30 Songs, 2 Hours 28 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bruce Springsteen’s legacy didn’t need much burnishing, but his recent Raconteur Phase—starting with his 2016 memoir, Born to Run, and capped by his one-man show on Broadway, now entering its second year—offers a self-awareness that no star of his stature has ever even attempted. This companion piece to the Netflix special documenting his extremely sold-out run isn’t merely the collection of solo acoustic versions the tracklist may indicate; the songs themselves serve largely as illustrative examples punctuating long, eloquent recollections of his life and career over two and a half hours. (Intermission is whenever you hit pause.)

Stalwarts like “The Promised Land,” “Thunder Road,” and “The Rising” are as stirring stripped down as you’d imagine, but the performances themselves often feel secondary to their narrative framing. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” is an extended tribute to his friendship with late saxophonist and foil Clarence Clemons; the haunting, nearly a cappella “Born in the U.S.A.” that follows a story about meeting Born on the Fourth of July author Ron Kovic in the ’70s should end whatever remaining jingoistic misinterpretations of the song still remain. But the tracks connect beyond all belonging to one of contemporary music’s most vaunted discographies. How does a man who made his name and fortune desperately pleading to flee his death-trap/suicide-rap hometown reconcile living happily now in that same place? This poetic irony isn’t lost on him, and the journey makes for a good yarn.

That Springsteen is a masterful storyteller with superhuman command of a small theater audience isn’t a surprise. That he recalls his life so crisply and entertainingly, weaving it in and out of the context of songs well-known and a bit less well-known—and that this energy carries over so palpably to an audio recording of a film of an intimate live performance—might be. It is dramatic, it is theatrical, it earns and transcends the venue. He pokes fun at his own image and culturally ingrained iconography—at age 21, he’d never driven a car despite being on the verge of writing “Racing in the Street”—and somehow makes his tales of yearning feel universal despite being very much about his singular career and experience. But that’s the skill that got him here to begin with.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bruce Springsteen’s legacy didn’t need much burnishing, but his recent Raconteur Phase—starting with his 2016 memoir, Born to Run, and capped by his one-man show on Broadway, now entering its second year—offers a self-awareness that no star of his stature has ever even attempted. This companion piece to the Netflix special documenting his extremely sold-out run isn’t merely the collection of solo acoustic versions the tracklist may indicate; the songs themselves serve largely as illustrative examples punctuating long, eloquent recollections of his life and career over two and a half hours. (Intermission is whenever you hit pause.)

Stalwarts like “The Promised Land,” “Thunder Road,” and “The Rising” are as stirring stripped down as you’d imagine, but the performances themselves often feel secondary to their narrative framing. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” is an extended tribute to his friendship with late saxophonist and foil Clarence Clemons; the haunting, nearly a cappella “Born in the U.S.A.” that follows a story about meeting Born on the Fourth of July author Ron Kovic in the ’70s should end whatever remaining jingoistic misinterpretations of the song still remain. But the tracks connect beyond all belonging to one of contemporary music’s most vaunted discographies. How does a man who made his name and fortune desperately pleading to flee his death-trap/suicide-rap hometown reconcile living happily now in that same place? This poetic irony isn’t lost on him, and the journey makes for a good yarn.

That Springsteen is a masterful storyteller with superhuman command of a small theater audience isn’t a surprise. That he recalls his life so crisply and entertainingly, weaving it in and out of the context of songs well-known and a bit less well-known—and that this energy carries over so palpably to an audio recording of a film of an intimate live performance—might be. It is dramatic, it is theatrical, it earns and transcends the venue. He pokes fun at his own image and culturally ingrained iconography—at age 21, he’d never driven a car despite being on the verge of writing “Racing in the Street”—and somehow makes his tales of yearning feel universal despite being very much about his singular career and experience. But that’s the skill that got him here to begin with.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes
TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.0 out of 5
44 Ratings
44 Ratings
Lookin4Quality ,

The Boss at his best

Unique, funny, intimate, heart-breaking, inspiring, acoustic, rock n' roll.

MCD001 ,

Feels like throwing cases of tea into the harbor!

This is not a review about Bruce’sk political history and beliefs! I

This is about the music that runs through me as I listen, and the way it makes me feel.
This album is for those few, true fans of real, pure, meaningful, proud and simple American Rock and Roll. Plus each classic piece’s origin explained straight by the artist who shows you how the music makes feel by playing it for you!

golfstud ,

Tour de force

Interesting that most of the early reviews are before the soundtrack dropped. I saw the live show in March of 2018 and now have listened to this. Quick review of Springsteen on Broadway: The 1st have of the show is about him, the 2nd half is about us. US. Some of the songs feel emotionally different and raw. His storytelling is masterful, timing great. Even if not a fan, watch and listen for the stories. This reminds me of some of the great work Johnny Cash did late in his life. Raw and heartfelt. An artist searching for another way to tell his/her story. Brilliant regardless of how you might feel about his politics, an artist with a point of view and a story to tell. Give it a listen, better still watch the show.

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