Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2011
Now stepping back five years from Tunnel of Love before synthesizers were invented (or, you know, at least not as much as a blatant ear-sore as they were in the 80s, the Boss’ usage aside) and the Boss recorded a best selling album in his bedroom like all the popular young bands do today. Thus, it’s raw and that’s what any good album should be on some level. It feels real, like a guy in a room with these unadorned songs that sell themselves because the Boss knows how to write a goddamned song. Like “Atlantic City.” The Hold Steady covered this song, and yeah it’s pretty good and kind of perfectly suited for the Hold Steady (and shows that with electric guitars and a full band, these songs could really scorch) and despite the fact that they’re my favorite band, the intimacy Springsteen brings to this song about a dude bout to join the mob and living it up for at least one night with his lady under the bright lights of the titular burg. The songs are all pretty sad, about death, about driving in cars, and working man’s blues. Pretty rad move to use your success to put out an album of songs recorded for the price of the portastudio.
Here's the Hold Steady's rippin' cover:
And then you know, the original: