These songs are no less than majestic, lyrically and melodically. The singing and playing are equally impressive and convey the various moods of the album so well. The ecstasy, the joy and the sadness of life are captured here with an honesty very rarely matched in the history of rock.
The Ties That Bind, Sherry Darling and Hungry Heart are passionate rockers, while Independence Day is a mournful ballad full of memories and regret. Point Black is a slow ballad, whilst Cadillac Ranch and I'm A Rocker are blistering slabs of energetic rock. Fade Away is a slow and anguished ballad with beautiful piano work and a stirring arrangement, while the sad and fragile Stolen Car almost sounds like something from Nebraska.
Traditional rock 'n roll rears its pulsating head on Ramrod, while the next three songs all have cars and driving as their theme: The Price You Pay is sombre and melancholic, Drive All Night sad and soulful, and this masterpiece of an album concludes with the sorrowful Wreck On The Highway, one of Springsteen's most moving songs. In its dignified resignation, acceptance and the renewed appreciation for loved ones that it inspires it reminds me of Lou Reed's The Bed or Song For My Father by The Angels Of Light.
The River is such a great album that it's almost too much to digest all these wonderful songs in one uninterrupted listening session.