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Rock - Released December 3, 2014 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released June 4, 1984 | Columbia

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Pop/Rock - Released November 16, 2010 | Columbia

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Following Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen was proclaimed the savior of rock & roll classicism; it was hype that threatened to derail his career. In a bitter lawsuit with his former manager, he was locked out of a studio for two years but continued writing songs at fever pitch and rehearsing them on a farm in rural New Jersey. Some of these tunes -- composed during an economic recession -- reflect the tension between following one's dreams and her/his responsibilities. Still others reveal the deep influence of early rock & roll on Springsteen. When he was finally able to record, he cut enough material for four albums, and then pared it down to one. Darkness on the Edge of Town proved that Springsteen was no mere revivalist. The album was assembled from more sparsely produced, claustrophobic, and desperate "sound picture" songs, about lives broken by work, family and perceived societal obligations, and are haunted by questions of "what if?" They were a world away from the epic, busting-out-for-freedom maximalist tracks found on Born to Run. The Promise collects 21 unreleased songs written (and mostly) recorded between 1976 and 1978. They offer an aural view as to what might have been had Springsteen been able to record immediately after Born to Run. While some lyric themes here reflect the brokenness and hard choices found on Darkness, others are substantially more triumphant in their worldview; and musically, all the songs here contain more substantially production. These selections also lack the knife-edge, searing, angry guitar that saturates Darkness. Included are his versions of singles farmed out to other artists -- "Because the Night" (and while this version is terrific, it means something else in the end; Patti Smith's version remains definitive), the gritty, soulful "Fire," which eventually given to the Pointer Sisters who scored big with their classy version. The galloping "Gotta Get That Feeling" summons Jack Nietszche's production ears with its big mariachi brass. This tune and numerous others contain open homages to Phil Spector's "sha-na-na-na" choruses. Clarence Clemons' saxophone is much more prevalent on the songs of The Promise than it is on Darkness. His meat-and-potatoes tone adds heft and groove to these selctions. "Ain't Good Enough for You" is pure handclap, call-and-response, verse and chorus, approaching a doo wop celebration. The poignant love poetry in "The Brokenhearted" and "Spanish Eyes" could have been written by Doc Pomus, and reveals the influence of Jerry Leiber's "Spanish Harlem." "Candy's Boy" begins lyrically in the same place as "Candy's Room," but is a very different song melodically and thematically. "Racing in the Street" features different words; David Lindley's violin makes the track a bit less personal, more anthemic; it's absent the shadow of doubt that makes the Darkness version so devastating emotionally. "Come On (Let's Go Tonight)" is an early version of "Factory." "The Promise" is the only cut that might have added something to Darkness that isn't already there. Its sense of bewilderment, betrayal, uncertainty, and regret is total. That said, the addition of strings draws it outside Darkness' skeletal purview, underscoring the fact that Darkness is perfect as it is. The Promise stands on its own as a great Bruce Springsteen record; it feels finished, focused, and above all, offers definitive proof that Springsteen was even at that early date, one of the greatest rock and pop songwriters America had to offer. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released July 30, 2002 | Columbia

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Rock - Released August 25, 1975 | Columbia

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Rock - Released March 31, 1992 | Columbia

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Pop/Rock - Released June 2, 1978 | Columbia

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Rock - Released March 31, 1992 | Columbia

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Rock - Released March 6, 2012 | Columbia

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Heavy lies the crown on Bruce Springsteen's head. Alone among his generation -- or any subsequent generation, actually -- he has shouldered the burden of telling the stories of the downtrodden in the new millennium, a class whose numbers increase by the year, a fact that weighs on Springsteen throughout 2012's Wrecking Ball. Such heavy-hearted rumination is not unusual for the Boss. Ever since The Rising, his 2002 return to action, a record deliberately tailored to address the lingering anger and sorrow from 9/11, Springsteen has eschewed the frivolous in favor of the weighty, escalating his dry, dusty folk and operatic rock in tandem, all in hopes of pushing the plight of the forgotten into public consciousness. Each of his five albums since The Rising have been tailored for the specific political moment -- Devils & Dust ruminated over forgotten Americans in the wake of the Iraq war; We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions was an election year rallying call; Magic struggled to find meaning in these hard times; Working on a Dream saw hope in the dawning days of Obama -- and it’s no mistake that Wrecking Ball fuses elements of all four into an election year state of the union: Bruce is taking stock of where we are and how we’ve gotten here, urging us to push forward. If that sounds a bit haughty, it also plays that way. Springsteen has systematically removed any element of fun -- "Mary’s Place" is the only original in the past decade that could be called a party song -- along with all the romance or any element of confessional songwriting. He has adopted the mantle of the troubadour and oral historian, telling tales of the forgotten and punctuating them with rallying calls to action. Wrecking Ball contains more of the latter than any of its predecessors, summoning the masses to rise up against fatcat bankers set to singalongs lifted from Seeger. There's an unshakable collectivist hootenanny feel on Wrecking Ball, not to mention allusions to gospel including a borrowed refrain from "This Train," but Springsteen takes pains to have the music feel modern, inviting Tom Morello to do aural paintings with his guitar, threading some trip-hop rhythms into the mix, and finding space for a guest rap on "Rocky Ground." As admirable as the intent is, the splices between old-fashioned folk protests and dour modernity become too apparent, possibly because there's so little room to breathe on the album -- the last recorded appearance of Clarence Clemons helps lift "Land of Hope and Dreams" above the rest -- possibly because the message has been placed before the music. Springsteen is so focused on preaching against creeping inequality in the U.S. that he's wound up honing his words and not his music, letting the big-footed stomps and melancholy strumming play second fiddle to the stories. Consequently, Wrecking Ball feels cumbersome and top heavy, Springsteen sacrificing impassioned rage in favor of explaining his intentions too clearly. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 5, 1973 | Columbia

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Rock - Released April 25, 2006 | Columbia

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Rock - Released September 30, 1982 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released November 9, 1973 | Columbia

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Rock - Released April 22, 2014 | Columbia

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Outtakes from an album that's essentially a collection of leftovers aren't necessarily an enticing prospect but Bruce Springsteen's American Beauty -- an exclusive EP released for Record Store Day 2014, just a few months after the High Hopes LP; it wound up available digitally after its vinyl debut -- doesn't exactly feel like an afterthought. Maybe that's due to High Hopes not quite feeling as cohesive as the average Springsteen album. A collection of older tracks, covers, and songs that didn't fit a concept, there was an appealing shagginess to High Hopes, and so is the case with American Beauty. Make no mistake, its four songs also have the highly buffed sheen so typical of latter-day Bruce -- he likes what the studio can do -- but underneath that gloss is a quartet of oddities. The title song is slightly over-produced, relying on insistent fist-pumping rhythms underscored by synths; "Mary Mary" is a sober yet sweet, intimate love song that slowly builds in intensity; "Hurry Up Sundown" is a ringing anthem grounded in '60s pop delivered with the bombast of the '80s, the kind of thing that keeps Little Steven's Underground Garage in business; "Hey Blue Eyes" is a mournful acoustic folk ballad, suitable for Devils & Dust. Only four songs but there's something to suit every kind of Springsteen fan, and it's an appropriate coda to a record that also pleased all his constituencies while satisfying none. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 27, 2009 | Columbia

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From its bright, brittle production to its tossed-off postage stamp cover art, Working on a Dream is in every respect a companion piece to Magic, an album that's merely a set of songs, both sprawling and deliberately small, songs that don't necessarily tackle any one major theme but all add up to a portrait of their time. Magic chronicled the dog days of Bush where Working on a Dream is designed as a keynote to the Obama age, released just a week after the inauguration of the U.S.'s 44th president and not coincidentally containing not a little optimism within its 13 tracks. This sense of hope is a tonic to the despair that crept into the margins of Magic but it's easy to posit Working on a Dream as pure positivity, which isn't exactly true: a hangover from W lingers, most vividly in the broken spirit of "The Wrestler," and Bruce mourning departed E Street Band member Danny Federici with "The Last Carnival." Springsteen peppers his tribute with images recalling the early days of the E Street Band but saves a revival of their wild, woolly sound for the opening "Outlaw Pete," a cavernous, circular, comical epic reminiscent of Springsteen's unwieldy portraits of rats on the Jersey Shore. "Outlaw Pete" is Working on a Dream at its best, playing like nothing less than The E Street Shuffle as reflected and refracted through Arcade Fire's naked hero worship, casually highlighting how producer Brendan O'Brien has gently nudged the Boss toward new musical avenues. Many of these new sounds are drawn from the past, often feeling informed by Little Steven's Underground Garage -- Van Zandt and Nils Lofgren's guitars chime like the Byrds; the band knocks out a tough little blues number on "Good Eye"; and Springsteen shows a knack for pure pop on "Surprise, Surprise" and indulges his ever-increasing Brian Wilson fascination on "This Life," whose percolating organs and harmonies rival the High Llamas. All this rests nicely alongside the Boss' trademarks -- galloping rockers that fill a stadium ("My Lucky Day") and their polar opposite, his intimate acoustic tunes ("Tomorrow Never Knows") -- which all make Working on a Dream read like a rich, inventive, musical album...which it is, to an extent. The ideas and intent are there, but the album is hampered slightly by the overall modesty of Springsteen's writing -- by and large, these are small-scale songs and feel that way -- and hurt significantly by the precise, digital production that muffles the music's imagination and impact. A large part of Springsteen's appeal has always been how the E Street Band has sounded as big and open as his heart, but Working on a Dream, like Magic before it, has a production that feels tiny and constrained even as it is layered with extraneous details. It's possible to listen around this production and hear the modest charms of the songs, but the album would be better if the sound matched the sentiment. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Rock - Released December 14, 2018 | Columbia

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A few months after the release of his autobiography Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen took to the stage of the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York for a number of stunning concerts. The Boss performs tracks from his extensive music career acoustically on guitar and piano, intertwining his compositions with personal anecdotes. The result is this intense and unfiltered live performance, including the stripped-back and powerful versions of tracks from his albums Greetings from Asbury Park, Born in the U.S.A., Nebraska, Tracks, Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, Tunnel of Love, Magic, The Rising and Wrecking Ball … It was through these albums that the New Jersey kid became an icon, both musically and ideologically. Following in the footsteps of his idol Bob Dylan, Springsteen remains one of the most remarkable representatives of America’s powerless, providing poignant snapshots into the harsh reality of the crumpled starred flag and the supposed American Dream. The stripped-back versions of his hits Thunder Road, The Promised Land, Born in the U.S.A., Dancing in the Dark, Land of Hope and Dreams and of course Born to Run give a new perspective to a repertoire that we know so very well but never grow tired of. There’s a reason why he’s called the Boss… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released October 16, 2015 | Columbia - Legacy

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Rock - Released November 1, 2018 | Columbia - Legacy

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Rock - Released April 12, 1993 | Columbia

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During the 1990s and 2000s, all the stars paraded in front of the cameras of MTV to perform live acoustic. From Oasis to Jay-Z, not forgetting Nirvana, Neil Young, Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, Hole, Alice In Chains, Maxwell or even Kiss, everyone came to prove that by unplugging the amps they can still hold their own... Bruce Springsteen could hardly avoid this challenge. On September 22, 1992, at Warner Hollywood Studios in Los Angeles, while he was about to start his tour Human Touch/Lucky Town without the then separate E Street Band, he boxed up his own MTV Unplugged. Apart from the Boss cheated: his unplugged is in fact… plugged in! It begins with an acoustic of Red Headed Woman but the twelve tracks that follow are very much electric. Eight of them come from Human Touch and Lucky Town which he published on the same day, March 31, 1992 (two honest albums but not among his most impressive). The classics Atlantic City (from Nebraska), Darkness on the Edge of Town (from the eponymous album) and Thunder Road (from Born To Run) complete the track listing of this solid live album, though this record is probably reserved for hardcore Bruce Springsteen fans. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Rock - Released November 10, 1986 | Columbia - Legacy

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