on 15 July 2003
If you've never heard of Bruce, or if you have but you associate his name with cheesy eighties pop, stop here. Buy Born In The USA, play it five times at full volume, and if nothing stirs within you, give up.
If you're still here, you're either a fellow Springsteenista or you liked the single Lonesome Day off his latest album. In either case, rush - do not stroll, do not even jog - to your local music retailer and fork over the full price for this masterly four-CD collection of outtakes, bootlegs and B-sides from the Boss's thirty-year career. Do it now.
The CDs dovetail neatly with four of Springsteen's five phases as an artist (the fifth began in 1999 after the release of this collection). Each CD in the box has a sleeve with a sepia photo which perfectly captures the mood of the era: there's the merry-go-round Dylan-inspired 1972-1975 Jersey period, the cars and girls River sessions, the industrial rock-out of Nebraska/BornITUSA, and the earringed ageing gypsy mellowness of 1990 onwards. Each CD contains gems, absolute crackers which missed the albums by a criminal whisker. To my great surprise, I listen to the first and earliest one the most: although the four acoustic demos of tracks which made it on to Bruce's first album are great starters, they don't come near the brilliance of Santa Ana, Linda Let Me Be The One and Thundercrack. 'Linda' is my all-time favourite Springsteen song, a simple piano-and-organ-driven street hymn with the most beautiful chorus in rock music, especially in the last verse. 'Thundercrack' is vintage early Boss, with its sprawling structure, exuberant (and sometimes chaotic) Vini Lopez drum thrash, and as always that gorgeous swirling Federici organ.
CD 2 is perhaps the weakest, though 'Loose Ends' and the concert favourite 'Be True' stand out. The eighties CD 3 has the poppiest tracks - 'Lion's Den' and the wonderful 'Janey Don't You Lose Heart' should have replaced the dreary 'I'm On Fire' and 'My Hometown' on the BITUSA album - and also the hardest-rocking one, Pink Cadillac. 'This Hard Land' beats hell out of the Greatest Hits version, mainly because of Bruce's thrilling harp performance at the end. CD 4 is superb even if you didn't like his nineties albums; it's as pretentious as they were, but 'Happy' might just make you cry, and 'Part Man, Part Monkey', while pilloried by snobs as inferior white-reggae dross, is a snarling blood-churning slice of Nu-Boss, and has the funkiest bassline since the genius Garry Tallent left and the edgiest guitar howl since 'Cover Me' (later, Springsteen and the E-Streeters recapture this on 'Worlds Apart').
Human Touch turned me into an infidel. After listening to Tracks, just once, I turned on the road to Damascus. I'll never, *never*, write off the Boss again.
on 5 October 2000
This box has a lot of good tracks on it. I am personally not that bothered about the early stuff that Springsteen did. I start liking the tracks from 'Darkness' and on. As we know Springsteen doesn't bombard us with CDs and this box is very welcome to us Springsteen fans that can't get enough. Some of the tracks on this box you have already heard before but in a different way. My favourites are "A good man is hard to find", "Stolen car" and "Rockaway". If you are in to Springsteen (especially Born in the USA era) , you will not be disappointed when you buy this box.
on 13 December 2013
The Tracks collection is something I'd been looking at for a while but at over £100 it was kind of a dream item that I kept meaning to save for and never got round to actually doing. When I saw this re-packaged version I knew I had to have it. It's an absolute bargain for the price, I got one for me and one for my Dad. Any Springsteen fan would be mad not to want this in their collection. I know some other reviews said the CDs are hard to get out and it did take me a while to figure out how to get them out actually but once I did they now come out with no problems.
It is rare for an artists outtakes and demos to rival their recorded work, but in 'Tracks' you have exactly that. Any of these tracks could have featured on an album. There are acoustic demos, full band rave ups and up to date outtakes. Bruce could always write a brilliant song, but these hidden tracks demonstrate just how prolific and constant his ability is. This comes with a decent booklet with all the lyrics as well. Worth every penny.
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on 16 June 2016
Excellent. Not much to add that hasn't already been said in previous reviews: some tracks better than others, a good opportunity to hear older, lessser-known tracks. Production varies but that's only to be expected considering the age and times of the recordings. Excellent price, well worth the, money. Again, as has been said before, pity about the packaging but it's OK, just leaves the precious cds feelingvul erable6to damage.