Bruce Springsteen “Best of Bruce Springsteen”

Sony/Legacy, 2024

A good introduction to the work of one of the great artists, which should prompt a new listener to dig further.

What in 2024 constitutes the best of Bruce Springsteen and can it be encapsulated on one CD or a double LP? Coinciding with the man and his E Street Band picking up their postponed dates from last year on a trek round Europe that lasts from May to July 2024, this new compilation is clearly aimed at those attending their first Springsteen show and looking to do some homework.

As such it’s a pretty good basic summary of Springsteen’s career that would leave someone new to his music either encouraged to dig deeper, or happy with a slice of his best radio-friendly moments. This clearly isn’t aimed at even the casual long-term fan, who would inevitably find something that could have been improved. Sequencing it in chronological order makes sense but does leave material from the relatively low-key ‘Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.’ opening the album with ‘Growin’ Up.’ You might argue that the recognition factor of ‘Blinded by the Light’ might have been a better bet. The extended download/stream only version (31 tracks compared to the physical product’s 18) adds ‘Spirit in the Night’ from his first album.

The album kicks into life with one of Clarence Clemons’ finest moments on ‘Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)’, followed by ‘Born To Run’ and ‘Thunder Road.’’ If you aren’t convinced by then you may very well never be.

The selection covers most aspects of Springsteen’s career, from the hits like ‘Born In the USA’ to the acoustic folk of ‘Atlantic City’ from Nebraska. That last song prompts the thought that something from a live album would have been nice to have as even on record the dynamism of his live performances’ shines through.

With the last compilation issued in 2012, the one surprise is how little material from the last 10 years appears here. On the physical release that amounts to ‘Hello Sunshine’ from 2019’s ‘Western Stars’ and the title track of the following year’s “Letter to You’. The digital version only adds the latter album’s ‘Ghosts.’ But as an introduction to the bits of Springsteen you might have sung along to on the radio this is worth investigating

How do you score an album like this? Music that’s probably familiar to most AUK readers. As a way of piquing interest in Springsteen amongst a new generation, it must score highly. Likewise, as a promotional exercise, it’s high fives all round in Sony’s marketing department. But any album has to stand or fall as a listening experience, so that is what gets it the score below.


About Tim Martin 247 Articles
Sat in my shed listening to music, and writing about some of it. Occasionally allowed out to attend gigs.
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