Bruce Springsteen / The PromiseT

The PromiseThe Promise is an album by Bruce Springsteen released on November 16, 2010.[1] It is a double CD compilation of previously unreleased songs drawing from the Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions. The album is also available as part of the box set The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story.

The Analysis: Disc One

Racing In The Street—-One of the first things you notice about this release is that despite the age of the songs and the history, this is so current and fresh you would thing the incarnation was yesterday. Springsteen sounds lonelier than ever and delivers some remarkable harmonica all through this ‘story-song’ that has helped to formulate his career. If you like Nebraska era Springsteen, you will LOVE this release!

Gotta Get That Feeling—-Sounding a bit more dated but delivered with a remarkable energy, Springsteen shows us the huge plethora of songs that he must have hidden everywhere from all of his recording sessions. This is huge…the saxophone from Clarence is incredible and the voice..sounds remarkably fresh but weathered with just that right Bruce touch. This is fantastic!!!

Outside Looking In—-This particular track is one of my favorites from this release! There is a raw energy that is not to be found in the current Springsteen output…his vocal is driven and delivered with an air of anger. the music is consistent and on par with the best stuff that he and the Band have ever produced. This has a full and fresh sound…I love this!!!

Someday [We’ll Be Together]—-Returning to a much more familiar Nebraska/Tunnel Of Love sound, this song features some nice back drop female singers..rounding out the song and giving it a nice epic feel. This has a slight religious and anthemic sound to it…perhaps it is the organ and the full band sound. This is just CLASSIC stuff!!!

One Way Street—-From the onset, you are struck by the remarkable melancholy sound of this whole damn thing!!! This is a beautiful song…delivered with a poignant feel and a classic sedate Bruce style that really allows you to hear every word…feel the story and get a huge bite of Americana….one of the best storytellers of our time!!!

Because The Night—-Made much more famous by the incomparable Patti Smith, this version of the Springsteen penned masterpiece takes on even more energy and urgency than imaginable. Although Bruce performs this pretty regular;ly now, at one time this was very hard to find….this is just brilliant. Always a favorite song of mine, it is nice to have a version that is NOT live!!!

Wrong Side Of The Street—-Delivering a nice retro feel, this song is much more reminiscent of the classic Springsteen that started the career off for him. This is energetic and full of an Americana sound that just fills me with energy and nostalgia….who would have thought this brand of music would have lasted all of these years? You cannot deny the genius of the whole damn thing…just remarkable stuff…raw and energetic!!!

The Broken Hearted—-Full of quasi Alt-Country sounds….way before anyone had any idea what that was, Springsteen delivers a song that is pretty damn intense. If you listen to the words, the impact is immediate…when you add the mellow music, full of resplendent keyboards and horns, you are almost devastated. This is AMAZING!!!

Rendezvous—-Song placement is always key for me, and this CD allows for a monumental task…the place ment of songs is damn near perfect though…adding the rock-based tracks in masterfully well with the more Country felt songs. This is phenomenal…allowing for the re-entrance of the saxophone from Clarence and always really incredible drumming from Max….this is a band that was so tight…just incredible!!!

Candy’s Boy—-This is much more reminiscent of some of the stuff from The River release than the Darkness sessions…this is a full on story delivered remarkably well in about 4 and a half minutes…just remarkable. Bruce sounds so lonely and dejected…the organ keyboards add huge levels of emotion to the song and the band sounds tight as hell. This is pretty damn historical!!!

Disc Two:

Save My Love—-This is good stuff….the song finds Bruce delivering a vocal that is a bit higher than his normal tone…allowing for urgency and the conclusion of the message! This just shows his willingness to stretch and work on his voice….the vocal pushed much more to the back…as the band really takes over the song…in a classic E-Street way!

Ain’t Good Enough For You—-This is a much more honky-tonk style track that at times manages to get on my nerves. as the piano takes over the song, the pounding becomes a bit to much for me. this reminds me of very early Tom Petty….really, the music produced by these two entities are pretty entwined!

Fire—-Made huge with a Disco infusion by The Pointer Sisters, I much more prefer the seductive delivery that Bruce manages to load this song with. This is fantastic stuff and still shows even further the versatility of Springsteen and his writing capabilities…the man knows a damn good melody when he writes on…this is clear!!!

Spanish Eyes—-Returning to a full on Alt-Country sound that is full of the kind of tales that only Bruce can conjure up, this is an incredible song. I love the laid back and lazy feel of the song…even though the lyrics are sexually charged and full of a seductive quality. This is just fantastic…I will be listening to this for quite sometime!!!

It’s A Shame—-Slow, sexy and delivered with a guitar sexiness that is addictive, Bruce enters with a lazy vocal that further adds to the sexiness of the song. This is just incredible stuff…allowing some nice back drop vocals from Steven, you again question how old this stuff really is…this is incredible….I can’t get enough of this!!!

Come On [Let’s Go Tonight]—-This could have very well come from The River sessions….reminding me of many of the songs from that release…one has to wonder if that release was already well ‘written’ by the time this previous release came out..these sessions seemed to have produced a huge wealth of material. This is just wonderful…melancholic, intense and full of touching lyrics…one of America’s great singer/songwriters!!!

Talk To Me—-Allowing the band to once again take the spotlight, the vocal again seems almost secondary to the song. This is full of a nice saxophone laden track that switches back and forth between the organ and the drums…delivering a huge Americana sound that is just addictive as hell. Bruce delivers a classic vocal…seductive, inquisitive and driving…this is so nice…this almost reminds me of Elvis Costello for some reason?

The Little Things [My Baby Does]—-This band works so well together…I’m sure they were just as amazed when back a while ago, Bruce decided to start recording ‘solo’ records. This has never sounded better…one of the best things Springsteen ever did was to re assemble the E-Street conglomerate. This is classic stuff…that the whole band contributes to!

Breakaway—-Returning to that much more sedate and almost acoustic sound, the remarkable thing about the quiet nature of the song is the realization that there is a huge band that is playing behind this guy. The E-Street band is not a little affair…there is about a dozen of them isn’t there? You would never know that from the quiet and restrained delivery of this song…just magnificent!!!

The Promise—-The title track to this release finds Springsteen delivering another of those huge story songs that would have fit so well on the Nebraska release I again wonder how many songs like this that this man must have up his sleeve. This is remarkable…poignant and delivered in a remarkably clear voice, this is classic stuff. I could never ask for more from this release…a cornerstone, a highlight and a favorite!!!

City Of Night—-Clocking in at over 7 minutes, this is perhaps the most ‘demo’ sounding track on this release. This really reminds me of Elvis Costello and his recurrent Country fixation. This is damn near perfect…allowing a spotlight for every member of the by one you hear the emerging sounds and you are left with only the best taste in your mouth…this is fantastic…I can only hope that there is much more to come!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]


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