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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark, desolate ... and beautiful.
This is one of the most stark and beautiful albums of all time. Springsteen was completely on his own when he recorded it and it shows. There isn't a song in the Springsteen canon as good as "Atlantic City". It's trendy to say that this is your favourite Springsteen album, that much is true. What is also true is that it IS the best Springsteen album. It reminded...
Published on 20 April 2001

versus
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing album but ...
The actual music itself can not be faltered in any way. Such a great artist for when you're having a relaxed, chill out sesh. However I feel obliged to say that, as I bought this second hand, some tracks skip a little. Because this is such a soft, relaxed album you can really notice the parts where it skips. It's not a major thing, but enough to be noticeable due to the...
Published 7 months ago by Kayleigh


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark, desolate ... and beautiful., 20 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)
This is one of the most stark and beautiful albums of all time. Springsteen was completely on his own when he recorded it and it shows. There isn't a song in the Springsteen canon as good as "Atlantic City". It's trendy to say that this is your favourite Springsteen album, that much is true. What is also true is that it IS the best Springsteen album. It reminded me of Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin' only a little more personal and a little more political - if that's possible.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars POSSIBLY THE GREATEST SPRINGSTEEN ALBUM EVER, 16 Oct 2010
By 
Michael Nicholl (Derry. Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)
Back in 1982 whilst still a student, I had just recently discovered Bruce Springsteen via The River Album and I was keen to find out more. Nebraska was placed on my Christmas wish list and it duly arrived. This was to me quite different from what I thought I should expect from 'The Boss', but after just a few listens I was quite simply hooked. Being a Dylan fan I have always loved acoustic rock / country which provided me with a good story and this album fitted that bill perfectly. Almost 30 years on I can say that Springsteen has not bettered this release which as I understand it was a 'home recording'. The opening and title track 'Nebraska' appears to be based upon the film Badlands. If you haven't had an opportunity to see that film, I suggest you make a point of seeing it and you will see what I mean. Several of the tracks have since been covered by some of the big hitters within country who are credable, namely Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and the late Johnny Cash (Cash covered if I am correct 3 songs from this album). I won't go through all the songs on this album individually as I would possibly end up boring you to death, but suffice to say they are all equal in their greatness. This is one of those very rare albums, within which there are simply no bad or weak songs. This is where Springsteen got closest to emulating Dylan in his ability to tell a great story in a song. There were hints that were provided within 'The River' and `Darkness On The edge of Town' released prior to Nebraska that indicated the direction Springsteen was to take. Think of songs such as The River, Stolen Car, and Racing in the Streets. I could go on. A truly great recording and one of my top ten albums of all time. Get this album and I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back To Basics Bruce, 12 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)
At first hearing this album blew me away, and still does. Its amazing how much Bruce constructs with so little. This album is superb in its simple, one man and his guitar approach. Such a format helps to create the cold and barren environment needed on songs like State Trooper, where the lack of the E Street Band's honking saxaphone helps to emphaise the darker mood of the song. Bruce is at his best when he's telling the stories of real people and this album is no exception with songs like Johnny 99 or Highway Patrolman. Despite its darker subject matters Nebraska throws up some up-beat acoustic rockers like the brilliant Open All Night.This album also contains the great, Springsteen classic, Atlantic City which is a such a complete sounding song - despite its simple structure - that it stands out a mile from anything else on this album. A must for all Springsteen fans.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Springsteen's America, 16 Oct 2003
By 
Noel Phelan (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)
Early 1980's America saw the rise to power of Ronald Reagan and his particular brand of "Reaganomics"; ie, plant closures & health cutbacks, while at the same time he promoted a jingoistic, new american pride. In the midst of this, Bruce Springsteen sat down on a chair in his bedroom with a four-track cassette recorder, an acoustic guitar, and a harmonica, and within about five days, recorded his masterpeice, "Nebraska". From the opening "Nebraska", right through to "Reason To Believe", the songs tell of ordinary citizens caught up in desperate situations, trying to forge ahead with their lives the best they can, but encountering hardships along the way, and wondering what to do and how to cope.The starkness and simplicity of the recordings only magnifies the power of the stories within the songs, whether it is the street warfare of "Atlantic City", the nostalgia and sorrow of the beautiful "Mansion On The Hill", or the biblical Cain/Abel story of "Highway Patrolman", the tracks are overwhelming in their beauty and emotion. Mirroring a traumatic and solitary period in Springsteen's own life, the album asks the questions "How can I go on?", but also "How can I not?". Amidst the pain and loneliness, the essential message is of hope, summarized best in the chorus of "Atlantic City": 'Put your hair up nice, fix yourself up pretty, and meet me tonight in Atlantic City". Springsteen, in a subsequent interview, said "All the best music seems to say 'Take this, and find your place in the world, no matter how small or how large, to make your stand'". During the darkest days, hope can be found. Nay, hope must be found. Truly a message for the ages.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten street-Warriors, 17 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)
Nebraska is a cold album and very simple in scructure. The album features tales of murderers, second hand cars and unemployment in the style of old folk legends like Woody Guthrie. In whole it seems all toger bitter and anti-estalishment. It is wriiten in a style with very deep working class roots and values. Bruce is magnificant as usual. His chracters and the visuals he creates are second to none most of all on the heart touching 'Atlantic City'. Bruce made himself one of the dying beleivers in the fact that there might be some good in the human race and with Nebraska he pushed those beliefs even further
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 22 Nov 2002
By 
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)
Not the most up-to-date of reviews, of course... this particular album was released in 1982. So twenty years...
I bought this album a few days ago. Not the first time I'd heard the content on it of course, but perhaps the first time I've been old enough to appreciate it. It's an album of raw intensity and shorn pretensions set against a backdrop of sparse guitars and howling harmonicas. For one of the pre-eminent rockers of the late 70s and 80s, it is a dramatic departure. There is no pop, little rock and very little to dance to. It's very much a 'listen with all the lights out on a dark windy night' album.
The story behind the album goes that Springsteen set up a four-track recorder in his house to record the demos... away from the sterile environment of the recording studio. There, he wrote and performed the material that would form the album. Just Bruce, a guitar, and a harmonica.
Then he took the demo tapes to the studio and made an attempt to record them with the band. He hated the result... the simple understatement of the demos was removed by the over-production of remixing and re-editting. So he removed the original demo tape from his back pocket, tossed it onto the desk and said 'There's your album'.
The clarity of the album is stunning. There are no songs here... only stories, set to music. From the harrowing murder- sprees of Nebraska, to the slippery-slope of crime in Atlantic City... passing by the tragic highwayman who lets his brother escape from the murder he comitted. Along the way visiting tragedy and white-trash living, hope and desolation, sadness and despair... all to the accompaniment of a mounful harmonica and soft lyrical whisper from a man known for his energy and bombastic arrangements.
Much of the album evokes memories of the young Dylan... although that is more due to the style of the musical arrangement than anything more substantial. The bare lyrics do not have the multi-layered linguistic trickery of some of Dylan's work... chosing instead to concentrate on believable expression as if from the mouths of the characters in the songs.
Nebraska bombed when released... it was such a major departure from the pop hits of 'Born in the USA' or 'Dancing in the Dark'. Its honesty and soul make it an absolute jewel of an album however, and one that deserves a place in the album collection of anyone more interested in substance over style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of woe, 2 May 2008
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
In my mind this album will always be associated with a chilling 1970s movie called Badlands. The opening track Nebraska reflects the plot of the film and refers to the "Badlands of Wyoming." This gloomy album must the blueprint of what later became known as "Americana" and even Alt Folk. Just a cursory glance at the lyrics reveals the following place names: Lincoln, Philly, Atlantic City, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, Johnstown, Perrinneville, Mahwah, Wyoming and Linden Town, enough to make Sufjan Stevens envious.

The melodious Atlantic City has a lilt to it whilst Nebraska and Mansion On The Hill are slow, stately and melancholy, but the tempo changes on the edgy Johnny 99 with its nervous guitar riffs, also present on State Trooper which connects thematically with Highway Patrolman, a moving tale of family troubles in slow tempo with a poignant chorus. An interesting observation on State Trooper is that it contains some of those yelps that Alan Vega of the psychobilly band Suicide made his trademark.

The gentle Used Cars and the fast-paced Open All Night, the only real rock song, contain vivid car and road imagery. The line "radios jammed up with gospel stations, lost souls callin' lost distance salvation" reminded me of a tongue-in-cheek country song by the Stones called Far Away Eyes on the Some Girls album. The haunting masterpiece My Father's House with its oneiric imagery explores youthful memories, a lament for what is lost and a yearning for love and reconciliation.

Reason To Believe concludes this bleak and grim exploration of the heartland on an optimistic, even spiritual note with the observation that ultimately people do find a reason to go on, echoing a similar sentiment on Atlantic City, that perhaps everything that dies someday comes back. This brooding album Nebraska is a gem created by an inspired blend of voice, guitars and harmonica. Plus the most gripping imagery and memorable poetic lyrics of course.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Springsteen's best kept secrets, 26 Aug 2003
By 
rd hale (tunbridge wells, kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)
Nebraska was released in '82, just prior to the peak selling of Born in the USA. In truth, the commercial heights were a creative miscarriage of justice in the wake of this master stroke. Nebraska opens as it means to go on, with an understated tale of the more unknown scapes and peoples of this quiet American state in the title track, focusing much on the common man and the struggle for justice and close knit community. Perhaps this seems easily forgotten by the time Atlantic City reigns in with the albums most up-tempo number, a desire for carefree love in amongst the temptations of smalltown America. By the time the central troika surfaces, with the harrowing State Trooper and the beautiful relative-lullaby Used Cars, the most striking matter of the release is made apparent. Firstly, the mood and atmosphere, apparently influenced by CBGB club favourites 'Suicide', is stark and compelling. The understatement is carried off by arguably Springsteen's best (and Guthrie-like). Who can blame him for ditching the E-Street band and releasing these songs in demo form? Each song is beautiful, and arguably this is the mystique to Born to Run's workmanlike anthems and coupled with 'The River', complete his most acclaimed work. Frankly a must, the collection of songs emote his music to a state beyond which this reviewer for one, couldn't quite appreciate. His voice sounds true to himself and his roots. When 'Reason to believe' enters the frame and closes the album, you begin to hang on every one of those most human of beliefs
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shivers, 15 Aug 2010
By 
Mr. C. R. Willis "Motorpsycho" (Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)
I have owned this album for over twenty years and it still sends shivers down my spine. This is a lesson in songwriting and performance, stripping everything away until only the bones are left to haunt you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time For Haunting Reflection, 31 May 2010
By 
Mr. Douglas Sutton (Nottingham) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nebraska (Audio CD)
This was the first Bruce Springsteen album i ever bought when i was just 16 or so, mainly because it was the most affordable 'Boss' album in the shop.
I took it home listened to it, appreciated it and put it away.
I then came home one day and found my mum had listened to it and she was visibly upset. After seeing this i listened again and suddenly understood what this album was actually about and why it was so brilliant.
its dark, desolate and at times tear jerking. It seems that Bruce not only stripped away the E Street sound from this record but also tore open himself to find what was inside. recorded on a four-track cassette at his home as basic demo's using just a sparse set of instruments, I do believe that 'Highway Patrolman' is one of the greatest Springsteen tracks ever and indeed this album is one of Springsteen's greatest.
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Nebraska
Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen (Audio CD - 2003)
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