One of my favourite albums – Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. As you can see, I have a few copies!
When I heard this album for the first time it was by chance playing in another room, and I really knew nothing about Springsteen’s music. The first thought that entered my mind was, “what the hell is this?”
I hadn’t heard anything like it before. The haunting whine of the harmonica, the unsettling and almost child-like twinkling of guitar and glockenspiel, and Bruce’s raw vocal delivery stopped me in my tracks.
And then there are the lyrics. The album tells 10 cinematic tales of unfortunate characters; ranging from serial killers to outsiders and those simply down on their luck and poverty-stricken.
While these characters come from a variety of backgrounds, they are united by the human challenges they face, and it is this which makes the stories relatable to the listener.
The songwriting is awe-inspiring and just as beautiful as it is morbid. Add to this the low-fi nature of its production (all the songs were recorded on a 4-track cassette recorder) and the record paints an insatiably sparse and troubled landscape.
If you’ve never heard Nebraska before then this description will likely have you running for the hills. If however you are like me and fascinated by this kind of authentic, downbeat songwriting then it’s a must-spin!
Nebraska is heartland rock’s answer to Nick Drake’s Pink Moon. It was the gateway to my fixation with Springsteen’s music and the reason why I picked up the harmonica.
Anyway, I’m off to hunt down copies of the Atlantic City and Open All Night 7″ singles to complete my collection! 🎶