this record. Although the imagery you get from Born To Run is one of small-town America, the emotion that underlies the music here is something that everyone can feel. Just like the stories told here, it can provide an escape, a time to dream, if only for the 40 minutes you listen to the album for. Give it a chance and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.

5/5

I would say this in an essential record for any music collection worth having, but if I had to recommend one song, it would be Thunder Road, which is one of my favourites of all time. Other than that, you can't go wrong with the title track, or if you'd like something a bit more epic in scope, give Jungleland a listen. You really can't go wrong with any of the tracks here though.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iai
Emeritus
November 20th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Excellent review. That's the whole Top 20 done now, right?

Zesty Mordant
November 20th 2004



1196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awesome review, and this is a killer album too. say what you will about springsteen, but the guy's quite a songwriter.

Distorted Vision
November 20th 2004



184 Comments


[QUOTE=Iai]Excellent review. That's the whole Top 20 done now, right?[/QUOTE]
I guess so, I'm glad I could complete the 20.

I decided to do it, finally, because it seems there's not many Springsteen fans here; he's pretty much overlooked, sadly. But this is a great album, and it'll be worth the effort even if I can only get one person to listen to it.

ZEROthirtythree
November 21st 2004



234 Comments


I hate Springsteen immensely.

enpsychopedia
November 21st 2004



34 Comments


Bruce Springsteen is the second greatest songwriter of all time, in my opinion.

iceland_is_mine
November 21st 2004



2 Comments


Who is the first?

Iai
Emeritus
November 22nd 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Dylan.

I'll tell you that straight off the bat.

Tangy zizzle
November 22nd 2004



253 Comments


Bob Dylan is the best songwriter that will ever be heard.

Bartender
Emeritus
November 22nd 2004



826 Comments


Dylan is an excellent lyricist/poet. I wouldn't call him such a great songwriter though, because (to my mind) songwriting combines lyrics and music.

manuscriptreplica
November 22nd 2004



431 Comments


Roger Waters is, for popular music, I'd say a classical composer is probably the best

Distorted Vision
November 22nd 2004



184 Comments


[QUOTE=Bartender]Dylan is an excellent lyricist/poet. I wouldn't call him such a great songwriter though, because (to my mind) songwriting combines lyrics and music.[/QUOTE]
True, the music wasn't that revolutionary, but his lyrics and knack for rhyme is unmatchable, and he was one of the first to write on that kind of subject matter, which is why he's considered the best. I would put Springsteen up there with him though. His writing is consistently good quality, and he has a fantastic imagery in his lyrics.

Are we talking just singer-songwriters here though (like Bruce and Bob), or single songwriters (like Roger Waters, as mentioned) or just songwriters in general (Lennon/McCartney come to mind)? Because in my opinion John & Paul were greater songwriters than Dylan.

Bartender
Emeritus
November 22nd 2004



826 Comments


[QUOTE=Distorted Vision]True, the music wasn't that revolutionary, but his lyrics and knack for rhyme is unmatchable, and he was one of the first to write on that kind of subject matter, which is why he's considered the best. I would put Springsteen up there with him though. His writing is consistently good quality, and he has a fantastic imagery in his lyrics.
[/QUOTE]

Yeah, but that's my point - great lyrics, rhythm and rhyme don't necessarily make for a songwriter. Just a poet.

Distorted Vision
November 22nd 2004



184 Comments


[QUOTE=manuscriptreplica]I'd say a classical composer is probably the best[/QUOTE]
Classical composers didn't write songs, they wrote pieces of music. The only classical music that was sung was opera.

manuscriptreplica
November 22nd 2004



431 Comments


Oh ok, then Roger Waters wins

Iai
Emeritus
November 22nd 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

[QUOTE=Distorted Vision]Classical composers didn't write songs, they wrote pieces of music. The only classical music that was sung was opera.[/QUOTE]
Wrong. Classical and romantic composers often wrote songs. Schubert being the most famous example.

Distorted Vision
November 22nd 2004



184 Comments


Okay, I should have said *most* classical composers. Touche though.

What would be the difference between one of Schubert's songs and opera then?

Iai
Emeritus
November 22nd 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Opera is actually a culmination of all art forms. Drama (the performance), sculpture and painting (the stage), and poetry (the dialogue, and to an extent the lyrics). They just met on music's terms, so to speak. It's most often the music from them that is remembered, but everything else is just as important in the opera experience. Basically, opera in the 19th century was what TV is to us today.

An exact translation of the Italian word 'Opera' is 'All', by the way. That's the concept. Everything at once.

Schubert's (and others) songs had no extra dialogue, no story, and no stage performance to go with them. They were just words, given a melody, and an accompaniment.

The Ashtray Girl
November 22nd 2004



108 Comments


Springsteen is utterly awesome, will always love this album. Wonderful review.

As to the best songwriter debate, to my mind it has to be Lennon/McCartney, simply because of how much so many of their songs have entered the world's consciousness. Dylan is a wonderful lyricist, but I agree with Bartender, the music isn't quite up to the same standard.

As said in Sliding Doors, you're born knowing the Beatles, and I think that you have to discover Bob Dylan for yourself, slightly lessening his claim to 'best songwriter ever' status.

My two cents, at least.

Iai
Emeritus
November 22nd 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Rep for Ashtray, for bringing the thread back on topic.

Also on topic - I'm downloading this right now.

Edit: You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to The Ashtray Girl again.

Distorted Vision
November 22nd 2004



184 Comments


[QUOTE=Iai]Opera is actually a culmination of all art forms. Drama (the performance), sculpture and painting (the stage), and poetry (the dialogue, and to an extent the lyrics). They just met on music's terms, so to speak. It's most often the music from them that is remembered, but everything else is just as important in the opera experience. Basically, opera in the 19th century was what TV is to us today.

An exact translation of the Italian word 'Opera' is 'All', by the way. That's the concept. Everything at once.

Schubert's (and others) songs had no extra dialogue, no story, and no stage performance to go with them. They were just words, given a melody, and an accompaniment.[/QUOTE]
See, I know next to nothing about opera, so I learnt something today. :thumb: Good man.

And Ashtray Girl, if you love this album, I love you. ;) Your two cents are welcome.

[QUOTE=ZEROthirtythree]I hate Springsteen immensely.[/QUOTE]
Care to elaborate?



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