Born To Run is a special album. It's a very warm, welcoming, makes-you-want-to-reminisce, nostalgic, album. There really is nothing quite like it. Some people think of Bruce Springsteen as 1980's commercial Born In The U.S.A. Bruce Springsteen. But this is five years earlier, when Springsteen was making much more intimate, personal and heartfelt records.
Even though I was born 25 years after this album was released, this record makes me feel like i am in my early 40's, listening to this album, and having fond memories of hearing it in 1975. Born To Run, while not overblown, is a epic, glorious album. Almost every song is a classic. Some of my favorites are Born To Run, Thunder Road, and Jungleland.
The record opens with the beautiful, breathtaking Thunder Road, a song that makes you want to be free, run for miles, and, well, move to New Jersey. It starts with a quiet piano intro. The piano is excellent in this song. Then, Bruce begins to sing.
"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"
The song progresses into a louder, symphonic , brilliant rock song. What is odd and great, is that the song achieves all of this without even having a chorus. Some pop songs, and some bands even, rely on a catchy chorus to carry the song, but every second of Thunder Road is magnificent. Thunder Road is one of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs, and just a wonderful song in general. Thunder Road is the perfect opener.
Things get much more laid-back and simple (though that's not necessarily a bad thing) with Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out. The song is mainly about how the E Street Band was formed. The brass section is a stand-out on this song. Also, Bruce's vocals are great. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out is a great, jazzy song, even though I have no clue what the title exactly means.
Night, the third track on Born To Run, is louder, faster than the previous song. It definitely is an exciting track. The energy of the band is palpable, but the track after is a bit superior. Like Thunder Road Backstreets starts out with a beautiful intro, and develops into a bombastic, louder song. Bruce's emotion is so real, and makes the song very interesting. Backstreets runs fairly long, but it's over before you know it.
The title track is, to put it simply, one of the greatest rock songs of all time. The band is unbelievably energetic. Everyone is at their best here. Bruce pours his heart into the song. Born To Run is the perfect rock song. Is has everything--fantastic drums, powerful playing from everyone, a unique solo, a long, bridge which helps the song build up and climax into a final epic verse. The last verse is one of the most emotional part of a song i have heard in a piece of music. The song is simply brilliant.
How can you follow up such an epic song? Bruce does it with a much more low-key tune (similar to the Thunder Road-Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out combo). Bruce Springsteen sings about the girl who's "the one." The lyrics remind me of two teenagers who are deeply in love. It follows the sort of Verse-Chorus-Bridge a lot of Bruce Springsteen songs have. It's not one of the best songs on the album, but a worthy addition.
Next comes my least favorite song on the album, Meeting Across The River. The intro is, admittedly, very welcoming. Bruce Springsteen has built himself up for a great song. The faint saxophone in the background during the verses are great, but otherwise the verses are rather boring, and Bruce's singing isn't the best here. He sounds very tired. There's another dull verse, which seems to get more exciting as it goes on. There might be a great ending because of this build up, but suddenly it gets quieter again and just ends. Not too great.
Jungleland, the final song on the album is unbelievable. At nearly ten minutes, it never makes you lose interest. The piano is just as great as in Thunder Road. Bruce Springsteen's vocals once again become very emotional and heartfelt. Everything is moderately quiet until the organ kicks in. Then, there is a more lively verse, but that definitely isn't the end of the song. There comes another chorus, and the drum work is just great. I can just imagine this song live. Bruce could stretch it out to a twenty minute-epic. After the bridge, the song gets broken down, and Clarence on the saxophone has one of his most memorable, longest solos ever. After, all there is is a quiet piano. Bruce begins to sing another beautiful verse. Then it gets louder again into an epic finale. I can not think of a better choice for a closing song.
Born To Run is the perfect formula for a rock record. I think Bruce was just trying to teach us how to make a perfect album with Born To Run. It's an absolutely brilliant record, and one of the greatest of all time.