Bruce Springsteen
The Promise


3.5
great

Review

by Mike Allen USER (107 Reviews)
December 19th, 2010 | 21 replies | 11,742 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Unreleased material or not, The Boss reminds us why his influence has become so immense

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

Decades removed from their primes, it isn’t a mystery that our aging heroes have yielded mixed results in their 2010 efforts. While Neil Young’s Le Noise illustrated that the man still had brilliance left in him, Tom Petty’s latest effort came off as weary and uninspired; virtually an excuse to tour. Since the release of Tunnel of Love in 1987, Bruce Springsteen has been a bit of an enigma, for his records have failed to meet the astronomical expectations he had set in the 1970’s. With that said, the arrival of The Promise in December of 2010 could not have come at a more ideal occasion. Unlike Young, we are reminded of The Boss’ magnitude with a collection of unreleased material (not a typical studio album) from the glory days of the mid to late 70’s. The Promise is a two-disc compilation of Springsteen’s sessions for Darkness on the Edge of Town; featuring alternative versions of several Darkness tracks and other completely unreleased works.

As B-side related releases generally entail, The Promise fuses mediocre material with tracks that should never have been lost. The latter undeniably includes opener “Racing in the Street,” which is essentially the alternate version of the Darkness on the Edge of Town centerpiece. Contrary to the slow burning nature of the original, this adaptation is a surge of vintage Springsteen energy; featuring perfectly transposed piano, passionately bawled vocals and ultimately capped off by harmonica and violin solos. This particular account of “Racing in the Street” not only rivals the original, but may actually be the superior version. What we see here is the very definition of Americana; an acceptance of trials and tribulations without the abandonment of hope. And that is just something we’ve cherished in The Boss since day one.

Leafing through The Promise, it isn’t ridiculous to say that tracks such as “Ain’t Good Enough For You” and “Talk To Me” would have been massive commercial hits, despite their absence from Darkness on the Edge of Town. “Ain’t Good Enough For You” in particular screams single from the get-go; riding an infectious melody and hand claps throughout what proves to be an absolutely fantastic pop song. This is certainly an indication of the entertainer in The Boss, a track that may have served perfectly on Springsteen’s most popular record: Born in the USA. Even with several of these exuberant tracks scattered throughout both discs, Springsteen comes back to earth with his trademark laments. The penultimate segment “The Promise,” is a peaceful, yet distressed piece which is elevated by Springsteen’s lucid storytelling. The outro evokes the thought of classic the Born to Run opener with Springsteen’s utterances of:

“Thunder Road, for the lost lovers and all the fixed games
Thunder Road, for the tires rushing by in the rain
Thunder Road, Billy and me we'd always say
Thunder Road, we were gonna take it all and throw it all away”


So, while Neil Young discovers the light he once relished in, and while Tom Petty is lacking endurance, The Boss finds a way to remain fresh in our minds. The Promise isn’t the perfect release by any means, but an uncovering of twenty-one solid rock and roll tracks. Groups such as The Gaslight Anthem and The Hold Steady are quick to reveal those wisps of nostalgia that The Boss coined with a piano, sincere lyricism, and an overwhelming sense of optimism, and these sentiments are only furthered with The Promise.



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user ratings (66)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
EVedder27
December 19th 2010



6088 Comments


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRfRm_z8174&feature=related

ohh yeah

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 19th 2010



7178 Comments


Excellent review - pos.

I was also wondering when this would get a review.

Digging: Ty Segall - Manipulator

JulianAssange
December 19th 2010



140 Comments


why aren't you contrib yet

TheBoss88
December 19th 2010



208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

3.5 seems too low but I don't know what I'd rate it. This is fantastic - the box set destroys. Also - I know what you're going for in the last paragraph as the new Tom Petty album was just alright, but I don't know if he is necessarily fading into irrelevancy as his summer tour was pretty huge.

EVedder27
December 20th 2010



6088 Comments


It would be a 4 if the album was shorter, but this is what you get with a b-side album. I see your argument with the Tom Petty thing and I may think of a way to reword that.

"why aren't you contrib yet"

I wasn't around much the past 3-4 months

Nagrarok
December 20th 2010



8197 Comments


I'd check this out if I'd heard more of his 70's albums.

And Mike Allen is back at reviewing! This is good.

Jethro42
December 20th 2010



12402 Comments


I just translated your review in French with google translater, and I'm impressed about the accuracy obtained! And trust me, I use google more than frequently. Review is very well written indeed. Posd
Long live to The Boss.

BigHans
December 20th 2010



26455 Comments


Great job Mike, all hail the Boss

EVedder27
December 20th 2010



6088 Comments


thanks guys, check out that link I posted in the first comment

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 20th 2010



6013 Comments


well written, pos.

from time to time i search for good rock records to water down my private metal ethics, i think this collection would be a good start.

Digging: Troldhaugen - Obzkure Anekdotez For Maniakal Massez

Jethro42
December 20th 2010



12402 Comments


Voivod, I take this opportunity to suggest you Sleepy Sun, kind of trippy free-hard-blues-rock (that's my slang) tinted with a light touch of psychedelic. I could see you digging them too, Vedder.


Nagrarok
December 20th 2010



8197 Comments


I second that.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
June 17th 2011



6443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review! Some real gems here, but unfortunately the album drags a bit

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

NightProwler
June 22nd 2011



6337 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know if I should rate this 3.5 or 4, so I went with 3.5. Great album, the "Darkness on the..." setting can truly be heard - I've got the boxset with this, which is incredible!

Jarvig
June 22nd 2011



168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very good album.

Some weaker songs here and there. But also many very good songs on it.
The type of songs are - naturally - more varied than on Darkness on the...
Here we both have ballads, songs very much like Rock&Roll, even hints of Elvis here and there and then songs that are to "happy" to be put on Darkness on the....

Outstanding: Because the Night ans The Brokenhearted
Very good songs: Someday (We'll Be Together), Fire, Spanish Eye, Breakeaway and The Promise

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
June 23rd 2011



6443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Always hilarious to hear people ask on his gigs if he does covers also (when he plays Because The Night)

CelestialDust
July 25th 2011



3155 Comments


must get this

igg20
August 26th 2011



4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's a great album. Looks a lot like The River, it combines happy pop songs and serious epic rock
songs. And they are all great. Bruce makes some mean pop songs, "Ain't Good Enough for You", "Talk to
Me", "Because the Night", "Candy's Boy"... they are all fantastic. Songs like "The Promise", and the
hidden track "The Way", are absolutely beautiful, and so are the other versions of already classic
Springsteen songs, like "Racing in the Streets".

It is a beautiful, easy to listen to album.

thatdudeud0ntknow
August 26th 2011



164 Comments


Good ol' Bruce

foxblood
November 19th 2011



6797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

damn this rules



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