A Heart-Acheing Work Of Staggering Genius

Writing at Vulture.com, Caryn Rose ranks all 314 Bruce Springsteen songs 1 from worst to first.

First things first:  Rose found a break on one of the primary laws of Springsteen-fandom; there actually is a song worse than “Mary, Queen Of Arkansas” (from 1973’s Greetings From Asbury Park).  I won’t ruin the surprise.

But otherwise, it was a herculean job.  And by the time you get to the top 100, it had to be hard to rank ’em.  But she did a decent job.

I said “decent”. Not perfect.   There is no way “41 Shots” (#22) outscores “She’s the One (#24), among many other examples.

I’m here for the perfect.  I’ll do the real top 10.

  1. Born to Run
  2. Darkness on the Edge of Town
  3. This Hard Land
  4. Racing In The Street
  5. Thunder Road
  6. The Promised Land
  7. Rosalita
  8. The River
  9. Night
  10. Atlantic City

Still, a noble – and needed – effort.

1 That is to say, songs written by Springsteen that appeared on commercial releases.   Sorry, Seeger Sessions and forty years of “Steel Mill” bootlegs.

7 thoughts on “A Heart-Acheing Work Of Staggering Genius

  1. Some of my personal faves (“Candy’s Room,” “Kitty’s Back,” “Meeting Across the River”) aren’t as obviously great as the 10 you identify, or the 10 Rose identifies, but limiting the best to just 10 is almost impossible.

    What I get from this list is that he’s left a lot of product in his wake over the last 10-20 years that I haven’t heard. Time to start exploring.

  2. As many have noted, Bruce’s songs aren’t silly love songs. Sets him apart. See the top ten. I’d say The River is my top one.

    I’d like to nominate the worst Springsteen song (with an asterisk as its a live tune)……”We Shall Overcome”. I just find it annoying when a man worth $350,000,000 and who owns 4 homes, including a country estate (similar to the gilded age robber barons), leads a few thousand upper-middle class aging white people……oh, you get the idea. Of course I see his point. Bruce can’t put a dress on and use the girls bathroom in North Carolina.

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  4. I don’t remember Mitch if I ever told you that on top of what you called the holy trinity how much I like Tunnel of Love. On the vinyl, side two is just shattering. A brilliant album, no song I can call out as a favorite.

    PS: well maybe Brilliant Disguise

  5. But as to top 10?

    Point Blank (I know, no one cites this one. One of the most powerful songs ever recorded)
    No Surrender
    The River
    Promised Land
    Darkness On the Edge of Town
    Brilliant Disguise
    Tougher Than the Rest (listen to the lyrics)
    Lucky Town

  6. Sorry people, but I have never cared for Springy. Perhaps because my brother in law is a literal groupie, attending at least 5 of his gigs per year, plays his stuff incessantly and has his house covered in his swag.

    But, to each there own.

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