Bruce Springsteen – Darkness On The Edge Of Town (1978)

Label – Columbia
Producer – Jon Landau

So The Boss was now a Mainstream Rock superstar following the success of his 1975 breakthrough, “Born To Run”. His quick return to the studio for the follow up was delayed by a fractious three year court battle with former manager Mike Appel, and by the time he returned to the studio, Punk Rock had changed the musical landscape and Springsteen knew the hippy romanticising would have to change for something harder, more direct. The result, “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”, certainly has a greater tension, is less produced and contains little of the small town reminiscing of “Born To Run”. He had built a large back catalogue of songs, and could even throw away “Because The Night” to Patti Smith, and “Fire” to the Pointer Sisters, probably due to the fact that they drew greater reference to his 1975 work.

By 1978, his songs were now sparser, drawing a philosophy based on the trials of the working class loser. Victims would include his own family on two songs from the album, which includes the outstanding impassioned snarl of “Adam Raised A Cain” with lines like “You’re born into this life paying, for the sins of somebody else’s past”, and is the best song from the album. Other songs of note include the fine opener “Badlands”, the excellent ode to lust (“Candy’s Room”), “Prove It Right”, and the slightly out of step closer “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”, which despite the title, is the closest representation of any song from “Born To Run” in terms of its uplifting feel.

“Darkness On The Edge Of Town” is certainly less commercial than previous recordings and would split Springsteen fans between a love for his new realist views of the struggles in life, or the old style carefree Boss. Some Springsteen fans regard the album as his best. It isn’t, the songs aren’t as strong as the “Born To Run” collection, but it’s still a great album, a testament to an artist boldly wading into a tougher area than ever before.

8/10

A1 Badlands 4:01
A2 Adam Raised a Cain 4:32
A3 Something in the Night 5:12
A4 Candy’s Room 2:45
A5 Racing in the Street 6:52
B1 The Promised Land 4:24
B2 Factory 2:17
B3 Streets of Fire 4:03
B4 Prove It All Night 3:57
B5 Darkness on the Edge of Town 4:28

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