Friday, 1 June 2018

Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska (1982)

Mister State Trooper, please don't stop me....


Released September 1982

Recorded in Bruce Springsteen's bedroom, New Jersey

Running time 40:50

After the somewhat bloated exercise of The River, in 1982, Springsteen stripped literally everything back to basics and recorded this marvellously evocative album of songs in an upstairs room of an old house, with only his acoustic guitar and a tape recorder for company.


1. Nebraska
2. Atlantic City
3. Mansion On The Hill
4. Johnny 99
5. Highway Patrolman
6. State Trooper
7. Used Cars
8. Open All Night
9. My Father's House
10. Reason To Believe                                     

Showing the artists's willingness to record what he wanted to and hang the commercial consequences, it is a remarkable collection of songs bleakly narrated in the first person, often delivered in the slightly deferential "sir" or "mister" form of addressing the listener, from a succession of characters (it seems) from America's "Badlands" (Nebraska), criminals (Johnny 99), honest working guys gone wrong (State Trooper), cops (Highway Patrolman), husbands (Open All Night), gamblers (Atlantic City), nostalgics (Mansion On The Hill) and no hopers (Reason To Believe). They are all there, telling their largely sad stories personalised by Springsteen's quiet, yearning delivery. This was Springsteen's "great American novel". The lyrics and the imagery are that good.

Songs like Highway Patrolman, Used Cars,  My Father's House, Mansion On The Hill and Atlantic City are up there with some of the best songs Springsteen has ever written. No question. If you want tub-thumping anthems, you won't get them here. This album will not lift your spirits, but it will certainly make you think. 

I would love to hear a “full band” version of all these songs, though. When played live with such arrangements, they have invariably been excellent.


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