Darkness on the Edge of Townby Bruce Springsteen
Coming three years, and one extended court battle, after the commercial breakthrough of Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town was highly anticipated. Some attributed the album's embattled tone to Springsteen's legal troubles, but it carried on from Born to Run, in which Springsteen had first begun to view his colorful cast of characters as "losers." On Darkness, he began to see them as the working class. One song was called "Factory," and in another, "Badlands," "you" work "'neath the wheel / Till you get your facts learned." Those "facts" are that "Poor man wanna be rich / Rich man wanna be king / And a king ain't satisfied / Till he rules everything." But Springsteen's characters, some of whom he inhabited and sang for in the first person, had little and were in danger of losing even that. Their only hope for redemption lay in working harder -- "You gotta live it everyday," he sang in "Badlands," but you also, as another song noted, have to "Prove It All Night." And their only escape lay in driving. Springsteen presented these hard truths in hard rock settings, the tracks paced by powerful drumming and searing guitar solos. Though not as heavily produced as Born to Run, Darkness was given a full-bodied sound, with prominent keyboards and double-tracked vocals. Springsteen's stories were becoming less heroic, but his musical style remained grand. Yet the sound, and the conviction in his singing, added weight to songs like "Racing in the Street" and the title track, transforming the pathetic into the tragic. But despite the rock & roll fervor, Darkness was no easy listen, and it served notice that Springsteen was already willing to risk his popularity for his principles. Indeed, Darkness was not as big a seller as Born to Run. And it presaged even starker efforts, such as Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsBruce Springsteen Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
Clarence Clemons Percussion,Saxophone,Vocals
Roy Bittan Piano,Keyboards
Danny Federici Organ,Keyboards,Vocals
Garry Tallent Bass
Steven Van Zandt Guitar,Vocals
Max Weinberg Drums
E Street Band Group
Steve VanZandt Guitar
Technical CreditsBruce Springsteen Composer,Producer
Jimmy Iovine Engineer
Jon Landau Producer
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This album has been my all time favourite since I was about 10. Quite apart from the skillful song-writing there's a real poetry in the lyrics that mirrors, for me, the likes of Woody Guthrie and Gram Parsons. Unfortunately the popular image of Bruce is some power chord blue jeaned, serious Jon Bon Jovi, after the hijacking of Born in the USA by Reagan, but a listen to this album is a timely reminder of all that is amazing about Rock music. It's like a collection of short stories set to music, almost a study of the down at heel, and although it refers specifically to the US, I think there's a lot in this album that is equally applicable to people all over the world - the continuous struggle, the shattering of dreams and the fight to look for somethign better. The most powerful, musical and underrated album ever.
In life, tragedy and struggle happen every day. Humans have a degree of releasing the pain of this life, be it through covering laughter or pained shrieks or murmurred tears in the night, and they all convey the same gulp in ones throat. We demand to scream out against such pain, and stand against it. For those people in this world that know what I am talking about, real people in a real world surrounded by the good, the bad, the ugly, the unfortunate, the poor, and the just gettin' by---Darkness on the Edge of Town is the soundtrack of your life. Bruce's wailing scream on his Fender in "Adam Raised a Cain", to the dramatic, beautiful "Racing in the Street"(a song so unique and gorgeous I will have it played at my funeral someday), the album is 10 songs that have such an order yet anarchy to them, that there are not many albums with such focus. Bruce once said that with Born to Run he was out to "hit a home run". But, with Darkness on the Edge of Town, he does what we all do. We don't want to win. We'll be happy just fighting and surviving. The albums I recommend are in my opinion, just as full of dread and hope as Darkness...
This is the greatest rock and roll album ever recorded. If I had to list my top five Bruce songs (Lost in the Flood, Thunder Road, Point Blank, Backstreets, Youngstown) none of them are from Darkness. However, as a whole this album was the peak for his powerful stoytelling and no holds barred emotion.
THIS ALBUM SERVES AS A REMINDER THAT BRUCE HAS BEEN ''THE BOSS'' SINCE THE 70's. THIS POWERFUL ALBUM IS NOT AS LINEAR AS ''BORN IN THE USA'', BUT IT ROCKS JUST AS WELL. THIS ALBUM WILL ALWAYS BE A TIMEPIECE. IT'S GREAT!!
Well I absolutely adore Bruce Springsteen and have since the 1970s though I have no sensible reasoning for waiting this long for purchasing this album. Again like his other works I enjoy the consistency of the message that runs through each musical piece of his album but without the boredom such a thing can sometimes bring. His love of life shines through the lyrics and the music making you look forward as to what will come next. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band = a magnificent combination!