5.0 out of 5 stars A Haunting Classic
This is as raw as it gets. Such an amazing album back to front. Check it out if you haven't already
Published 10 months ago by S. Bonnell
0 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nebraska is the third most boring state...
...But easily the FIRST most boring Springsteen album (and that's saying something, brother). On this one, Bruce decided to slow things down and try to get all 'artsy'. Well, you're not fooling this reviewer, Bruce. I see right through you. I can just see his thought process as he was laying down tracks for this piece of junk.
"Alright, Bruce-baby (Fact -...
Published on Sep 25 2007 by Jason Beck
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Haunting Classic,
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This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)This is as raw as it gets. Such an amazing album back to front. Check it out if you haven't already
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Deliver me from nowhere...",
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)Raw and unrelenting, Nebraska is a shock to the casual Bruce fan's system. Alike nothing he had created before, it was a true testament of Bruce's artistry. He rarely gets enough credit for the chances he took musically through the years--Nebraska being probably his biggest one. This album could have been awful. It could have cemented the notion that Bruce could never be anything close to "Dylanesque." This could have done to him what going electric did to Dylan. But...it didn't. Not only does Nebraska prove Bruce's lyrical talent, but it also proves that he is not just the electric guitar wielding, theatric stage performer that we all know and love.
Recorded on his own tape recorder, in his bedroom, it's just Bruce and his acoustic guitar yearning for redemption, deliverance, and a reason to believe. The lyrics on this album will get inside you immediately, within the first few lines of the title track. They will pull you into the desolate world of his disparaged and lonely characters. Bruce is a master at painting portraits of life in his words by creating characters you can feel, see, and love. On 'Nebraska', he creates antiheroes for the common man. In "Johnny 99" you start to empathize with the main character as he descends toward madness after losing his job at the plant in Mahwah late last month. In "Highway Patrolman" Bruce displays the moral ambiguity of an honest man torn between his duty as a law officer and his own flesh and blood. Others like "Used Car" and "Mansion on the Hill" are Bruce's retelling of his childhood memories. They will leave you feeling lost in time, like you are looking into the soul of an old black and white portrait.
"State Trooper" is a song like no other. Bruce himself wasn't sure if it could be even called a song, but he threw it on the record anyway. I wouldn't recommend listening to it while driving alone, especially after midnight, because it might scare the s*** out of you. Either that, or you will go mad and drive endlessly trying to escape from nowhere.
'Nebraska' is one of those albums that takes on a whole new persona depending on when you listen to it. In the daytime, it is a realistic journey into the past, a walk with each character down the street of hopelessness towards a meaningful existence. At night, however, it turns into a descent into loneliness, desperation and uncertain fear. Listening to this record will definitely take you somewhere. It may be somewhere unpleasant, somewhere to close for comfort, to real to discern. It may take you to a place where everything you've ever known in life fails you. And it may strike you kind of funny...but at the end you'll somehow be left with more of a reason to believe.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bruce's Finest,
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)I always preferred when artists go acoustic, and record a low-quality album. Albums like Nebraska capture an artist at their most intimate. This was Bruce Springsteen's stark, low-key acoustic record. It was very dreary, as it was beautiful. His tales of suffering and being on the wrong side of the law was profound and you can feel it in his howl and his singing. He already had the reputation of being a high-energy, bombastic satdium act but Nebraska captured him in a whole new light. It was more reserved than Born to Run, and it had more personality than many of his albums. Songs like "Atlantic City," "State Trooper," and "Highway Patrolman" send chills down my spine, whereas other songs like "Nebraska," "My Father's House" and "Used Cars" express Springsteen in a more vulnerable, yet very striking voice, particularly Nebraska's tale of a serial killer. Even non-fans of The Boss can appreciate this album for its sense of intimacy and depth. Springsteen would never be this bare after this album, although certain subsequent works do show his profound side (particularly Tunnel of Love and the Rising).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Through to the badlands of Wyoming ...,
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)The atmospheric sound of this classic album is made up of only voice, guitar and harmonica. The stories are told in compelling imagery over stately melodies. Although the sentiment is deeply melancholic, the promise of redemption is never entirely absent. Places like Lincoln, Atlantic City, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, Johnstown, Wyoming and Linden Town provide the setting for these tales of nostalgia, trouble and heartbreak.
If you've seen the 1973 movie Badlands (Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen) you'll have a more profound understanding of the title track. Both it and Mansion on the Hill are slow and mournful whilst Atlantic City has a lilting beat and Johnny 99 is edgy with its nervous guitar riffs that also infuse State Trooper, a song that thematically relates to Highway Patrolman.
Springsteen's characteristic car and road imagery surfaces in Used Cars with its poignant childhood recollections as well as in Open All Night, an uptempo rock song, the only one on the album. The line "radios jammed up with gospel stations, lost souls callin' lost distance salvation" reminds me of Far Away Eyes by the Stones, a tongue-in-cheek country song on Some Girls. For some reason, it also makes me think of Hank Williams.
Guilt, remorse and the yearning for redemption are expressed in vivid oneiric imagery on the haunting track My Father's House. Reason to Believe concludes this outstanding album on an uplifting note with the observation that people ultimately do find meaning. It echoes a similar hope earlier expressed in Atlantic City, the notion that perhaps everything that dies someday comes back. Its simplicity, profundity and power make Nebraska a masterpiece and a highly influential work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AND I DON'T EVEN LIKE THE BOSS,
By A Customer
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)I think this is an amazing album... & I can't stand alot of Springsteen's stuff. Believe me, I understand the appeal. He's a truelly gifted songwriter, but the cult of his personality & all of the "The Boss" ... & "speaking for the working man" just leaves me cold.
Rather than waste anymore breath on that front, I am sincerely moved by this record. It took balls to put this out when he did. If you ask me, the bombastic likes of Born To Run just pales in comparison. Or anything else he has done, before or since.
I love outlaw songs & the sparseness of the title track is enough to raise the hairs of your neck. It's the sonic equivalent of Charles Starkweather (Badlands serial killer) & Truman Capote's In Cold Blood all rolled into one. Next to the original, only Johnny Cash has done justice to "Highway Patrolman". Cash tried again with, "Johnny 99" but to little avail. One simply can't surpass what Springsteen has laid down here. From the small town yearning of "Atlantic City" to the grey sky imagry of "Reason To Believe", Springsteen reigns all those impending storm clouds in with his intimate, hoarse whisper.
In my humble opinon, this guy works best in a stark setting. But even if he did all his albums like this, Nebraska would still outshine them all. There just comes a time when it all comes together & for Springsteen Nebraska was it. Even more rocking numbers like "Johnny 99" are enhanced by the lack of production. If he sicked the East Street Band on this one, it wouldn't be nearly as powerful.
A thousand bands have since taken their cue from this record but have never come close. Despite all the good intentions of "The Rising", this one casts a longer shadow in my book. In terms of commercial Rock's bleaker moments, Nebraska is right up there with Neil Young's Tonight's The Night. Stark, harrowing & heartbreaking.
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of woe,
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)In my mind this album will always be associated with a chilling 1970s movie called Badlands. The opening track Nebraska reflects the plot of the film and refers to the "Badlands of Wyoming." This gloomy album must the blueprint of what later became known as "Americana" and even Alt Folk. Just a cursory glance at the lyrics reveals the following place names: Philly, Atlantic City, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, Johnstown, Perrinneville, Mahwah, Wyoming and Linden Town, enough to make Sufjan Stevens envious.
The melodious Atlantic City has a lilt to it whilst Nebraska and Mansion On The Hill are slow, stately and melancholy, but the tempo changes on the edgy Johnny 99 with its nervous guitar riffs, also present on State Trooper which connects thematically with Highway Patrolman, a moving tale of family troubles in slow tempo with a poignant chorus. An interesting observation on State Trooper is that it contains some of those yelps that Alan Vega of the psychobilly band Suicide made his trademark.
The gentle Used Cars and the fast-paced Open All Night, the only real rock song, contain vivid car and road imagery. The line "radios jammed up with gospel stations, lost souls callin' lost distance salvation" reminded me of a tongue-in-cheek country song by the Stones called Far Away Eyes on the Some Girls album. The haunting masterpiece My Father's House with its oneiric imagery explores youthful memories, a lament for what is lost and a yearning for love and reconciliation.
Reason To Believe concludes this bleak and grim exploration of the heartland on an optimistic, even spiritual note with the observation that ultimately people do find a reason to go on, echoing a similar sentiment on Atlantic City, that perhaps everything that dies someday comes back. This brooding album Nebraska is a gem created by an inspired blend of voice, guitars and harmonica. Plus the most gripping imagery and memorable poetic lyrics of course.
4.0 out of 5 stars Shows his true artistry and ability,
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)Bruce decided he had to make this album to further himself as an artist, as to not get stuck in a routine of writing typical pop songs. It took a lot of guts to do, especially because he knew that it wouldn't be an immediate big smash, and because he also knew that he could have easily remained in the same vein he had been in and sold more records at the time. In the book "Howling At The Moon," Walter Yetnikoff, who was President of CBS Records when Nebraska came out, described the first time he listened to it with Bruce. He said Bruce was very nervous, because he knew it wasn't a commercial album, and so Yetnikoff, who was drunk at the time, listened to it, and responded by calling the album the wrong name, "Yeah, I really like 'Omaha,' Bruce." A mistake in the name, but it was not a mistake to release this album. It allowed Bruce to explore darker and different areas of his craft, and to master them, while showing people that he is not the one-dimensional caricature that many make him out to be. Highlights on this album include: Nebraska (very scary), Atlantic City (it's interesting to listen to the original version and compare it to the version on the Live in NYC DVD; really one of his best songs ever), Highway Patrolman, State Trooper (his visceral screams are the highlight of the album), and Open All Night. You can really hear his influences on this one, including Dylan, Orbison, and Buddy Holly. It paved the way for him in the future by opening up his creativity, and for fans of typical "Born in the USA" Bruce, this is a realy eye-opener, and it might take a while to grow on you, but believe me it will!
4.0 out of 5 stars Taped it off the radio in 1982,
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)Maybe it's got something to do with my frame of mind at the time, but I really found myself able to enjoy Nebraska while not having much use for The Ghost Of Tom Joad past "Youngstown". My original tape of Nebraska came directly from radio when it first came out. I had to sacrifice one of my precious Beatles tapes for Nebraska, but I considered it a good trade. I was about to leave work as it was starting and wasn't going to make it home in time to tape it there, so I stuck the Beatles tape in and let it record on my boom box while I listened in the car on the trip home. I wound up sitting in the car and listening to the whole thing, then went to work to retrieve the tape the next day. I know people who absolutely hate Nebraska because it "depresses" them, (these people also consider BITUSA his best work,) but I've always just considered it moody. It's perfect for late night drives on dark and lonely highways, and that's where I was back in 1982. It always reminded me of a Johnny Cash album, something that hit home years later when Johnny recorded "Johnny 99".
4.0 out of 5 stars Sobering slice of Americana,
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)I bought this album about two weeks ago and it hasnt left the changer yet.From the chilling harmonica in nebraska's opening seconds you can tell this is something special.Springsteen's lyrics are so vivid you feel as if you know all these charecters or maybe thats why they're so vivid because we all do.From the title track based on fifties spree killer charles starkweather and caril fugate to the down and out auto worker on johnny ninety nine the content is pretty standard to most springsteen albums its the hopeless fealing he evokes with the bleak strings and stripped down recording that really puts the lump in your throat.If your not already a fan of bruce this is a great album to get a taste of just how fantastic a song writer he is.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!!!!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)An amazing piece of work... springsteen is simply stunning. I urge any true music fan to purchase this record.
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Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen (Audio CD - 1984)
CDN$ 12.99 CDN$ 8.72