Tuesday, November 20, 2012

151 Darknes of the Edge of Town. Oh him again

Album: Darkness of the Edge of Town
Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Genre: Rock
Year: 1978

  1. Badlands
  2. Adam Raised a Cain
  3. Something in the Night
  4. Candy's Room
  5. Racing in the Street
  6. The Promised Land
  7. Factory
  8. Streets of Fire
  9. Prove It All Night
  10. Darkness on the Edge of Town

There's no mistaking Springsteen's voice. I put this on knowing it was my next lesson without really paying attention to who it was but as soon as I heard the first vocal I knew it was Bruce. But while I could identify the who immediately I couldn't put my finger on the when. I have trouble dating Springsteen and would have guessed this was recorded anywhere from 1975 to 1990. It's got the same production standards and values as all of his material which seems to give it a timeless quality. Springsteen is easier to place in a location than on a chronology.

It's also not very interesting. I've tried to get into Bruce but struggled in the past. I respect his voice and I love his band (especially Silvio Dante) but as a songwriter I find he doesn't connect with me at all.

It probably doesn't help that Darkness at the Edge of Town is an album that lacked any strong singles. It's an attempt to put together a cohesive album rather than a bunch of songs which prop up a few hits. Apparently Darkness rewards the listener who sits down with the lyrics and ingests the album as a whole entity with ongoing themes. It certainly kicks up the regular Springsteen obsessions with working class America and driving and he went into it with a plan beyond just clearing out the songs he had lying around. If you approach this album looking for a statement about New Jersey and late seventies American life you will probably be rewarded but do you need to be? Call me cynical and callow if you like but I just don't care. I'm sure there were lots of trials and tribulations faced by people in 1970's NJ, many of them involving vehicles, but it's not something I'm interested in. I admire a thematic approach to album construction but that doesn't mean I need to hear it.

Darkness at the Edge of Town is another album which hasn't managed to make me a Springsteen convert. It's not on the "Please Lord never make me listen to that again" but it's definitely not something I'm going to actively seek out in the future. I'm happy to leave Springsteen and his tight band to someone else.

Influenced by: New Jersey and cars
Influenced: Future Bruce

Highlight: The Promised Land
Lowlight: Prove it all night

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "I listen to this album when I'm depressed, and I feel MUCH worse."

-There is a lot of complaint about this album being too dark. People need to listen to more music if they think this album is dark.

So do you keep this album nearby or would you rather leave it at the edge of town? Let me know below.

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