Darkness on the Edge of Town (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

 

A lawsuit had prohibited Springsteen from releasing any material for 3 years following 1975's Born To Run. This meant that just when the public was beginning to hear and appreciate his talent, he essentially disappeared from the record stores. Remember, in the mid 1970's, artists were sort of expected to put out an album every year or so. So what did Springsteen do during this "down" time?

Well, he did what he loved. He still performed a lot, kept his name alive as best he could, and didn't stay out of the recording studio, he just couldn't release anything. And record material he did indeed. Springsteen is one of the few artists that has an incredible amount of professionally done, unreleased material. When he finally released a box set in 1998 of unreleased material called Tracks, the real story was not the 66 songs on the set, but the masses of unreleased stuff that was not on that record.

So when he did finally release this, it met all the expectations. A solid, sounding great record that does exactly what it's supposed to do in all the right places. Of course, hindsight being twenty-twenty, you almost have to wonder if some of the hoarded material might have actually been just a tad better than what was here. As Springsteen evolved as a performer, his work became much more darker and depressing. Of course, when you disguise it in a rock and roll song, the message is easy to miss. Most people couldn't tell you what the lyrics to Badlands are about, but they can all tell you it's one helluva great live song.

As awesome as Bruce was, some of his songs started to sound a tad too familiar to one another. It seemed like every other song he put out had either the word "Night", "Fire" or "Street" in the title of the song (on this album alone, you can find those words 5 times in the song titles). It's easy to see why when all his songs seemed to take place on the street in the night and the characters were always "on fire" (which could mean several things). At this point in his career, each of his albums seemed to build on the last one and take some significant steps forward. This was the first album that, musi cwise, seemed to not make any significant steps in that direction. With the exception of the darkness of this record (pun not necessarily intended), you could argue that this is very similar to its predecessor Born to Run. I mean, to be honest, I still get confused and want to call "Bandlands", "Backstreets" and vice versa.

There are those few diehard fans that have followed The Boss since he began that will swear that this is his best one and that things went "downhill" from here. That's a bit unfair. Bruce was slowly starting to gain more an more notoriety as an incredible performer, so the loyal fans were about to "lose" him to the rest of the country (and the rest of the world, after that). So a lot of bark is on this album, and the bite is just as strong. It would be a great cd to have on a desert island and it truly highlights everything that Bruce is famous for. I guess I was hoping for something slightly better (if that's possible) than the last release. Especially after a three year hiatus.


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