Lo-fi home recordings alienated fan originally, but make the perfect soundtrack to a Sunday
For years I was very anti-The Boss. It had nothing to do with my parents over playing him in the car on holidays. Far from it. We’ve never spoken about him, but I don’t think they are that bothered. I didn’t have his music rammed down my throat by housemates at uni either. Nor did any of my friends ever have an obsession with him growing up. But somehow I’d just got in my head that, to put it short, he wasn’t very good. This is an opinion I held for years. Then something happened. I heard this album and I finally ‘got it’.
Nebraska was recorded and in 1982 on a basic four-track recorder. Originally the tracks was meant to serve as demos to show the rest of the E-Street Band what his new material was like. However after hearing these stripped versions Springsteen really liked this new sound and direction and decided to release them as his next album.
When they album was originally released it divided opinion. Fans and critics weren’t prepared for the Boss sounding this intimate and stripped back. Over the years though the albums true beauty and importance has been understood. Stripped back albums weren’t anything new in 1982, but they were for Springsteen. After a run of loud and fun albums the Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town and the River an acoustic lo-fi album wasn’t on the cards.
So this leads me to today. I woke up in a slightly reflective mood. I wanted to listen to something that wasn’t going to be jarring. I originally thought a bit of Philip Glass was in order, but at the last minute I thought better of it, as he can be, well, a bit hypnotic, psychotic and grating if you aren’t in the mood. I then thought about Kate Tempest-Brand New Ancients and Tom Waits-Nighthawks At The Diner, but while they are fine albums that suited my mood, they were a bit too long. In the end I decided on Nebraska. It was a fitting album for the day. If there is a better way to start a Sunday then I need to be told about it. This is an album that I recommend everyone to hear at least once. It shows a great artist and song writer at the height of his powers. The fact that he chose to make an album that was the opposite of what people were expecting should be commended and praised.