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  Listen Up! 11/17/03 Listen Up!

Monday, Nov. 17

Bruce Springsteen, “The Essential Bruce Springsteen,” Columbia Records. Today, I’m listening to the first disc of this collection. While I’m not always a big fan of the chronological approach to greatest hits collections, I can’t argue with listening to all these songs from the first six albums all in a row. Of course, I could probably find an excuse to listen to the first six – heck, make that eight – Springsteen albums back to back some glorious future day, when they’re all actually available in remastered CD versions. Until then, this will do, and I’m not gonna complain about anything. The early jazzy songs, the glorious uplifting rock’n’roll symphonies like “Rosalita” and “Born to Run,” the constant move towards saying more with less words and fewer chords, the drive, the sustenance, the faith that this music could be the most meaningful thing in our lives. The second disc will find that faith challenged, and Springsteen met that challenge in a variety of ways. But the first disc, even when it gets dark, is about as perfect a distillation of rock’n’roll’s communal nature as you’ll find.

--Steve Pick

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