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This review is from: The Essential Bruce Springsteen (Audio CD)
Although not comprehensive, this 3-disc set is a very good introduction to the magic of Springsteen, one of the few timeless and authentic rock legends of the last three decades. Springsteen rarely disappoints musically but I suppose his image of blue-collar champion is a bit tainted after his involvement in partisan politics in 2004.
Disc One takes the listener from his promising early excursions like 1973s Blinded By The Light and 4th Of July through 1975s brilliant rock anthem Born To Run and 1978s awesome rocker Badlands, the gloomy ballad Darkness On The Edge Of Town and the defiant Promised Land through to 1980s majestic song The River (I really miss Wreck On The Highway here) and 1982s melancholy and brooding Nebraska.
Highlights on Disc Two include the powerful rockers Born In The USA and Glory Days, great hits like Dancing In The Dark, Tunnel Of Love and Brilliant Disguise. For me the most impressive songs here are the introspective numbers like Streets Of Philadelphia and The Ghost Of Tom Joad. Lonesome Day with its country feel, Mary's Place with its horns, and The Rising are beautiful and moving too.
On Disc Three, the live tracks include Held Up Without A Gun, a stirring uptempo rocker and Trapped, a grand brooding ballad. None But The Brave is also grand and beautiful, whilst Lift Me Up is a sensitive ballad with Bruce in falsetto mood. His version of Viva Las Vegas proves he's no Elvis but County Fair is one of those sad ballads that he does so well. This disc concludes with Counting On A Miracle, a beautiful acoustic ballad in folk style.
The chronological sequence was a good idea as one can follow the development of Springsteen's career through the changing sound, the varying themes and the ever more serious approach. Obviously not compiled for completists who will have all the albums and box sets anyway, The Essential Bruce Springsteen is perfect for those who wish to have the most of his best in one place. It's a winner through and through.