There are gaggles of music websites similar to Vocals On Top on the web each with their own distinct set of articles, tastes and styles. Some are bad, some are lazy, some are far better than this site but it is nice to see artists getting well deserved coverage. I hope VOT serves this purpose well. One of the finer music websites I have found is RiffRaf.net, with similar tastes to mine and more contributors and more in-depth coverage I am not ashamed to say it is better than VOT.
So if you can’t beat them; steal their ideas, right? So this premise I have stolen from the stellar RiffRaf.net website, I’m even stealing the format. They take an artist and give a unique look at their top 5 albums. They have done this for one of my favorites in Bruce Springsteen and I’m going to start doing this idea by giving my take on my top 5 Springsteen records.
First of all, here is a link to the RiffRaf article on the top 5 Springsteen albums: http://www.riffraf.net/2014/01/top-five-bruce-springsteen-albums/
You should check out that list before mine, then tell each one of us whose list you agree with more, or better yet submit your own list. Here is my 5, take it or leave it.
#1 Album: Born To Run
Stand-out tracks: “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” “Jungleland” “Thunder Road”
The obvious masterpiece of Springsteen’s catalog, Born To Run shows an artist so hungry to rule the world that you can feel it in each note. The intensity on songs like “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” are nearly unparalleled as studio tracks, many times studio tracks can be too careful and lose their feeling, not here. This is clearly one of the most ambitious records ever and it lived up to expectations and possibilities
#2 Album: Born In The U.S.A.
Stand-out tracks: “I’m Goin’ Down” “Cover Me” “Glory Days”
Shunned by RiffRaf’s list, I still embrace the massively popular album. Surely it is for “Dancing In The Dark” “Born In The U.S.A.” and “My Hometown” right? Not at all. Those tracks are great but are horribly overplayed on the radio. There are amazing gems here that get far less radio play like the brilliant “Cover Me,” the intense “Working on the Highway” and my personal favorite “I’m Goin’ Down.” I can still stomach the overplayed songs as well but I love listening for the hidden album gems on this one.
#3 Album: Darkness on the Edge of Town
Stand-out tracks: “Badlands” “Adam Raised A Cain” “Candy’s Room”
Featuring some of Springsteen’s most distinct work in songs like “Adam Raised A Cain” and “Candy’s Room” he stretched his limits even further and created a little bit quieter than Born To Run epic album. There are some ominous moments here but also the light horns that made his earlier work so great. It is a solid transition record for what his next decade of records would be like.
#4 Album: The River
Stand-out tracks: “Out In The Street” “The River” “Cadillac Ranch”
Bruce seemed to have released the floodgates with The River, a sprawling double album that touched on all the styles of his previous records and put together a bunch of well written songs. Slow and brooding or rocking and fun, it is all here. It is almost too much, if condensed into a single album and the focus narrowed a bit it might have been his best album ever.
#5 Album: The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle
Stand-out tracks: “4th of July Ashbury Park (Sandy)” “Rosalita” “New York City Serenade”
Springsteen’s second record shows him with a fire in his belly that simply can’t be heard after his first three records. This album in particular seems to capture a time in Springsteen’s youth where things were magic in so many ways. It works as a time machine where you feel like you’re riding shotgun with Bruce back in 1973. This album just barely nosed out Nebraska for the #5 spot.
A special thanks to RiffRaf.net for the idea to do this.