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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
Bruce Springsteen fans from Asbury Park and beyond blog about The Boss
‘Springsteen’s Greatest Albums’ excerpt: The River
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The writers of this blog are not music critics, and they don't consider a second (or third, fourth or fifth) mortgage to be a perfectly reasonable course of action to pay for front-row tickets, but despite being a whole lot more middle aged than ...
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Bruce Springsteen
The writers of this blog are not music critics, and they don't consider a second (or third, fourth or fifth) mortgage to be a perfectly reasonable course of action to pay for front-row tickets, but despite being a whole lot more middle aged than they were when they first put \x34Born in the U.S.A.\x34 or \x34The River\x34 down on the turntable, still feels like Bruce has something -- OK, a lot of things -- to say about our country and the way we live our lives, things that not a lot of other artists are saying. And whether he's talking about the knife that can cut this pain from your heart, the house that's waiting for you to walk in or what that flag flying over the courthouse means, he's nailing down feelings that are so universal that they can raise your spirits and break your heart at the same time. Plus, letąs face it, the man rocks.
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By Pete Chianca
Dec. 10, 2012 11:15 a.m.



Every Monday through January we’ll be posting an exclusive excerpt from Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums, which analyzes eight of Springsteen’s most groundbreaking albums and then argues which one should be considered “the greatest.” This week, a selection from the chapter on The River:



The beauty of Springsteen’s approach with The River is the way it allowed him the canvass to juxtapose rambling rock ’n’ roll shout-outs with quieter studies of the human condition … and somehow make them work together toward an even greater whole.



Of course, even more jaunty songs like “Hungry Heart,” Springsteen’s first top-10 single, deal with real-life issues like isolation and abandonment, but several of The River’s tracks delve deeper and resonate more powerfully. The first of those, “Independence Day,” feels almost mournful as it kicks in to close the album’s otherwise raucous first side. A sort of mirror image of “Adam Raised a Cain,” its narrator half-sings with a tired resignation, offering a moving declaration of freedom from the darkness that can haunt fathers and sons.



It’s a similar darkness that can haunt husbands and wives as well, as we find out on the album’s classic, timeless title track. Based on Springsteen’s own sister, it’s the story of a teenage couple wed after an unplanned pregnancy – “no flowers, no wedding dress” – and the crushing fallout that follows.



The narrator’s desperation is underscored by Springsteen’s whining harmonica, and it eventually culminates in what may be Springsteen’s most disconsolate lyric: “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?” That line alone cements the album’s place in Springsteen’s canon.



You can download Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums at Amazon or Amazon UK. And if you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry: You can download free Kindle software here.

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