18 Tracks (1999)

0 Stars

1. Growin' Up 2. Seaside Bar Song 3. Rendezvous 4. Hearts of Stone 5. Where the Bands Are 6. Loose Ends 7. I Wanna Be with You 8. Born in the U.S.A. 9. My Love Will Not Let You Down 10.Lion's Den 11.Pink Cadillac 12.Janey Don't You Lose Heart 13.Sad Eyes 14.Part Man, Part Monkey 15.Trouble River 16.Brothers Under the Bridge 17.The Fever 18.The Promise


In 2010, John Mellencamp wrote a scathing commentary on how the internet had killed the music industry. Without going into too many specifics of the article, Mellencamp talked about all of the negative things and changes that had spawned in the last decade that had rocked his particular world (no pun intended). Sadly, Mellencamp was dead wrong. The internet didn't kill the music industry, the music industry killed the music industry. Anyone who wants a case study need not look further than this "album" that came out shortly before the internet began to change how things worked in the business.

Springsteen had just released the epic, 66 song box set Tracks that consisted entirely of unreleased music, all superb. What this package attempted to do, was to put out a "sampler" of that album. This fails in many ways. First, you can't really cherry pick when all of the 66 songs were as outstanding as those were. There is too much to choose from, and using any sort of "random number generator" would be all that you could use to justify what would go on a limited sampler such as this.

But here's the real sin. This has three unreleased songs that were not on the original Tracks box set. Why?? These songs certainly could have "fit" when each disc can hold 80 minutes of music. No, the reason was that someone, somewhere at Columbia Records (we can only hope that it was not The Boss himself) decided that they could easily rip off the public by making them buy another full length cd for only 3 songs. This is the exact kind of greed that prompted people to "steal" music once technology evolved to where the sort of thing became possible. Fortunately, it soon became possible to buy only certain songs (some of the time) and consumers weren't forced to pay for an entire album, but nobody in the record industry was every happy about that.

This album is nothing more than an example of corporate greed. Totally unnecessary and a total kick-in-the-face for the hard working, buying consumer.

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