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Album review

Bruce Springsteen

This – a collection of 21 previously-unreleased songs – is an album which puts its arm around your shoulder and tells you it knows how you feel. Its rich, melancholic undertones resonate right from the word go, chords tuning and twanging with your feelings and letting you know right away that hey, we’ve all been there. This album has a course to follow, charting a life from blue collar America from youth to acceptance to rebellion and finally, discovery – and one story to tell – that of America’s wakening up to itself and its problems.
Of this two-CD set, its creator has said that it “could have/should have been released after Born To Run and before the collection of songs that Darkness on the Edge of Town became.” Springsteen has always seemed to be threatening to write The Great American Novel, with his themes of hard work and wanting to get out of your situation. Despite this being a compilation of songs from some 35 years ago, he may have actually succeeded. Blue-collar hopes and dreams, loves and lust and the subliminal minutiae of everyday life are laid bare here with tunefulness, tact and grace.