Wednesday, April 13, 2016

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 273: Listen to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.”

Bruce Springsteen is one of the most iconic American musical performers of all time, but his best known albums, liked 1984’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” were produced when I was very young. Even though I’ve been familiar with a number of his songs for years, I couldn’t honestly say that I’d ever listened to any of his albums from start to finish. For that reason, a couple of years ago, I put “Born in the U.S.A.” on my official “bucket list.”

On Friday, I finally got the chance to listen to this classic album from start to finish, and since then I’ve actually listened to it a couple more times. While listening to it through for the first time, I recognized a number of songs from this album, and I also experienced a couple of “aha!” moments. Having now listened to the whole album in its entirety, I can see why it’s so highly regarded.

In fact, it’s so highly regarded that you’ll find it ranked No. 86 on Rolling Stone magazine’s prestigious list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Other Springsteen albums on that list include “Born to Run” (No. 18), “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle” (No. 133), “Darkness on the Edge of Town” (No. 150), “Nebraska” (No. 226), “The River” (No. 253), “The Rising” (No. 424) and “Tunnel of Love” (No. 467). Any artist would be fortunate to have one album listed on this famous “best of” list, but to have eight on the list really says something about Springsteen’s talent and reputation.

“Born in the U.S.A.” is 46 minutes and 57 seconds long and features 12 songs, all of which were written by Springsteen. Songs on the album include “Born in the U.S.A.,” “Cover Me,” “Darlington County,” “Working on the Highway,” “Downbound Train,” “I’m on Fire,” “No Surrender,” “Bobby Jean,” “I’m Goin’ Down,” “Glory Days,” “Dancing in the Dark” and “My Hometown.” “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Glory Days” are the two most famous songs on the album, and those songs and five others all reached Top-10 singles status.

Perhaps the reason why “Born in the U.S.A.” is so enduringly popular is because it’s chock full of American imagery. Throughout the entire album, lyrics reference small town life, service in the military and baseball. I didn’t hear any references to mom’s apple pie, but it would have fit nicely among all the other references to American culture.

If you’ve never listened to “Born in the U.S.A.,” I highly recommend that you check it out sometime. For me, the album was “easily listening,” and I was definitely left with the desire to listen to the album over and over again. I can’t say this about some of the other albums I’ve listened to as part of my “bucket list” project.

In the end, how many of you have listened to “Born in the U.S.A.”? What did you think about it? Which of Springsteen’s other albums would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

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