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Devils And Dust (5.1/Stereo) DualDisc
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
|1. Devils & Dust|
|2. All The Way Home|
|4. Long Time Comin'|
|5. Black Cowboys|
|6. Maria's Bed|
|7. Silver Palomino|
|8. Jesus Was an Only Son|
|10. The Hitter|
|11. All I'm Thinkin' About|
|12. Matamoras Banks|
Dual disc pressing. 2005 album from the singer, songwriter and Rock icon, his first studio album since the September 11th-themed, double-platinum certified The Rising (2002). Two of the album's songs, 'The Hitter' and 'Long Time Comin', were actually written and performed on The Ghost Of Tom Joad tour. On the DVD side of this Dual Disc is a special Devils & Dust film by noted photographer and filmmaker Danny Clinch, including rare, never-before-seen acoustic performances of 'Devils & Dust', 'Long Time Comin', 'Reno', 'All I'm Thinkin' About' and 'Matamoras Banks' plus Bruce's personal introductions to the tracks. Columbia.
The last time Bruce Springsteen ventured West for inspiration, the result was the desolate, Nebraska, and its tales of serial killers and used cars. On his first record in three years, Springsteen navigates barren deserts and Old West war fields for a dozen forlorn songs that co-star the artist and his acoustic guitar. Where he has always had a knack for carving out the hooks and melodies that make each journey memorable, this time around Springsteen relies on the lyrics to carry the tune, including desperate tales of tragedy, heartbreak, and lust with a Latino twist, like the boxer coming home ("The Hitter"), a distressing border crossing incident ("Matamoros Banks") and the Nevada hooker with good intentions ("Reno," which led to the warning sticker "Adult Imagery"). With no E Street Band in the mix, the album is decorated with horns and strings and Springsteens novel falsetto on two his best efforts, "Maria's Bed," where the narrator comes home to his woman after forty nights on the road, and the fast-picking "All I'm Thinkin' About," where he has more than Carolina on his mind. A decade from now this will be an underrated record in the Springsteen chronicles. --Scott Holter
The Best of Bruce
by guest editor Steve Perry
Steve is the Editor in Chief of City Pages Newspaper in Minneapolis, MN
The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle (1973)
After a folk-rockish debut album that bubbled with ideas and dense lyrical play, this is where Springsteen began to find his voice as a rocker and as a songwriter. The prisoner-of-love romanticism of "Rosalita" and "Incident on 57th Street" hinted at what was coming, and this early version of the E Street Band--jazzier and more spare than later versions, thanks largely to David Sancious's piano--sounds great, if a little ragged, these many years later.
Born to Run (1975) and Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)
These two records, which belong on any compilation of the top 100 rock albums of all time, sketched the themes that he would spend his whole career chasing, and defined the expectations fans would bring to his records ever after. The first chords of "Born to Run" sounded like freedom itself the first time I heard them on the radio, and the album lived up to them. "Thunder Road" is still the greatest rock & roll love song anyone's ever written. The record sounded so big and impassioned and propulsive it was easy to miss the dread running underneath it. Darkness... put the dread front and center. There are more of his best songs here than anywhere else, even if the sound is muddy and leaden at times.
After The River (the best record that didn't make this list) and the ensuing tour answered his rock & roll prayers--he was a big star now, not just a perennial critics' favorite--Springsteen holed up in a rented house on the Jersey shore, where he wrote these songs and sang them into a four-track recorder in his living room. The tape was supposed to be a demo for the band, but after several false tries he concluded that the tape he'd been carrying around in his pocket was the record. Quiet and bleak, Nebraska nonetheless grabbed you by the collar and made you listen as surely as his rock & roll records ever had.
Tunnel of Love (1987)
The glare and hubbub surrounding the Born in the USA tour (the tour was great--the record itself overrated) made him pull back again, this time to write a cycle of songs about love and fear and self-doubt. After this, Springsteen's first marriage broke up, and he started a family with Patti Scialfa, disappearing for the better part of 10 years, notwithstanding the pair of not-bad, just-disappointing albums he released in 1992, Human Touch and Lucky Town.
The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995)
Some call it Nebraska II, but his second acoustic album was not a repeat of his first--the characters and settings had changed, and their circumstances were more expressly desperate, and social--though it did share the same interest in what happens to people whose isolation or marginal status renders them invisible.
The Rising (2002)
Everybody, including Springsteen, seemed to think it was a record about 9/11, but the subject was broader--death and loss as seen from more than halfway down life's road. Dave Marsh nailed it: "A middle-aged man confronts death and chooses life." Brendan O'Brien's production sounds great.
--This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
But as one delves deeper into DD you start to realize that this is Springsteen's lightest record in years. Songs such as Long Time Coming and All I'm Thinkng About jump off the disk with a light briskness and pop sensibility front and centre.
The end result is DD is probably Springsteen's must accessible acoustic work. Even the meaty issues presented in the title track are simplified into a very digestable chorus that after a few listens has a way of placing itself right into your daily hummings of your standard three minute pop hit.
But make no mistake, Bruce doesn't enter a sniff into Backstreet Boy land, but he does add a nice pop sensiblity to his dark tales on DD that allow a listener to connect to this record for the simply strumming of the acoustic guitars and sing along quality of the chorus'.
Now not all the tunes here are that accessible. Reno for example is a straight telling of a night with a prostitute that requires a full concentration on the lyrics to grasp the emptiness Springsteen tries to present. Thankfully though this record has enough songs to counter-balance those darker tales.
In the past when Springsteen has gone acoustic, personally I was unable to consistently listen to those records (Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad) because while impressive, the records had a limited amount of a word called fun on them. On DD Sprinsteen doesn't make that mistake while maintaining a high level of lyricism that has defined his work.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
First, this album is not exactly analagous to Tom Joad and Nebraska sonically. Though it doesn't sound a thing like Tunnel of Love it is similar in that the arrangements are sparse but electric guitars and big drums show up from time to time. There are a couple of outright rockers.
Many of the stories are an extension of Tom Joad and take place in the American Southwest, but there is enough variety to keep it from being a sequel. Virtually every song features people dealing with difficult circumstances, and there is little along triumph and celebration along the way. From the main character in "All the Way Home" looking for romantic redemption to the man in "Reno" seeking comfort in the embrace of a prostitute after true love failed him ("Somehow all you ever need's, never really quite enough you know/You and I, Maria, we learned it's so"), Devils and Dust is filled with people dealing with disillusionment and broken dreams. You may not retreat, you may not surrender, but that doesn't guarantee you'll win, either.
Fans of Springsteen's underrated guitar playing will be treated to his best acoustic rhythm playing to date. There may not be any screaming Esquire leads or flashy licks, but Devils and Dust is filled with melodic finger picking and other rhythm parts that could carry the songs by themselves.
To make a film analogy, this album has something in common with Sin City. For those who love grim and gritty film noir Sin City is a masterpiece, but anyone without a strong stomach would be automatically turned off by it's very nature. That, in essence, is the story of Devils and Dust. If you love Springsteen the songwriter and see the beauty and power of examining the dark side of life, Devils and Dust is a can't-miss prospect. If you want Dancing in the Dark or Hungry Heart, this isn't for you. It doesn't dimish the album in any way, it simply makes it what it is.
The album starts off strong with the title track, "Devils & Dust." This song is somewhat political (although the album as a whole is not). Bruce sings of a war in which both sides bitterly fight each other to the death-all supposedly in God's name. The album's producer, Brenden O'Brien, added some good extras to the musical arrangement for this song. You hear great piano playing and the electronic beats are perfectly timed! The next track, "All The Way Home," is equally well done. Bruce's intonation and voice are in fine shape here. Another song to look out for on this CD is entitled "Reno." Here Bruce sings about very graphic sexual relationships involving cheating and more. The song "Long Time Comin'" sports a fiddle and an awesome steel guitar! This song is a bit complicated. It has an element that is something practically anyone can relate to: Bruce sings of a person who is promising never to make a mess of things in life again. (Note: Bruce uses a strong word in this song; parents may want to make a note of this.) Nevertheless, "Long Time Comin'" is also a song about a happy event in life: the expected birth of a newborn child. AND, how's about these lines: as he and his woman lie together in bed, Bruce sings "I reach `neath your shirt, lay my hands across your belly; And feel another one kicking inside."
A particularly powerful song that has people wide awake-already-is entitled "The Hitter." Here Bruce sings of a professional boxer who gets paid to beat men up for sport. The boxer tries to explain to his mother his upsetting, secluded way of life. On the surface this is exactly what the song is about; but on another level Bruce is really singing about how rough life is and how particularly brutal and cruel people are to each other in this world. The ending lyric simply states that this horror is just the plain old fact of life: "Understand, in the end, Ma, every man plays the game/ If you know one different, then speak out his name." I especially liked the song entitled "Jesus Was an Only Son." This emotional, frank song reveals a mother's thoughts about the only child she ever had. Very well done! "All I'm Thinkin' About," with Bruce singing falsetto to add to the emotional impact of the song, is a stunning love ballad that you will be fond of right away! The CD ends with the incredible emotional song "Matamoros Banks." "Matamoros Banks" is essentially an appeal for remembrance by an illegal immigrant who attempts to cross the Rio Grande but fails tragically resulting in death. I can't help but feel sympathy for people abused in other countries who so desperately want to come to live in America when I hear this song. Bruce does this so well; you really feel a true, deep pity and sorrow for the immigrant.
As I noted before, this is a "dual disc" CD. There are TWO sides that play-the first side has 12 CD tracks; the reverse has DVD features. There are five DVD tracks which were recorded live. The DVD side of the disc highlights Bruce's between-song commentary. This offers the listener/viewer an excellent sense of Bruce's perspective. Which side you choose first is up to you; both offer great value. However, if you listen to the CD side first and then the DVD side however you may want to then go back to the CD side to listen again to the songs Bruce talks about so you can get even more out of these songs.
All in all, Bruce Springsteen puts out here an excellent artistic collection of songs that is also, in its uniquely beautiful way, positively electric! And NOPE, with this beautiful album I didn't need the E Street band for Bruce to reach me!
I would highly recommend this CD to ANY Bruce Springsteen fan as well as fans of great songs with fantastic musical arrangements that deal with life-the way it really is. Great job, Bruce!
Yes, it is spare, when compared to some of the full-bodied arrangements of the E Street Band, but it's NOT just Bruce and a guitar, like "Nebraska".
Nor is it as monotonous and bleak as "The Ghost of Tom Joad". Not even close.
In fact, many songs have full guitar-bass-drums back-ups, with synths, horns and back-up vocals sprinkled throughout the entire disc. Many are up-tempo as well.
It's a serious and heavy record, but it has its' foot-stomping moments here and there. In the same way, "Nebraska" has a zippy tune or two, so does this. It most definitely moves.
What makes this more of a nakedly "confessional" album is not that Bruce is opening himself up, revealing more of himself. He instead is immersing himself in various other characters, and brings them breathtakingly alive in each of his songs...little vignettes...little movies.
Many songs have "protagonists", just like a novel or a film. Bruce occupies each character, and THEN opens them for us to examine, to experience. He sings in different "voices", one half-spoken, one more "southern", another in falsetto...all according to the person he's singing about. Or more correctly, the voice of the character singing.
Many things will be written about "Reno", but I guarantee you'll be fixated with his tale of a man and a hooker. Shoot...the lyrics read like a tight little short story.
You'll be haunted by "Matamoros Bank", one of the several songs dealing, either directly or indirectly, with the plight of immigrants in the U.S. He had covered this area before in Joad's "Across The Border" but nothing like this.
You'll smile when the "band" kicks in on "Maria's Bed", sort of like Bruce goosing the accelerator on a beat-up pick-up truck, barrelling down some dusty back road. He's telling you a story while you sit there in the passenger's seats, grinning from ear to ear.
Each song deserves a separate analysis or their own individual recognition here (and they get a lot of print and praise in the other reviews), but I think you'd be better off, if you at all interested in the album, to go ahead and just get it without reading too many more of these things.
Discover it yourself. It's the type of album where each listener will find all sorts of hidden treasures & unexpected pleasures.
I'll tell you, even for this Springsteen fan, I was quietly impressed. Borderline astonished.
From the opening chords of the political title track, anyone familiar with Springsteen will see they are in for an adventure filled with sparse production and his signature rustic imagery. His first such album since 1995's underrated "The Ghost of Tom Joad," the disc contains a pair of tracks he performed on his tour in support of that album, "The Hitter" and "Long Time Comin'". The latter is a tale of a conflicted boxer who is more vulnerable than he appears, while the former is a feel-good affair with festive violins and positive lyrics that is hard to shake from memory.
"Maria's Bed" and "All The Way Home" are both just as instantly enjoyable for their lively arrangements that make you want to put them on full blast and repeat. The latter, which was actually penned in 1991 for Southside Johnny's "Better Days" album, renders lyrics that show that the beauty of growing older is the wisdom that comes from it.
To be sure, there is subject matter present on the album that is not so sugary. "Silver Palomino," for instance, finds a 13 year-old reflecting on the death of his mother, and "Jesus Was An Only Son" recounts Christ's crucifixion with particular emphasis on the perspective of Mary and her sacrifice. "Metamoros Banks," however, is the set's ultimate highlight, with its story of a Mexican who perishes in his desperation to flee to America.
With "Devils and Dust," Springsteen is in fine form. The characters he has created and the empathy he displays for them is stronger than it has ever been. Through his music, the voice of America's backbone, as well as that of those who yearn to be part of it, has found a home once again.
All copies of the album utilize new DualDisc technology, with a DVD portion on the flipside of the disc with 5 acoustic performances and insightful interview footage. It should also be noted that "Reno" contains explicit imagery and should not be exposed to those underage.
As for the album it's great, & really grows on you after a while as well. I'd say it's up there with The Rising & Born in the USA, but if you're more a fan of Springsteen's Born in the USA work & nothing else then don't buy this because it is nothing like that album but if you're a big Springsteen fan then buy this album as it is one of his best!!!!