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Bruce Springsteen: Chapter 11.

Music Review: Bruce Springsteen – Greatest Hits

A Greatest Hits album and the name Bruce Springsteen just don’t seem to match. While he has had a number of top charting single releases, he has never been considered an artist who produces hit songs in the normal sense of the term. He is an artist who creates diverse, memorable, and some of the most critically acclaimed albums in music history. Thus his Greatest Hits compilation released in February of 1995 felt a little suspicious.

Let me say that if you want to explore Bruce Springsteen’s music you need to start with his studio albums. Each is an individual adventure in and of itself, and the songs have a cohesiveness within that context. Pulling his songs from their parent albums of release casts them adrift and allows them to lose some of their impact.

It might be a little too easy to say that this album is only for new adherents who are not familiar with his catalog. While Greatest Hits may provide a nice taste of his material, it is not an introductory release. It is an album for his fans and should just be accepted as a fun 76 minutes of listening pleasure. Ignore any sense of vision and high art and just enjoy the performances. From the opening sounds of “Born To Run” and “Thunder Road” and including accessible songs such as “Hungry Heart,” “Dancing In The Dark,” and “Glory Days,” it is just a good listen to some great tunes.

The gem of the album at the time of its release was the haunting “Streets Of Philadelphia,” which had only been available on the movie’s soundtrack album and as a 7” single. One of his biggest worldwide hits, it won four Grammy Awards, including song of the year plus the Academy Award for best original song.

There are four bonus tracks added to the end of the release. They marked a return to recording with members of his E Street Band after a long hiatus. While they are commendable efforts, I would have preferred adding more of his well known tracks. My choices would have been “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” “I’m On Fire,” “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” and, well, take your pick.

Greatest Hits is a nice stop to visit some old friends. Don’t try to make it something that it was not intended to be. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy.

About David Bowling

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