But The Boss made a masterpiece of epic proportions called Nebraska. And it took some balls to make, because it followed the commercially successful album The River.
When he sent the finished copy to the record company, they thought it was a collection of song demos, because they’d basically been recorded on a cheap tape recorder like the one I took on my mission so I could listen to rock 'n' roll while pretending to study my charlas (discussions).
Nebraska is a stark album, with mostly just acoustic guitar, harmonica and Springsteen’s voice, like he’s singing in a faraway train tunnel.
The title cut is about the murder spree, through Nebraska and Wyoming, of Charles Raymond Starkweather and his 14-year-old girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate in 1958. They killed 14 people. Starkweather was executed in 1959; they moved fast back then. Fugate served 17 years in prison.
The entire album is stark and dark, and the way it was recorded was perfect, like the black-and-white crime scene photos, with the black blood, that haunted me so as a young child (I was the son of a cop who saw such photos at the age of 5 or 6).
It’s not an album you’d play often; because it was done so well, the darkness would get to you eventually, if you’re not a warped individual to begin with.
His next album was the multi-platinum Born in the U.S.A. But if you want his real masterpiece, buy Nebraska.