Tuesday, August 25, 2015

40 years later, Born to Run is still the greatest rock album ever

I don't expect you all to agree with me, but I expect I will always feel this way, because the album is a stunning piece of work.  Eight tracks, less than 40 minutes, and absolute magic.

Side 1:
"Thunder Road"
"Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"

Side 2:
"Born to Run"
"She's the One"
"Meeting Across the River"

Every song is strong on its own, and two, "Thunder Road" and "Born to Run" are absolutely brilliant, but together they paint a portrait of youth and dreams and fragile hopes that I've never seen equalled.
Consider just the opening lines of those two songs:

The screen door slams
Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again 
In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through the mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected, and steppin' out over the line
Oh-oh, Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we're young
`Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run 
Maybe you never felt like those songs, but oh, I did, every day of my youth and so many many days since then.  Gray-haired and white-bearded, I still do, almost every day.

The music was just as good, soulful at times, insanely powerful at other times, and always gripping.  The bridge in the middle of "Born to Run" and the moment after it when Bruce shouts "1 2 3 4" and then sings

"The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive"

ranks as one of the greatest sequences in any song.

Call me a fool.  Call me an old man.  Whatever.  This truth I know:  this album, these songs, these emotions--my heart, my hopes, my dreams, always and forever.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I stood in line for six hours once to get a ticket to see him....this was before online ticket purchasing, Ticket Master, Stub Hub, etc. The only way to secure a ticket was to work for it by setting up camp outside the ticket office and waiting. It was a crazy, fun time and finally seeing his show, which lasted almost four hours, made the wait worth it. I will never forget the crowd screaming "BRUUUUUUCE". It was indeed a wonderful thing. And, I agree, this is one of the greatest albums ever in the history of the world.


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