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CD Reviews:  Review of Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.  by Bruce Springsteen

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At last! The rock-n-roll savior who will ultimately rescue the world from the horror of disco bursts onto the scene in a massive rush of words. In Greetings, Bruce Springsteen's first studio effort, he's clearly a man with much to say, and apparently in a great hurry to get it all out. The beauty and the brilliance are already evident, but the stories are obscured by a gritty poetry, crammed full of words that are rhythmic, but hardly enlightening.

Though Bruce may be greeting us from Jersey, this album clearly spends a lot of time across the river. It has a sweaty, jazzy, downtown NYC feel, and a laughing, street-smart sexuality. We watch as Bruce swaggers down the street in "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City" and tag along on a boozy picnic to the country in "Spirit in the Night." We listen as he rhapsodizes on the insolence of youth in "Growin' Up," and shudder as he warbles through "Mary Queen of Arkansas," a song, clearly, only a mother could love. Beyond that, we must rely on our imaginations to lead us through the nearly impenetrable tangle of words and phrases that enticingly clutters the rest of the album. David Sancious' piano and organ are used to set the tone throughout, as Springsteen's guitar, and Clarence Clemmons' normally soaring sax, are held in check. 

Greetings From Asbury Park certainly doesn't have anything resembling the full-throttled rock anthems "The Boss" will later become famous for -- though the omnipresent cars and motorcycles are already a fixture. With only a couple second-tier hits, and lacking that Springsteenesque polish and confidence, this album shouldn't be considered for a first plunge into Springsteen. For connoisseurs, however, it's a must-have.

~Mike Barkacs

Other Bruce Springsteen reviews:
The Rising (2002) : Feedback - Link to Us  - About B-E - FAQ - Advertise with Us

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