The first time I listened to this I mostly hated it. Now it's my go-to Springsteen album without a doubt. I even bought a cover album of this where different artists sing every song on the album which I also highly recommend. I don't have any other album in my collecting where I can say that about.
That's weird, I've always thought that Springsteen was a kind of old, boring, American rock stuff. Now that I have discovered his folk roots in Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad I just love his music, it is simply beautiful...
My relationship to the Boss is so torn. I can't help but laugh at his "rock"-stuff but love everything he does when he just picks up a guitar and sings. "The ghost of Tom Joad" and this are some of my favorites ever.
I'd agree that it's the darkest, but I'd say the most personal Bruce album is Tunnel of Love, since it was about issues that were relevant to him and his life at the time. Most of the songs on this album are third-person stories about social ills, not about his personal life.
"I wish people would stop comparing Dylan to Springsteen... the latter being so much better on every level."
Well that's an idiotic statement when you just told people not to compare the two. I agree there's no need, because Dylan is a much better songwriter. Which I think Springsteen himself would agree with. But fuck comparisons, this album is great.
I guess I fit into the "love this album, and give Springsteen total respect but not into him." niche... But this is a serious album. Raw and real, tear-jerking when drinking alone, completely. Cheers to all who might be spending a Saturday night alone with records and booze. This album has been like venom to me in such situations, window open in while the cold winter winds snap in, thinking about the funny catchphrase, "If you don't love the Boss, you hate freedom."