|Devils & Dust
|List Price: $19.97
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CD AUDIO SIDE: Entire Album
DVD SIDE: * Entire album in 5.1 channel surround sound and in 2 channel stereo. * Special Devils & Dust film by noted photographer and film maker Danny Clinch, including rare, never-before-seen acoustic performances of "Devils & Dust," "Long Time Comin'," "Reno," All I'm Thinkin' About" and "Matamoras Banks" plus Bruce's personal introductions to the tracks.
The last time Bruce Springsteen ventured West for inspiration, the result was the desolate Nebraska and its tales of serial killers and used cars. On his first record in three years, Springsteen navigates barren deserts and Old West war fields for a dozen forlorn songs that co-star the artist and his acoustic guitar. Though he's always had a knack for carving out the hooks and melodies that make each journey memorable, this time around Springsteen relies on the lyrics to carry the tune-desperate tales of tragedy, heartbreak, and lust with a Latino twist, like the boxer coming home ("The Hitter"), a distressing border-crossing incident ("Matamoros Banks"), and the Nevada hooker with good intentions ("Reno," which led to the warning sticker Adult Imagery). With no E Street Band in the mix, the album is decorated with horns and strings and Springsteen¡¯s novel falsetto on two his best efforts: "Maria¡¯s Bed," where the narrator comes home to his woman after 40 nights on the road, and the fast-picking "All I¡¯m Thinkin¡¯ About," where he has more than Carolina on his mind. A decade from now this will be an underrated record in the Springsteen chronicles. --Scott Holter
The Best of Bruce
by guest editor Steve Perry
Steve is editor-in-chief of City Pages newspaper in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle (1973)
After a folk-rockish debut album that bubbled with ideas and dense lyrical play, this is where Springsteen began to find his voice as a rocker and as a songwriter. The prisoner-of-love romanticism of "Rosalita" and "Incident on 57th Street" hinted at what was coming, and this early version of the E Street Band--jazzier and more spare than later versions, thanks largely to David Sancious's piano--sounds great, if a little ragged, these many years later.
Born to Run (1975) and Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)
These two records, which belong on any compilation of the top 100 rock albums of all time, sketched the themes that he would spend his whole career chasing, and defined the expectations fans would bring to his records ever after. The first chords of "Born to Run" sounded like freedom itself the first time I heard them on the radio, and the album lived up to them. "Thunder Road" is still the greatest rock & roll love song anyone's ever written. The record sounded so big and impassioned and propulsive it was easy to miss the dread running underneath it. Darkness... put the dread front and center. There are more of his best songs here than anywhere else, even if the sound is muddy and leaden at times.
After The River (the best record that didn't make this list) and the ensuing tour answered his rock & roll prayers--he was a big star now, not just a perennial critics' favorite--Springsteen holed up in a rented house on the Jersey shore, where he wrote these songs and sang them into a four-track recorder in his living room. The tape was supposed to be a demo for the band, but after several false tries he concluded that the tape he'd been carrying around in his pocket was the record. Quiet and bleak, Nebraska nonetheless grabbed you by the collar and made you listen as surely as his rock & roll records ever had.
Tunnel of Love (1987)
The glare and hubbub surrounding the Born in the USA tour (the tour was great--the record itself overrated) made him pull back again, this time to write a cycle of songs about love and fear and self-doubt. After this, Springsteen's first marriage broke up, and he started a family with Patti Scialfa, disappearing for the better part of 10 years, notwithstanding the pair of not bad, just disappointing albums he released in 1992, Human Touch and Lucky Town.
The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995)
Some call it Nebraska II, but his second acoustic album was not a repeat of his first--the characters and settings had changed, and their circumstances were more expressly desperate, and social--though it did share the same interest in what happens to people whose isolation or marginal status renders them invisible.
The Rising (2002)
Everybody--including Springsteen himself--seemed to think it was a record about 9/11, but the subject was broader: death and loss as seen from more than halfway down life's road. Dave Marsh nailed it: "A middle-aged man confronts death and chooses life." Brendan O'Brien's production sounds great.
- A Change of Pace
We, long ago, confessed to be lacking any and all objectivity when it comes to this artist. Bruce is our Willie Mays, our Picasso, our Mother Teresa. But here goes anyway: With `Devils & Dust', Bruce has, once again, sent the E-Streeters into exile (with the exception of a cameo by Danny Federici and, of course, background vocals by `the little lady') in order to record a more varied, more intimate, more subtle, and, we'd say, more personal record than the structure and sound of the E-Street Band seem to allow. Unlike his albums with the band, `Devils & Dust' does not immediately pluck you by the ears and hit you in your gut. Instead, these songs seem to insinuate more of themselves into one's consciousness and pleasure centers with each listen. `D & D' resembles its predecessors `Nebraska' and `The Ghost of Tom Joad' in tone and, particularly, the manner in which Springsteen brilliantly conveys the thoughts, emotions, and lives of the ordinary, the forgotten, the downtrodden, the human. In many songs he does this by assuming the role of a particular character-an American soldier, a motherless Texas teen, a fallen boxer, et al-with detailed intimacy and a startling ring of truth. The album's template may have been the talking blues of Dylan and Woody Guthrie. The `Dust' in the album's title brings Guthrie to mind, as do the song's country-folk format, their western settings, even the drawl Springsteen employs on songs of this nature. We once called Steve Earle, "Springsteen with a twang". Here that can be said of Bruce himself. There are some arresting and delightful changes of pace on `Devils & Dust', like the frank portrayal of, shall we say, a commercial, sexual encounter in `Reno', or the new and thrilling whispered falsetto he uses on the backwoods rocker `All I'm Thinking About'. While some of the tracks are instrumentally and tunefully spare, others are beautifully and surprisingly fleshed out with strings, mariachi horns, vocal chorales or the sitar, tambora, and electric sarangi of producer Brendan O'Brien (who also produced `The Rising'). Although we are not yet in love with every cut on `Devils & Dust', we expect to be eventually. After all, it is Bruce....more info
- Not MY Bruce
Notwithstanding the disappointment that I could not play this "quasi-CD" on my computer, I found the songs repetitious and monotonous. Not the Boss that I would have preferred show up to record this album. I'm not even sure I want to play the DVD side.
Buy at your own risk....more info
- Well worth adding to your collection
I have been a casual listener to Bruce Springsteen for about twenty years. His raspy voice and anger were what drew me to him first. I was a teenager, and I was raspy and angry, too. Now, years later, I find that what I really want is depth and insight and humility in the face of insoluble problems and a world rich with contradictions and meaning. Bruce gives that in this album. The songs are haunting and sad mostly, with the anger muted and in the background. Jesus was an only son seems to me to speak of a faith that hangs on even though others in that faith have torn away the roots. I don't know much about his other albums, even though I have them, because they seem too earnest, too angry, and to be honest they scare me off a bit. But this one--wow. I think I'll go listen to it again right now. I learn something new every time. The music and the story work together--for the first time in a long time, since maybe Joni Mitchell's early stuff or Queen's Day at the Races, I can say that this is a real album and not just a collection of songs. Go get it....more info
- I worry about Bruce...
This is a grim CD. I adore Bruce, but this one is pretty difficult to listen to. The lyrics sound like someone who is dying. I wonder if Bruce is really so horribly disillusioned with life. I think that would be very sad, and that's why I worry about him. I still love to listen to him sing though....more info
- Man I Love This Album!
I can't say it any better than that!
Fits perfectly in a nearly perfect body of work....more info
- "Fear's a powerful thing"
The folk music soundscape delivers somber postcards from the cold shadows that can attack a person at any moment and in any location. The curve balls thrown in life care nothing about the person who is nervously scratching a spot inside the batter's box.
The material was compiled from the early-1990s to 2004 and released in April 2005, with the album debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The dozen numbers - clocking 50:55 - covers a variety of poignant and timeless issues; lust masquerading for love (Reno), life during wartime (Devils & Dust) and an anonymous death during a quest for freedom (Matamoros Banks).
The Dual Disc provides the listener with the "regular" album and a DVD with 5.1 surround sound, music videos and commentary by Springsteen. The songs are from a master storyteller who brings an urgent message from the dead ends and washed-out paths of the American Dream....more info
- Works Fine on My Mac
I don't know why the previous reviewer is complaining about this dual CD technology no working on his Apple as it works without fail on my iMac. Sure, this new dual CD format isn't quite ready for prime time and the music industry is doing itself no favors (not that this is unprecedented, mind you) by getting it out onto the market when it still has some bugs that need to be worked out, but I'm not reviewing the technology, I'm reviewing the music which is superb.
I am not one of those who would proclaim Springsteen to be the greatest songwriter ever, but he is gifted. After some weaker moments in the early to mid 90's (the "Human Touch," "Lucky Town" albums) he began to assert himself again with "The Rising" in 2002. That album was a full band album and with "Devils and Dust" he has taken this renaissance into his more acoustic side.
"All the Way Home," "Reno," "Jesus Was an Only Son," "All That I'm Thinking About," "Matamoros Banks," and the title track rank along side the best from "The Rising" as examples of first rate song writing and examples of how Springsteen is still a writer of the first order.
- Will not play on comuputer or I-pod
RIP-OFF ALERT! This CD will not load on a PC hard-drive, no matter if it has the latest operating system. Thus, you will not be able to put the songs into I-tunes or play them on your I-pod. Some other reviewers report that it will not play on Mac either, though I have no experience with that. I do consider it unfair, indeed dishonest, to market the product without some sort of label warning consumers of this. The music earns a B+, the technology an F. ...more info
- Still the Boss after all these years
The first Springsteen album I got into was Nebraksa and I got into that album in a BIG way. I've been a life-long fan of the Boss ever since. For me, he slipped a bit with Tunnel of Love and the pair of albums that followed it, but his cred was fully restored with Ghost of Tom Joad. Devils and Dust is very much in the vein of Nebraksa and Tom Joad. Now don't get me wrong - I like both solo Bruce and E Street Bruce (The River is my all time favourite Boss album), so I can dig the man when he's both introspective and kicking ass. But I do feel that as he gets into his golden years, there's definitely more merit in listening closely to what he has to say. Which is why Devils and Dust is so awesome. Because the Boss has always been a truly wicked lyricist, with a real talent for bringing characters to life. He's a story-teller, like all the great folk singers and on Devils and Dust, that ability really comes to the fore. Not that it's a demanding listen (like Tom Joad can be), because he's canny enough to have included some real cool rockers here, particularly where he takes a bit of a different vocal tack and moves away from his classic sound. The production is never less than awesome, and listening to The River (which desperately needs a make-over a la Born to Run), shows just how far we have come in the knob-twiddling department. But what elevates this release from four starts to five, is the inclusion of a real nice DVD extra, which shows the man doing his thing on a beat-up old acoustic geetar, with no props, audience, back-up band. Just him, a stool, and the harmonica/geetar combo. Damn, if it didn't make me think of Dylan (and there is no greater compliment ). That's where the Boss is now, for me. He's as close as we've got to the Master. And what's more, he's got an even better voice (sorry Bob). Seriously, it's a really superb package, and any Boss fan would be a fool not to own it. ...more info
This album is without a doubt my favourite Sunday morning listening......ever. Simple but full of depth, it is the work of a writer who continues the make the rest look tired and running on empty. ...more info
- Don't Buy This People
Ha! Bruce Springsteens' latest dual disc album sucks! there are
no good songs, dad bought this product not too long ago and i
heard a few songs and it sucks! also i heard it was too acoustic
for me. buy the last album insted, The Essential Bruce Springsteen. It was the best hard rock album Bruce ever did.
Don't buy the other albums too, Prarie Wind, Wildflower, Souls
Alike, and more. The only good product past was American Idiot,
Green Day. Also Magic Time Van Morrison sucks too! Stay away
from this. Go with Bruce's last album....more info
- Bruce Springsteen Devils and Dust
This item was delivered in excellent condition. While not one of Bruce's best cd's, it is a very good one. Plus the dvd gives you insite to Bruce's thought process behind several songs creation....more info
- Love it, love it, love it!
After seeing Bruce's acoustic solo show in August in Seattle (almost a religious experience), I have listened to part of this album nearly every day. I love the poignant lyrics (Black Cowboys continues to bring tears to my eyes) that create such strong visuals and such personal images. I love the pared-down acoustic sound, and especially the harmonica-guitar combo on the title track. Definitely going on my all-time favorite list. ...more info
- like it but....
Soulful. However, if I cannot put it on my ipod to go--so I can enjoy my music in the many settings of my life, I am not going to buy it.
The world is a mobile place these days, and we like to take our tunes with us when we go.
Catch up Bruce, or be left behind.
- Bruce Springsteen -- a True American
An awful lot of people have been waiting 21 years for Springsteen to simply rerecord "Born in the USA." They want that big, overproduced sound, with lots of anthems that caution against blind patriotism (that album's title track) that they can misinterpret and being anthems OF blind patriotism. That's why they are slamming this page with one star reviews. They can't stand the fact that Springsteen's muse points him in the direction of darker, more acoustic material and that his conscious will not allow him to blindly follow the faux cowboy yahoo currently occupying the White House who is clearly way in over his head.
The songs here are indeed stark and pensive and at their best they are among the best he has ever written. Anybody who is surprised to find that Springsteen is not a right wing Republican hasn't been paying attention to the things he has been talking about and singing about for 30 years. You don't like Springsteen's politics? Fine, this is your right, but anyone making efforts to silence him or "punish" him for them is showing who is the real "anti-American" is. It's called the First Amendment. Deal....more info
- I've Only Had 1 Quick Listen
I've only had one quick listen and haven't really had the opportunity to sit down and listen to it in depth. I didn't really care for "Nebraska" or "The Ghost Of Tom Joad" and thought this one was going to be more of the same. At first listen though I quite enjoyed what I heard. While I still prefer his albums with the E-Street Band, this was better than what I expected.
On a side note, I didn't really care for the F-bomb he dropped in probably my favourite song (track 4 I think). It seems a little beneath an artist of Bruce's talents. I didn't even notice but my young daughter pointed it out to me as we were listening. Come on Bruce, don't drop yourself down to the lowest common denominator.
Burlington, Ontario ...more info
- Unassumingly Great Album!
Bruce's years of honing his craft are obvious in this simple, yet stunning, album. The effect of his songwriting, punctuated by crisply performed music is powerful... Similar to the power of Darkness of the Edge of Town in insight, yet from a more content perspective. A man who has learned a thing or two along the way, yet in awe at the complexities of life as much as ever. Tighter than Ghost of Tom Joad, funner and more hopeful than Nebraska... Springsteen scores an ace in his pursuit of his solo efforts. The impeccable Devils & Dust....more info