• Son of Griff

    If the selection of outtakes on TRACKS is any indication, the best material from these sessions made it on the album, which cannot be said of some of the Boss’ later output, although the subsequent albums gain in other ways in spite of the sacrifices. TWTIATESS is a rough draft for the more disciplined BORN TO RUN, and I think that it bests Springsteen’s debut in that it consistently finds a tension in the sequencing between the pathos staying in place and the risk of leaving to gamble on a sense of freedom and independence. It may be sprawling and ungainly but its never less than fun, and it more or less introduces the lyrical oppositions that give the longer albums their literary sophistication.

    • Yeah, I didn’t get into the lyrics of this album in my write-up, but you’re right, especially on the best songs–that “Born to Run” tension between romanticism and realism (or risk and stability) is strong through-line here. Lyrically, this is a much stronger album than Asbury Park, for that reason and for the reason that the music allows the lyrics to breathe.

      • Son of Griff

        During my teenage years, Thomas Wolfe and Walt Whitman were my literary inspirations, and Springsteen was my main man when it came to rock and roll. The romantic transformation of place and community, told in a grandiose fashion, has always appealed to me, even before I knew that it was a sensibility that would shape my tastes across a wide range of cultural material. If one was to make this album their introduction to the Boss without an emotional connection to the album’s thematic tensions and expansive aesthetic, it might be a turn off. All I know is that I can’t be objective about it.

  • edibletalkingchairs .

    Good to have this series back, love the write up.

  • Conor Malcolm Crockford

    I wouldn’t disagree on New York Serenade being ungainly and a clear rough draft for other Bruce projects but by the time you hit the finale you’re swept into that beautiful feeling of the strings and Bruce hollering with everything in him. I saw him live and he opened with Serenade – I got teary.

    • I think that would be true of me if I bought into the album more as a whole.

      What I would give to see Springsteen live, though.