My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Darkness on the Edge of Town is fourth studio album by Bruce Springsteen. The album was recorded from October 1977 through March 1978. In that time the band would record at least a portion of 52 different songs, many not making the album because they didn’t fit the theme would go on to be hit songs for other musicians. These include “Because the Night” for Patti Smith and “Fire” for The Pointer Sisters.
What I think: To put is simply, this album is not perfect song-wise. It’s is perfect though as a study of real life in the face of getting older.
I see it this way, Born to Run was the idea that there is a place a person can run to that they can be happy. The place you grew up sucks, but that ideal place exists where you and your partner can run to in order to find that perfect life and realize all of your dreams. It’s a young persons’ delusion. Darkness on the Edge of Town is the realization that a new place isn’t going to make everything better and even though that place you grew up still sucks you will still have problems elsewhere. You can find bursts of happiness in external things, but it won’t last and you will experience pain, hurt and disappointment down the road. What a depressing album huh? It sure is, and it’s an idea that Springsteen would really explore through his whole career.
It’s something that really hit me about the time I hit twenty-five years of age and I really relate to it. I always felt like I would find that place, thing or job that would make me happy. The truth on the other side though and the secret to that struggle is you need to somehow make peace with yourself, the things you’ve said and done and then you can find a sort of happiness… which shows itself in satisfaction and contentment. Something will come along again to throw that off balance and you have to react, pivot, accept and move forward. It’s a repeating cycle. You can’t achieve your dreams and right off into the sunset.
My favorite songs here are really the “four corners”. Badlands is one of my most favorite Springsteen songs. I love the picture that “Racing in the Street” paints. “The Promised Land” is really an ear worm and the album closes with “Darkness on the Edge of Town” which offers no resolution or peace to the listener.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I do agree, I love that it’s a true concept album, it’s exploring a difficult aspect of our lives and it does so very effectively.
Rating (Out of 5): 4.5 /5
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (100/420)
Amount that are new to me: 76%