The boss is back- it's as simple as that. Not only that- the E Street Band are back in a studio album for the first time since Born In The USA and it's Bruce's best cd since that mega album. He says he wrote it quickly and it sounds as if all the energy he's saved up in the last decade has exploded into a great album with so many highlights it's virtually impossible to guess the hits here. Here's a rundown of the songs with my marks:
(1)Lonesome Day(10)- Catches you by the balls straight from the start. Great rock. The boss means business.
(2)Into The Fire(10)- A song dedicated to the firemen/policemen who went into the fire on 11/9 and lost their lives(most of the album revolves around 11/9 as you know). Moving song.
(3)Waiting On A Sunny Day(10)- Starts a bit like Tenth Avenue Freeze Out and Hungry Heart and sounds like the old boss especially when Clarence Clemoms infamous saxophone enters.
(4)Nothing Man(10)- A slow moving song. Philadelphia style.
(5)Counting On A Miracle(8)- Like Born In The USA's songs, hard lyrics covered by pop/rock. A person who knows his lover won't come back is counting on a miracle.
(6)Empty Sky(8)- Similiar lyrics to the previous song.
(7)Worlds Apart(10)- A defenite highlight. An ethnic start suddenly explodes into Bruce's rocky best. Brilliant.
(8)Let's Be Friends(8)- A rather naive song, but here's to hoping...
(9)Futher On Up The Road(10)- More brilliant rock from the boss. Nothing to do with the Eric Clapton song.
(10)The Fuse(8)- Alright, not great.
(11)Mary's Place(8)- The writing on the cover mark this song along with Into The Fire and The Rising as the hits of the album.
(12)You're Missing(8)- Another sad 11/9 inspired songs.
(13)The Rising(10)- The title track and first single. It says a lot of the album's strength that it's first hit in near the end.
(14)Paradise(10)- My personal favourite. A quiet haunting song in the style of The Ghost Of Tom Joad.
(15)My City Of Ruins(10)- Ironically written before 11/9, but sounds as if it was written after. Brilliant and fitting end. Sounds like a quieter version of the title track.
How does this album rate compared to his back catalogue?
Greeting From Ashbury Park, N.J.(1972)(7)- A Bob Dylan style album. Great lyrics.
The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle(1973)(7)- Similiar to his first album. Features early hits Sandy and concert encore Rosalita.
Born To Run(1975)(8)- The big breakthrough. Considered by most critics as his best I prefer his later work. Brilliant title track, great lyrics in Thunder Road and Backstreets is powerful.
Darkness At The Edge Of Town(1978)(8)- Angry boss following a legal dispute with a former manager which resulted in a 3 year break.
The River(1980)(10)- The big commercial breakthrough. One big party, but the best songs are the quiet ones: the title track, Independence Day, the dark Point Blank and 8 minutes of bliss in Drive All Night.
Nebraska(1982)(8)- Dark, acoustic, very good late at night...
Born In The USA(1984)(10)- Commercial, catchy, poppy? Perhaps, but also utterly brilliant from start to finish and the lyrics are biting.
Live 1975-1985(1986)(10)- 3cds, 5 records. Basically greatest hits live.
Tunnel Of Love(1987)(8)- Personal record following divorce. Features the beautiful song Tougher Than The Rest.
Human Touch(1992)(10)- Admitedly a personal favourite of mine that's not rated by critics/fans. Very similiar to Born In The USA in my opinion. Highlights? The title track, 57 Channels, Gloria's Eyes(well, basically all the first 7 songs) and the beautiful I Wish I Were Blind. Ignore Pony Boy...
Lucky Town(1992)(8)- Released simultaneously with Human Touch, not as good. Should have made 1 cd out them both. Book Of Dreams and If I Should Fall Behind are beautiful. Actually lots of fans prefer this one to Human Touch.
Greatest His(1995)(10)- The big hits and 5 new great songs with Philadelphia, Secret Garden and Blood Brothers beauiful.
The Ghost Of Tom Joad(8)- Nebraska style.
In Concert- MTV Plugged(1997)(8)- shame it wasn't unplugged.
Tracks(1998)(8)- The B Sides. 4 cds. Highlights available on 1 cd. Sad Eyes and Wages Of Sin are beautiful.
Live In New York City(8)- Very long songs, the 75-85 cds are probably better.
The Rising(10)- Classic. In the same class as his greats.