The Promise (2011)

Disc One 1. Racing in the Street 2. Gotta Get That Feeling 3. Outside Looking In 4. Someday (We'll Be Together) 5. One Way Street 6. Because the Night 7. Wrong Side of the Street 8. The Brokenhearted 9. Rendezvous 10. Candy's Boy Disc Two 1. Save My Love 2. Ain't Good Enough For You 3. Fire 4. Spanish Eyes 5. It's a Shame 6. Come On (Let's Go Tonight) 7. Talk to Me 8. The Little Things (My Baby Does) 9. Breakaway 10. The Promise 11. City of Night


Ask any Bruce Springsteen disciple (the one's that would drink his bathwater) what his strongest time period was, and you'll undoubtably hear 1975-78. There are even some of this idiotic clique that swear he hasn't done anything good since. This was always a bit ironic since, even though he had two of his strongest albums during each of those years, a legal suit kept him out of the recording studio during the periods between, and a guy like Springsteen simply had too much good material and ideas in his head to remain idle. Therefore, you would think an album of unreleased songs from this time frame would be a gold mine. Sadly, this thing really doesn't even come close.

Expectations were probably very high since he had already released an incredible 4 disc set of unreleased material spanning his entire career with Tracks a little more than a decade prior to this one. The problem with this package is, to be frank, we've already heard so much of this before, and what we haven't heard before, while o.k., is far from spectacular. In other words, unlike Tracks, that sounded fresh and new, this one basically sounds like a two disc set of leftovers.

You can hear fragments of some "official" songs within some of these tunes, but you can't fault an artist for recycling good parts of (what was once) unreleased material into other songs. We've heard so much of this before, though, that you can't help but wonder if a single disc would have been better. Sure, it's nice to hear unreleased studio versions of Because the Night and Fire (both, ironically were made popular by other artists and appeared on his first live box set), but there's not much difference from the version of Racing in the Street that's here and the original one that appeared on Darkness On the Edge of Town over 30 years ago. Then you have Come On (Let's Go Tonight), which is essentially a reworked version of Factory from that same album.

The second disc sounds a bit better in terms of spontaneity, but the whole package sounds a bit recycled. Even though many diehards won't care, you can't help but think there were still better things in his catalog that haven't seen the light of day yet.

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