Bruce Springsteen

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Cruyff14

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52) Prove It All Night (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)

Prove It All Night comes charging at you head first with conviction and force.

Had the ’78 intro been recorded on the album, Prove It’s status would be almost God-like. The piano to open, followed soon after by the drums, and the guitar which knocks your socks off with its power is an incredible start. It highlights Bruce Springsteen’s ability as a guitarist – and really shows how great he is. The slow build which follows before everything comes together to form a tidal of wave of sound is incredible.

Even without the ’78 intro, Prove It packs plenty of punch and isn’t afraid to set you straight.

There’s lots to love about Prove It All Night. The solo is outrageously good, but not before the sax solo that precedes it sets precedence. The solid drum performance, the gritty vocal track, the backing vocals provided by Stevie, and the vocal trade offs toward the end, cap off a fine track, but not before another guitar solo sets the track alight once again.


51) Hitch Hikin’ (Western Stars)

Bruce sure knows how to nail opening songs an albums, and Hitch Hikin’ is no different.

The strings are full and lush, the vocal is warm and the acoustic guitar is charming.

I almost feel Hitch Hikin’ wants to get out of third gear but can’t quite make it, sadly.

A great opener nonetheless though and the imagery used is clear and concise.



50) Devil’s Arcade (Magic)

Devil’s Arcade is another one of those tracks that can haunt you.

The organ at the beginning is a phenomenal start and slowly sets the mood. It stirs and swirls around you uncomfortably before the violin takes off some of the edge.

The composition of this track is tight and you can feel the increasing tension with each passing moment.

The guitar solo is fiery and driven with the intensity it deserves.

Devil’s Arcade reaches its peak toward the end of the vocal where the line “the beat of your heart” is repeated, over and over, with crashing drums backing it.

As the song draws to a close, the drums are mimicking a heartbeat, when all of a sudden they fall silent, in a stunning end.



49) Roulette (Tracks)

Again, imagine how great The River could have been.

Roulette is ferocious in its musical pursuit and does not allow you to ever catch your breath. It explodes to life immediately and takes you on a rocking ride for its timespan as this hits you with an adrenaline shot straight to the heart.

The drumming is outstandingly intense and Bruce sings like he can’t spit the words out venomously fast enough.

This song stands next Adam as his angriest song in my opinion. It is relentless and leaves absolutely no one standing in its wake.



48) Born In The USA (Born In The USA)

What’s not to love about this? If you were to define stadium rock in a song, this is the track that would be the blueprint.

Born In The USA is an absolute powerhouse on every front that leaves nothing to your imagination. That thumping drum beat, one of the most powerful vocal performances he’s given and an absolute killer track live.

The incredible omnipotence this generates at a show is second to none for me.

Hands down one of Max’s best performances. It’s tight and there is no nonsense about it at all. His fills and licks throughout are perfect and when he gets his chance in the spotlight, you’d almost need another one there he’s that good. There’s no mercy shown to that kit, and rightly so.

And those screams towards the end are primal and can shake you to your core if you allow them to.

It’s also worth noting how great the bass is in this song too. Penetrating.

It took on a whole deeper meaning too after seeing it on Broadway. The thought of “who went in my place?” is still powerful to this day and leaves shockwaves in my mind when you consider the gravity of the statement.



47) Meet Me In The City (The River Outtakes)

There is absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, that leaving Meet Me In The City off The River was a humungous oversight.

The tracks screams fun, shouts party, and forces you to dance uncontrollably.

It’s got everything the best songs on The River in abundance, and sometimes, it does things better than those songs do. The furious opening drum beat, the organs, the power and surge of the guitars, Meet Me In The City hits you at 100 miles an hour and will not stop.

I mean, that sax solo halfway through makes you want to jump, scream, and shout out loud. Oh, and the bass in the breakdown? Man, THAT is great.

This song does so many things right and ticks so many boxes. I don’t know how it didn’t turn into a staple. It’d be among his best openers, hands down.



46) Western Stars (Western Stars)

Western Stars is the jewel in the crown of this album.

It’d be right at home in a western film.

Western Stars tells us the story of a washed up actor, who was once well renowned, but now, those glory days are gone.

The slide guitar adds a great dimension to this track, and when it is paired with the piano, the brushes on the drums and the acoustic guitar, it does not feel out of place in the slightest.

After the slow build, by the time we reach the second verse, the orchestral movement has begun and the strings sound incredibly lush and full.

The last verse is where it really comes together in one sweeping movement. You can really feel the energy taken up a few notches. The orchestra is flawless and it’s easy to be transported away with the sound it’s creating.



45) The Promised Land (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)

The Promised Land announces itself with the fantastic harmonica intro that is so instantly recognizable.

Undoubtedly, the song is one of his strongest lyrically, and themes of blue collar work are revisited.

The sax solo has a sense of yearning and wonder about it, while the harmonica that follows straight after, leads you down a road more certain.

The final harmonica solo sends out a sense of triumph, and adds a full stop for us being convinced the character is now a man.

Stripped back, the song seems to gain this mystical sense about it and while the E-Street Band may not be able to emphasise some things, the vocal steps up to the plate and delivers a knockout blow.

And if the ‘blow away’ trade offs don’t make you want to see this guy succeed, then I’m lost for words.

 

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Ford Fairlane

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Has, it appears you're right.

Thoughts on this latest batch?
I'm really just enjoying the ride. There are songs I would have in different positions, some I wouldn't have at all but hey you're the one doing the hard work and putting yourself out there!

There isn't a song I don't like just some I like more than others. And I love seeing some little known gems coming up and making me okay more attention to them.

Also as I'm sure you find, sometimes it depends on how you feel at a given time. I'm a bit of a fan of big anthemic songs but the beauty of some of the haunting dusty road, late night evocation of other songs is irresistible.

Still early too, looking forward to your top 20.
 

Cruyff14

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44) My Love Will Not Let You Down (Tracks)

My Love Will Not Let You Down comes charging at you, as fast as it can, like a bull in a china shop.

It is relentless, unforgiving, powerful and will leave nothing standing in its path.

The guitars here are strong, the drumming pushes things along at an urgent pace, and the piano lends its support to the cause.

Three electric guitars, with multiple solos, pounding drums with a drum solo, a ripping vocal performance full of conviction, what’s not to love?


43) Atlantic City (Nebraska)

Atlantic City has so much swagger and attitude about it. The big, booming beat, with the gritty vocal is a perfect combination for this track. Saying all that, I am obviously referring to the full band version, which blows the studio version out of the water for me.

The drums are the highlight for me throughout, but the organ is also stellar itself, as well as the mandolin.

The simmering in the last two or so minutes is great before the slow build and an an eruption of sound takes over.



42) Maria’s Bed (Devil’s & Dust)

Maria’s Bed warming tenderness pulls you in and lets you stay in close.

Maria’s Bed is our character’s safe place it appears, or a place that seems to offer solace when things aren’t going so well.

The studio cut has a large country feel to it, particularly with its instrumentation and the twan it’s sung with.

The live versions are slightly different; the twang is gone and it’s just acoustic guitar and harmonica.

In either format, the song is a success.



41) Livin’ Proof (Lucky Town)

Livin’ Proof is profoundly deep and dives in to the journey of the birth of his son, Evan.

It’s raw, and we’re privy to a slight glimpse into the soul of the man.

The lyrics are powerful, and the imagery is strong – particularly from the very beginning.

It’s easy to picture that vivid image of mother, father and newborn sitting in this “dusky room”, but we are told boldly that the birth of his son has made him see the light in a world that may have been dark for many years prior.

I love the whole final verse. Life can be fragile, but if you’ve found happiness and salvation with those you love, it doesn’t matter, because you’re in it together, and you’ve found that Livin’ Proof.

I’m not father – yet – but I got a feeling I will connect with this even more so when that time does arrive.



40) Long Walk Home (Magic)

Long Walk Home may possibly be the best thing Bruce Springsteen has written in the 21st Century.

The opening bars of the song give off a sense that what is to come seems bright, but things quickly change. The lyrics tell the story of a man who comes home but recognises nothing in his sight. Everything feels foreign, and people are like “rank strangers.”

There is grit and determination in Long Walk Home that is admirable. Each snap of the snare reiterating as much.

Both sax solos are great in their own right, and the closing solo has a feeling of nostalgia about it and a sense of longing.



39) Human Touch (Human Touch)

The synth and keys in Human Touch are subtle enough to miss, but if you listen for them, they’re a great addition to the song, even if they’re tucked away.

When the song goes up a few notches around the two minute mark, you can hear the force that’s being created. The vocal is more urgent, and that solo is full of attitude and swagger.

Things drop off - but only temporarily. The last few minutes of Human Touch you can hear everything go up a gear. The vocal performance is tremendous as he shouts the lyrics in an unnerving display of belief.

The solo at the end is a dominant showing, and with the band in full swing prior, it’s so easy to be swept away with the E-Street Band in all their glory.

The train metaphor is great too, and I thinks speaks a lot for where his mind was at the time of writing.



38) She’s The One (Born To Run)

She’s The One is electrifying from the very beginning. It’s furiously paced piano is merciless, and the commanding drumming replicating a heartbeat are a fantastic combination which only can leave you wanting more.

After the first chorus, everything comes together and the power is turned up. The electric guitar is full of authority and you can hear it in every note letting you know it’s the boss. The beat remains the same, but it becomes more thumping in the verses and has an extra layer of power and conviction behind every hit of those toms.

The sax solo is full of passion, conviction, determination and it drives the song forward even more so.

She’s The One can leave you breathless by its conclusion, and it’s worth it every time.



37) Take Em As They Come (Tracks)

If Take Em As They Come wouldn’t have felt right at home on The River, then I am not sure what would have.

The upbeat melody hides the song’s sadder story, much like Dancing In The Dark.

The guitar takes the lead on this track as it takes us on the circa four minute journey.

Both Steve and Patti’s backing vocals are excellent. The underlying bass is a solid foundation, as is the piano.

One of the best hidden gems in his catalogue for me.

Good story leading into this:

 

Cruyff14

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36) Long Time Comin’ (Devil’s & Dust)

This would be another track that could lay claim – in my opinion – to one of the best he’s written in the 21st Century.

Long Time Comin’ is another song about fatherhood – to an extent

There is so much hope in its opening chords that make you feel like life is on the up. It’s odd, but Long Time Comin’ is a song that gives me a tremendous feeling of like anything I want to achieve is possible, and nothing can stop that. I feel reborn listening to the guitar.

There are plenty of life lessons that can be taken from this song.

Well if I had one wish for you in this god forsaken world, kid
It'd be that your mistakes will be your own
That your sins will be your own



He wants his children to learn from their mistakes, and in fact make them, so they have a better grasp and understanding on life, and not make the same mistakes he did as his own father.

The final verse is powerful especially with its last line “and I ain’t gonna fu** it up this time”. He wants to better himself, for his own sake, and the his own future child.

And could the Rosie mentioned be Rosalita? Who knows?

The track is an absolute masterpiece.



35) Dancing In The Dark (Born In The USA)

From a personal standpoint, Dancing In The Dark created the spark to burn so strongly for me 19 years ago.

There is so much more to this song than meets the eye – or ear.

Under the incredibly upbeat melody there is a deep and moody story in there, and it shows the vulnerability of human beings. It’s a cry for help.

Our character, possibly Bruce himself is in a world of discontent.

“Man, I'm just tired and bored with myself
Hey there, baby, I could use just a little help

I check my look in the mirror
Wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man, I ain't gettin' nowhere
I'm just livin' in a dump like this”


Unhappiness has sprung both internally and within his own view of himself.

Dancing is fun, incredibly exciting and uplifting, joyous and it’s so easy to ride the wave of happiness it creates. You can lose yourself in it all and drift away.

The synths are out of this world good, the sax solo is great and that 80s drum sound couldn’t get any better if it tried, the vocal is also incredibly strong too.

But man, what a track.



34) Secret Garden (Greatest Hits)

Secret Garden doesn’t aim to knock you out. It sits you down, gets you comfortable and it puts its arm around you and makes you feel at ease.

It is flawlessly beautiful in so many ways. The synth, the brushes on the drums, the acoustic guitar, the piano, the calming vocal. It’s utterly perfect in every sense of the word.

And the fact the sax solo was completely played ad-lib adds to this song’s charm even more. The bass paired with it full and warming. A perfect combination.

I heard it by chance about 15 years ago and fell instantly in love with it – and an obsession, which few songs have managed to hold over me, took control. I played it on repeat, over and over, day after day, for months.

I guess the moral of the story is, no matter how much someone loves you, or you them, there will always be a place, deep, deep inside that you’ll never get in, or they’ll never get in and it will stay a million miles away. That’s the Secret Garden.

Secret Garden, for me is the best ballad he’s written.



33) Seaside Bar Song (Tracks)

Seaside Bar Song is one big party. It screams summer time, fun, parties and holidays. The drum and keys pairing with the guitar rumbling away at the beginning is a great kickstart and this song makes you want to enjoy life. And how can we forget the horns! If you could turn summer fun into a song, this would be a great place to start.

The lyrics come thick and fast – much like many songs did in the Greetings era – and there are so many wonderful one off lines that sit so well amongst everything.

Girls on the corner like a diamond they shine
I'm gonna live a life of love and tonight you're the one
The highway is alive tonight so baby do not be frightened
The radio man finally understands and plays you something you can move to
Your girl leans over and says, "Daddy, can you turn that radio up any louder?"


I mean, the imagery there is great too, but to construct a song and get some of those lines in there is remarkable. Those last two (which appear right after another) are bang on.

I can’t get enough of the keys here. Simply brilliant.



32) Lonely Night In The Park

Disclaimer: This track has not been released officially in any format. It’s not on any album, it’s not even in Stories Behind The Songs. The only way I found it was by complete and utter chance, on YouTube.

Lonely Night In The Park springs to life full of happiness and enthusiasm with that drum opening. The guitar sits well in the mix and the bass sounds so lush and full.

It’d be right at home during the summer. It has a vibe about it that exudes the feeling of summer. Night time drinking, warm nights, summer breezes and the like.

The first verse I find a bit of a mish mash, it sounds like Johnny may be at strip club, and he’s looking for love, but knows he won’t find it here with the people that offer a sad look and soft hands. Leading into the chorus, I think the three lines that precede it are incredibly strong for a song that has not been released in an official capacity;

And if you're looking for someone to steal your heart
Someone tough enough to take it
Someone to keep it or to tear it apart
Someone to love you, someone to fake it


The second verse sees a shift to a bar, and the protagonist is keen to get some action. Someone has caught his eye, and I love the conviction here in which these lines are sung. There is a real swagger and confidence in their delivery.

This is your chance, you're going to take it
If she can dance, you can make it


Suddenly they’re at the beach and seem to be about to make love. We’re then suddenly pushed back to the chorus reminded that our guy is lonely.

The bridge has great imagery – which seems to be about the Asbury Park boardwalk. This person is alone here. But it’s not something he is used to experiencing. It seems he’s used to the boardwalk being full of life, but now, the only thing that is resembling that is the wind, which has cleverly been used to describe the scene, and because everything is so lifeless, he’s bored by the scenery.

The vocal break after the bridge is nothing spectacular, but it holds its own. The chords sound the same (I think), and I love the crashing drums, the highlight is the bass which stands up, front and centre.

We get another great character introduction too with Kid Blue in the third verse, where they are now drinking beneath the pier. But just like everything else, our character has wound up alone once again.

I can see why it was left off Born To Run considering the last minute is literally just repeating the chorus, but I really feel had he sat down and finished it (assuming that it was still in a working phase), there’d be a gem of a track here.



31) Tenth Avenue Freeze Out (Born To Run)


Tenth Avenue Freeze announces itself with joy. The horns and piano are brilliant, the vocal is raw and sounds so innocent and jubilant. If you’re going to have a party, this is the blueprint the playlist should follow.

I can just imagine this being recorded with a huge smile on his face as it was being sung.

The song transformed itself on Broadway and I have an even deeper appreciation for it than I previously did. I think the versions on just the piano surpass the full band counterparts in some aspects. There is a rawness and tenderness to it with just the piano.

There is a key line in Tenth which can serve as a good life motto

“I'm gonna sit back right easy and laugh”

Sometimes, that’s all you need to do.

Piano acoustic. Do yourselves a favour. You won’t regret it. The vocal is flawless.



30) Tunnel of Love (Tunnel of Love)

Tunnel of Love demonstrates what an excellent songwriter Bruce is. Because of the music, the song’s title sounds like a ride at a theme park, but the clever use of everything has turned it into an excellent double entendre showcasing the excellent grasp he has on the English language.

The carnival sound it creates at beginning is both unique and intriguing. I think Bruce has nailed the sound perfectly, and in the studio version in particular, it really sticks out. It's completely un-Springsteen altogether, but I can't imagine the song sounding any better if it was done another way.

Where to begin? Some rare work on the drum machine, Bruce smashing it out of the park on the acoustic guitar, the keys are great and really create the melody - to perfection. But the best thing about Tunnel of Love for me are its lyrics combined with its masterful imagery. They represent the phases of a marriage if you look at them carefully.

If we look at verse one, there are wonderful metaphors interwoven throughout. The 'fat man' and his tickets, while they may be entirely metaphorical, they could be interpreted as a good luck to a new couple starting their life together, which neatly ties in to the Tunnel of Love phrase. It is also worth noting, that the fat man, and the tickets also work perfectly with the carnival sounds that accompany the songs intro. And even if they weren't metaphorical, the imagery is so clear, you can virtually see the scene playing out right in front of you. It’s the beginning of a marriage.

Verse two, the marriage is in its honeymoon phase. The couple are enjoying intimacy, and this verse highlights some excellent lyrics - "Then the lights go out and it's just the three of us, You me and all that stuff we're so scared of". It's brilliant, creative writing. The fact he has been able to use a feeling as a third person in the relationship is outstanding in so many ways. It also demonstrates they’re in it together.

The vocal throughout is tight with an air of intensity about it, but it's not overdone. The bridge has his voice full of confusion, angst and uncertainty - which are reflected in the lyrics. The line about tbe 5D mirror is a nod again to tie in with the theme park setting, but also cleverly alludes that you need to laugh, at each other, and with each other. Because, if you take things too seriously, you can “lose each other in this tunnel of love” The room of shadows can get you with ease, and it can harm the relationship. The music – particularly toward the end of the bridge (in the studio cut more so) – also gets more climatic here too, you can really feel it tighten and flex its tension.

Nils solo hits all of the right spots, and Bruce's harmonising vocal with Patti is a great touch.

The final verse though is where it really sums up marriage. It's painted to be so black and white with the first two lines, “It ought to be easy ought to be simple enough Man meets woman and they fall in love” but as always, Bruce adds that splash of colour so effortlessly to show that life, and marriage isn't straightforward. You need to work together, you need to face your challenges together, if you want the marriage to survive, and that you need to accept each others flaws and imperfections. There are things you can’t control and other things that you’re powerless to stop. And life is going to hurl things at you that you aren't going to like, and have trouble dealing with, but it's how you deal with those perversities if you want to come out the other side of the Tunnel Of Love together.

I honestly cannot find any fault in this track. It's outstanding.

 

Cruyff14

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29) Does this Bus Stop at 82nd Street (Greetings From Asbury Park)

Wind all the way back to 1972, and his song writing – for the most part – was yet to fully evolve.

Bus Stop is fun, zany, chaotic, exciting all wrapped up into one. The horns are vibrant and alive, and the drums have a fun sense of urgency about them. The vocal is loose and just as fun as everything else happening.

It was written on a spur of the moment when he was a on bus to New York City, and he was describing what he saw through the window.

Fun fact: The song wouldn’t have made the album – according to Bruce himself – without the line “there’s still hope”

There is a sweet innocence and naivety that lends itself to Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street. It’s hard to describe, but the song sounds so innocent – in a good way – almost like it’s unaware of all the bad things that can happen in life.



28) Meeting Across The River (Born To Run)

Many will point to Meeting Across The River as the weakest song on Born To Run. Boo to them I say. Why does an album need to have a weak song? Aside from the fact it’s a strong album from cover to cover, Meeting serves its purpose exceptionally well.

While Jungleland may be its tougher, cooler, more handsome bigger brother, Meeting is the perfect precursor for what happens in Jungleland.

It is another incredibly haunting song that is very part film noir and part jazz. The imagery is sublime and the quest to generate tension is brilliant.

From the outset, Meeting has you inquisitively on edge. Danger is around the corner, you can hear it, and you can feel it. The trumpet points you in the direction and the piano helps lead the way.

Meeting tells the story of a pair of guys who have themselves in trouble with the mob. They need to get to New York City to pay up on a debt.

Our main character, whose name we never find out, and Eddie, have to pay or they’re dead. Eddie is warned to keep it cool, put something in his pocket that resembles a gun, and dress to be someone they’re not, to impress.

The lyrics are elite and are another notch in the belt to show how great a songwriter he had become.

The use of trumpet here has been executed to perfection. It tailing off towards the end sets the scene for what is to follow….



27) Girls In Their Summer Clothes (Magic)

Girls In Their Summer Clothes succeeds perfectly in creating a great wall of sound. The bass swoops and slides, and is absolutely magnificent throughout (particularly in the intro), the vocal is strong and the piano is a more than apt driver.

The key change in the bridge hears his voice being pushed to its limits while still being within his range.

The saxophone solo is lush, warming and uplifting.

It may have suffered a little from overproduction in the studio which made it lose some of its charisma live.

This song is all about that deep, sweeping bass guitar. It’s gorgeous to listen to.

Unfortunately, it’s another song that’s been relegated to the halls of neglect.



26) Land of Hope and Dreams (Live in NYC)

The original version of Land of Hope and Dreams is far superior to the one that appears in Wrecking Ball. It’s got more grunt, more life, more authenticity, more power, but most of all, it’s better.

I love the guitar in the beginning, and the organ is so uplifting. It makes me believe. It makes me smile, and it makes me feel alive.

Land of Hope and Dreams does not discriminate. It is accepting of anyone, and everyone who needs to ride the train that is life. You won’t be judged whether you be a saint, sinner, winner, loser, whore, or gambler. It’s an excellent display of equality and while we may come from different walks of life, it doesn’t make us any better, or worse than anyone else.

The twangy guitar is excellent throughout, the drums are big and booming, the mandolin is an excellent sidekick to the lead guitar. The vocal oozes faith from its pores and it’s not hard to get on board and believe in the message being sent out. The sax solo hits all the right places and does all the good things a sax solo should. I really like the bass here too, you need to listen carefully but it’s wonderful hearing it amongst everything. It’s like an unsung hero. The song’s composition stands up excellently among other heavyweights.

The drum solo may be a little less dominant than other drum solos (ala Born In The USA), but its purpose is not to dominate, but to walk hand in hand with the rest of the track.

I find these lines just give off a tremendous sense of hope here

Big wheels roll through fields
Where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams


Oh, and that final note belted out at the end? Perfection.



25) Streets Of Fire (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)

Streets Of Fire packs plenty of punches and holds back when throwing none of them. It swallows you with in a tidal wave of power.

The organs wail with every note they push out and create a haunting vibe throughout the whole first verse. They are church like in their support, like a minister giving a sermon.

But, come the chorus the E-Street Band explode into life. Drums are crashing, piano is bashing, and the guitar is scorching.

The vocal is full of anger and power, and the guitar solo blows everything away in its radius with unbelievable and unstoppable force. It’d be one of my favourite solos in his catalogue. You can hear the rage in each note, and the pain whenever he bends a note. It is savage and unforgiving the whole way through. It charges right through you and leaves you motionless after it’s done.

The wails towards the end are full of anguish and pain and leave nothing to the imagination.

The vocal is absolutely flawless and is executed with perfection.

Streets Of Fire takes intensity and anger to new heights not before seen at the time of its release.

 

revo333

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Such a great track, that outro is something else.

What's surprised you so far? Has having so many outtakes raised your eyebrows?
You have mentioned a lot of his good stuff that I know already.

My knowledge of his catalogue isn't too deep, I know all of the hits but other than that I'm only familiar with 5 or 6 albums and most of those are from 2000 onwards.

I'm enjoying the countdown though!
 

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Ford Fairlane

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Glad you have Girls in their Summer Clothes up there.

I've heard it dissed a bit as disposable pop, but I really like how faithfully he recreates the 60s pop sound. It reminds me of some classic bands from the era, like the Hollies and evokes memories of those days. That's what you want a great song to do.
 

Cruyff14

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24) Darkness On The Edge Of Town (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)

Darkness is full of grit, power, angst, hurt, pain, intensity and determination.

The vocal is huge in its pursuit of conviction and power. The chorus blows you away with the power behind the vocal alone, let alone what is going on musically behind its power.

This guy has lost his wife or partner it appears, but he won’t go back. If she wants to talk to him, she knows where he can be found. It’s like all care has been abandoned and if they don’t speak, he doesn’t care.

I like in the shift in perspective in the second verse, where at first it’s about trying to keep the secrets we all have, but that train of thought is soon derailed when we’re told it’s cut loose because it’s dragging them down.

Halfway through that last verse there is an enormous burst of furious determination in both the vocal and the music as he exclaims he’ll be on that hill with everything he’s got. And while earlier on in the track you can hear the intensity in the vocal, I feel this is taken up several notches here. It’s an outstanding show of conviction.



23) Downbound Train (Born In The USA)

Downbound Train hits you right in the guts from the start. That intro leaves you wounded and you get a feel of what the protagonist in the song feels.

This is guy who is in a really terrible place. Had a job, he lost that. Had a girl, he lost her too. Now he’s stuck in a carwash, where he only ever gets rained on. I feel the use of rain here is used to demonstrate that when it rains, it really does pour. Rain does not bring positivity for this character The guy cannot catch a break.

What I love most about Downbound Train – aside from the intro of course – is the fantastic imagery that is created throughout. The second verse onwards, I have this incredibly vivid image at the forefront of my mind, of this woman telling Joe they’re done, she packs her bags, buys her ticket and she’s gone on that train, and there’s no chance she’s coming back.

From the third verse, through the breakdown to the end of the lyrics, the imagery is turned up to 11. I believe the guy is describing a dream he had “last night I heard your voice…” I see this guy bursting through the woods at breakneck speed because his girl has said her love is still there. He’s got this hope that things are going to be okay again. Hee gets to their wedding house, but he is left empty, much like the bedroom he has raced to and he drops to his knees and cries. It’s the stark realisation that it’s really over. She’s gone, and she isn’t coming back.

The synth and organs in this track are stellar and deserve every bit of praise they get in this track. Phenomenal.



22) Roll Of The Dice (Human Touch)

Roll Of The Dice has to be one of the most enjoyable songs Bruce has written. It’s full of life, fun and enthusiasm just to name a few things.

The piano riff is so uplifting and it feels like there is a party ready to break out at any given moment. When the band join, the place erupts and everything springs to life effortlessly. The horns add a whole other dimension to a song already layered with plenty of different instruments. It reminds of Mary’s Place in the way everything just seems to come together without any effort whatsoever.

The song is riddled with gambling metaphors which tie in perfectly to the song’s title. I kind of get the impression that gambling is the awkward third party in this relationship, he loves this woman, but the thrill of winning is too hard to turn away. He may have lost, but he can get it back, he seems to think, on the next play.

The bridge alludes to the errors he knows he has made, but he can’t get enough.

The standout line comes in the last verse, which really sums up his character.

I’m a thief in the house of love
And I can’t be trusted


Gambling will always be number one for the guy here. Regardless of who he meets.

The vocal trade off at the end between Bruce and Steve is nothing short of brilliant.

This song will always guarantee a smile on your face.

Plenty to like about this clip. The intro, the tambourine, the champagne, the dancing, the false ending. Brilliant. Enthusiasm personified right here.



21) It’s Hard To Be A Saint In City (Greetings From Asbury Park)

Saint uppercuts you with its powerful opening. The chords just scream power and you can feel the force of them translate through the guitar.

The assault on the high hats and Roy hurriedly playing the piano is an awesome start and almost duel like against the high hats.

It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City is full of adrenaline and it’s hard not be absorbed by it all.

The lyrics come hurtling out at you at almost breakneck speed. They’re thick and fast and sometimes it can be hard to keep up. The fire and aggression in Bruce's voice is fantastic and you can hear he is really going for it. It's dirty and rough and it suits the mood of the song perfectly.

There are so many great one liners in there that it would be a disservice to highlight some over others. Though, this line is my absolute favourite:

The devil appeared like Jesus through the steam in the street

Bruce absolutely has Steve on toast in that final guitar duel too. Epic to watch.



20) The Wayfarer (Western Stars)

The acoustic guitar and gentle piano which open the song followed closely by the double basses are a fantastic prerequisite of what is to come.

The vocal is tender and never at all does it feel gut busting, but it doesn't need to. But more so, the vocal is so crisp and clean, it's a tremendous vocal performance.

The story of The Wayfarer is pretty simple. It's about a guy who travels. There are no hidden messages or anything complex to try and work out, but I think it being so simple adds to its charm.

There are some wonderful examples of imagery and his use of metaphors, as we all know is stellar.

When the whole orchestra comes into play right after the bridge, the song soars to incredibly new heights and everything sounds like perfection. The strings are so grand and extensive, and when everything comes together so effortlessly, it goes up a notch. You can hear everything just click into place, and it feels so cohesive and graceful.

The instrumentation is the real hero of this song because there are so many different elements to love. The bass sits there just humming along, but when you listen to it carefully you can hear it rumble and makes it self known without ever overshadowing everything else going on. The horns are wonderful - as always - and the piano throughout is simply great.


 
Last edited:

Cruyff14

TheBrownDog
Aug 16, 2011
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19) The Rising (The Rising)

Immediately you’re transported into the bowels of the World Trade Centre in The Rising.

The Rising tells the story of a fireman who has responded to the 9/11 attacks in New York City, and does so with incredible detail in its lyrics. The imagery is clear and striking, it’s not vague, nor does it beat around the bush. It is stark, raw and direct.

We are that fireman. We are there. We are facing the struggle that those who were there that day did. We’re blinded, not able to see what’s in front of us. We’re not sure how far or how long we’ve been doing this for.

The second verse, while short is utterly succinct in its description of a fireman getting up, and getting there as quick as he can.

The solo is full of passion and the emotion rings out in that brief burst.

The whole dream of life section is incredibly powerful in its breakdown and really hammers home the lyrics in that section.

It’s been a staple at shows and it’s not hard to see why. The lighting during The Rising at a show has always impressed me. Blew me away at the first show I went to. I was so impressed at the use of the lights during that than any other song.



18) Save My Love (The Promise)

In a day and age where radio is not the powerful tool it once was now due to the use of streaming and everything available at our fingertips, Save My Love recaptures those glory days.

Save My Love is beautiful in every aspect. The melody generated on the piano is beautiful and whimsical as it carries you through Save My Love.

The vocal is so full and warming. It wraps its arm around you and makes you feel safe and at hone.

I love the line, which I think we can all relate

Let the music take us
And carry us home


In a word, Save My Love is just delightful. And will continue to be, forever.

I implore you all to watch the clip below. The story at the beginning is wonderful. And, it’s about what the crux of the song is essentially about.



17) Frankie (Tracks)

If a song like Frankie can be discarded for circa 20 years, it shows how great the depth of his song writing is. So many artists would kill for a track like this, yet this was put on the backburner.

Frankie without a doubt is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in my life.

There is a beauty about Frankie which stands front and centre throughout the entire song but in no means is it overbearing. From the opening on the 12 string acoustic guitar, with Bruce following, then Soozie on the violin adding even more to an intro you just have to simply marvel at. Charlie’s organ then takes the song to an even higher level, and then the rest of the band comes in and you are listening to poetry in motion.

The key change up in the bridge is glorious, and the harmonica which follows immediately is even better.

The final instrumental break is spectacular. The guitar solo with the organ in support is brilliant, then the horns (the horns!) to bring it all to close.

I’m not entirely sure what Frankie is about, and to be honest, I’m not phased by that one bit. The true meaning for me is in its beauty.

Frankie is sheer musical perfection.



16) Night (Born To Run)

Night comes flying at you a million miles an hour. It is virtually unstoppable in its high voltage head first charge at you. It’s like a shot of adrenaline locked on to you like a homing missile. It’s inescapable and you can’t help but let it take control of you.

Night will forever be one of my favourite Bruce Springsteen songs. It’s easy to forget about it, though. Born To Run has so many great songs, and so many of those songs are considered among the best he’s written, but Night – I feel – is often forgotten, among all that. There is so much to love about this track.

You’re assaulted with a barrage of instruments. The guitars whack you, the saxophone blows you 10 feet back and the drums, piano and bass all hit you collectively, leaving you unaware what to focus on.

We’ve all connected with the more obvious themes in Night at one point or another in our lives. Working that job, hanging for the weekend, wanting something better out of our lives than that shitty, dead-end, 9-5 job, with a boss you absolutely loathe.

It’s also one of the all time great Springsteen driving songs. It’s filled with references of being on the road, most likely on a motorbike and it’s incredibly difficult not to be swept away with its references. I mean if the lines

And sit at the light, as it changes to green
With your faith in your machine off you scream into the night


Don’t make you want to floor it, then are you even alive?

Underneath the onslaught of sound that is Night, there is a beautiful romanticism tucked away. And that folks, is that.



15) Badlands (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)

Badlands explodes to life on Darkness on the Edge of Town with a point to prove. There is insurmountable conviction in the whole track – the lyrics, the music, the drive in all of it. It’s executed flawlessly.

The song points to the human condition of greed and always wanting more than what we have

Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king
And a king ain't satisfied till he rules everything

The saxophone is boisterous in its solo and the guitar solo is searing. The chant is cult like. It’s all perfect.

Badlands is an anthem. It’s an anthem for us, as fans. It’s anthem to drive you on when things might not be going your away. It’s an anthem to make your blood flow, your fist pump and your heart race. It’s an anthem for believing in something. It’s an anthem for spurring you on to achieve a goal. It’s an anthem to make you feel it ain’t sin to be glad you’re alive.



14) Racing In The Street (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)

You can feel the heartbreaking pain of our protagonist in the opening chords of Racing In The Street. He’s beat up, defeated, down and out, and the music more than reflects that.

Racing tears your heart out, throws it on the ground and then stamps on it for good measure. It’s an incredibly emotionally wrought song that makes you feel it every step of the way.

The arrangement of Racing is a masterclass. The piano is exceptional in every aspect. It commands respect throughout and it never makes you once question the authority it holds on this track.

You can hear the pain and tenderness in the vocal and when amplified by the organ in the second verse, it only increases the agony.

If you look carefully at the lyrics, everything is always related back to cars. The opening refers to cars, and really, they are what this man loves. He talks about his car before telling us about his girl. Not until the third verse is where we find out he has a girl, who cries herself to sleep, long before he gets home to a dark house.



13) Rosalita (The Wild, The Innocent and The E-Street Shuffle)

Rosalita blasts to life with unbridled joy. Its injection of fun is impossible to escape and you cannot help but be caught up in the whirlwind of happiness for the period of the track.

This song just spells out F-U-N. It is impossible to listen to this song and not feel a rush of huge happiness shooting through your veins with a smile from ear to ear plastered on your face. It is the ultimate feel good Springsteen song. It is a song that sets the whole room on fire and sends people jumping up and down like maniacs due to its sheer joyous sound.

The organ flies, hovers and comes back down to Earth at various points, while the sax transports us the whole way through.

Rosalita is wildly chaotic, and it would not be as good any other way.



12) I’m Goin Down (Born In The USA)

Much like Dancing In The Dark, I’m Goin’ Down’s upbeat melody hides its darker meaning.

Highlighting the deterioration of a relationship, it may as well have the final nail in its coffin. The good times are gone, and whatever the guy in the song does, he cannot win.

What I love most about the track is the intro with just the guitar and the vocal. The guitar has some grunt and attitude to it.

While the lyrics may be simple, the imagery is clear and plain to see.

I’m Goin Down may be not as complex as other songs, but it doesn’t need to be. Less is definitely more in this case.

 

Cruyff14

TheBrownDog
Aug 16, 2011
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11) New York City Serenade (The Wild, The Innocent and The E-Street Shuffle)

Without fail, every single time, New York City Serenade floors me with its stunning beauty.

From the very beginning, it’s clear we’re in for a spectacle. Roy’s work is nothing short of exceptional. It’s breathtaking to both watch and listen to as the piano takes us on a journey that twists and turns, twirls and dips before finally plateauing and leading the way for the remainder of the track. It’s perfect at what it does as it creates the melody after the impressive, dramatic, jazzy introduction.

When the acoustic guitar joins it, it only adds to the charm of track. It begins to set the scene, beginning to lead us on the journey for what’s to follow. The vocal is beautifully tender and expertly controlled, and is perfect accompaniment to the already stunning arrangement.

The introduction of the strings is executed to absolute perfection. Their addition effortlessly helps the song ascend into another dimension that it’s almost ethereal. They soar so gracefully and effortlessly while whisking you away. Close your eyes, New York City is so close you can almost grab it.

With everything else to focus on, it’s hard to notice the bass. But when you hone in on it, you can feel it floating by at points, standing back at others, or up front when asked to be. Bass may not be appreciated by some people, but the role it has in a song like this shows how essential it is – especially when you can hear it at the front of the mix with the strings. Like the strings, it is elegant in appearance.

The saxophone is wonderful, at times taking centre stage, but taking nothing away from all the other instruments. Hearing it fly in the last few minutes is great after only minor flurries earlier on.

The song is an excellent example of how finely tuned The E-Street Band is, and is perfection in every sense of the word.

I walked down 5th Avenue in NYC in the snow listening to this song. It is one of the greatest moments of my life.



10) Thunder Road (Born To Run)

Is there a better introduction to an album than Thunder Road?

Thunder Road takes you on a ride that makes you feel anything is possible. It makes you believe that you can reach the unthinkable, do the impossible, reach for the stars and conquer the difficult things in life. It gives you unfounded belief you didn’t know you had. It exudes everything that a fan feels not only hearing this song, but being at a show.

That harmonica just screams liberation, freedom and escape all wrapped into one. It shines so brightly in tandem with the piano guiding it along. The sound of youth, the sounds of freedom and innocence all come to greet you so welcomingly.

The images are so innocent and warming. If you’ve never pictured Mary dancing across your porch have you even lived? The image is so stark and stands at the centre of my mind, completely unobstructed.

The guitar has a real drive to it, even though it is not as prominent as it is in other tracks. The vocal is full of youthful exuberance.

The last verse rises above everything that’s come so far, the vocal is passionately raised, and the music matches the conviction in both the lyric and vocals. The thumping of the drums going blow for blow with the vocal so determinedly.

That final sax break is a thing of beauty. It’s playing as the characters are pulling out of that town to win, driving off into the sunset.

Turn it up, and let that wind blow back your hair. Because that my friends is what Thunder Road so vehemently demands. And it’s nothing less than it deserves.



9) The Ties That Bind (The River)

Whether it be an album opener on The River or a show opener, The Ties That Bind is excellent at both. With its crashing snare drums and energetic guitar riff, the scene is set for what is to follow.

It’s a high octane track that really only lets up in the bridge and it brims with unnerving energy. The organs that soar in the background are stunning, the twangy guitar is by your side the whole way, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better hook than the ties that bai-ai-ai-ai-ai-ai-ind.

The sax break is so jubilant and uplifting and is an excellent link to the last verse. The bass and organs are also worth paying attention to here too.

The vocal conviction in this track is almost unmatched. Hearing the exclamation of “you can’t break the ties that bind!” at the end of the final verse is incredibly powerful and equally stirring.

You can’t break the ties that bind.



8) Something In The Night (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)

The melody on the piano is excellent, and the rumbling of the toms – along with the driving piano – amplifies the tension with each passing bar during the introduction of Something In The Night. It sends a shiver up my spine nearly every time. You can really feel the hurt and pain behind those wails before the band crash in to really symbolise it.

The imagery is so powerful on the dark ride it takes you on, through Kingsley. Our character is alone behind the wheel, in the black of the night, hurtling towards the unknown. I imagine the surroundings to be so bare, and desolate. The only light around is from that of the dashboard. He’s surrounded by the woods, and there is nobody out there for miles.

The drums and piano work so perfect in unison, and are such a potent tool in this track as the song is driven on by them.

The breakdown is brilliant where it’s just the vocal, kick drum and the tom – which was completely unplanned in the recording (Bruce threw his arms up and Max instinctively knew to stop) , before a wail breaks everything and in come crashing drums and guitars to highlight the pain once again. When the guitar comes back the sheer sound of force is fantastic.

The highlight of this track for me is the arrangement and composition. It’s one of the best, if not the best, dark track in his entire catalogue. Perfection.

If there was ever a clip to represent this song, this is it.

 

Ford Fairlane

Moderator
Feb 21, 2002
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Thinking of Jon Stewart...

But I am from New Jersey, and so I can tell you what I believe, and what I believe is this: I believe that Bob Dylan and James Brown had a baby. Yes! And they abandoned this child. As you can imagine at the time - interracial, same-sex relationships being what they were - they abandoned this child on the side of the road, between the exit interchanges of 8A and 9 on the New Jersey Turnpike. That child is Bruce Springsteen.
 

Gasometer

TheBrownDog
Mar 14, 2002
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19) The Rising (The Rising)

Immediately you’re transported into the bowels of the World Trade Centre in The Rising.

The Rising tells the story of a fireman who has responded to the 9/11 attacks in New York City, and does so with incredible detail in its lyrics. The imagery is clear and striking, it’s not vague, nor does it beat around the bush. It is stark, raw and direct.

We are that fireman. We are there. We are facing the struggle that those who were there that day did. We’re blinded, not able to see what’s in front of us. We’re not sure how far or how long we’ve been doing this for.

The second verse, while short is utterly succinct in its description of a fireman getting up, and getting there as quick as he can.

The solo is full of passion and the emotion rings out in that brief burst.

The whole dream of life section is incredibly powerful in its breakdown and really hammers home the lyrics in that section.

It’s been a staple at shows and it’s not hard to see why. The lighting during The Rising at a show has always impressed me. Blew me away at the first show I went to. I was so impressed at the use of the lights during that than any other song.



18) Save My Love (The Promise)

In a day and age where radio is not the powerful tool it once was now due to the use of streaming and everything available at our fingertips, Save My Love recaptures those glory days.

Save My Love is beautiful in every aspect. The melody generated on the piano is beautiful and whimsical as it carries you through Save My Love.

The vocal is so full and warming. It wraps its arm around you and makes you feel safe and at hone.

I love the line, which I think we can all relate

Let the music take us
And carry us home


In a word, Save My Love is just delightful. And will continue to be, forever.

I implore you all to watch the clip below. The story at the beginning is wonderful. And, it’s about what the crux of the song is essentially about.



17) Frankie (Tracks)

If a song like Frankie can be discarded for circa 20 years, it shows how great the depth of his song writing is. So many artists would kill for a track like this, yet this was put on the backburner.

Frankie without a doubt is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in my life.

There is a beauty about Frankie which stands front and centre throughout the entire song but in no means is it overbearing. From the opening on the 12 string acoustic guitar, with Bruce following, then Soozie on the violin adding even more to an intro you just have to simply marvel at. Charlie’s organ then takes the song to an even higher level, and then the rest of the band comes in and you are listening to poetry in motion.

The key change up in the bridge is glorious, and the harmonica which follows immediately is even better.

The final instrumental break is spectacular. The guitar solo with the organ in support is brilliant, then the horns (the horns!) to bring it all to close.

I’m not entirely sure what Frankie is about, and to be honest, I’m not phased by that one bit. The true meaning for me is in its beauty.

Frankie is sheer musical perfection.



16) Night (Born To Run)

Night comes flying at you a million miles an hour. It is virtually unstoppable in its high voltage head first charge at you. It’s like a shot of adrenaline locked on to you like a homing missile. It’s inescapable and you can’t help but let it take control of you.

Night will forever be one of my favourite Bruce Springsteen songs. It’s easy to forget about it, though. Born To Run has so many great songs, and so many of those songs are considered among the best he’s written, but Night – I feel – is often forgotten, among all that. There is so much to love about this track.

You’re assaulted with a barrage of instruments. The guitars whack you, the saxophone blows you 10 feet back and the drums, piano and bass all hit you collectively, leaving you unaware what to focus on.

We’ve all connected with the more obvious themes in Night at one point or another in our lives. Working that job, hanging for the weekend, wanting something better out of our lives than that shitty, dead-end, 9-5 job, with a boss you absolutely loathe.

It’s also one of the all time great Springsteen driving songs. It’s filled with references of being on the road, most likely on a motorbike and it’s incredibly difficult not to be swept away with its references. I mean if the lines

And sit at the light, as it changes to green
With your faith in your machine off you scream into the night


Don’t make you want to floor it, then are you even alive?

Underneath the onslaught of sound that is Night, there is a beautiful romanticism tucked away. And that folks, is that.



15) Badlands (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)

Badlands explodes to life on Darkness on the Edge of Town with a point to prove. There is insurmountable conviction in the whole track – the lyrics, the music, the drive in all of it. It’s executed flawlessly.

The song points to the human condition of greed and always wanting more than what we have

Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king
And a king ain't satisfied till he rules everything

The saxophone is boisterous in its solo and the guitar solo is searing. The chant is cult like. It’s all perfect.

Badlands is an anthem. It’s an anthem for us, as fans. It’s anthem to drive you on when things might not be going your away. It’s an anthem to make your blood flow, your fist pump and your heart race. It’s an anthem for believing in something. It’s an anthem for spurring you on to achieve a goal. It’s an anthem to make you feel it ain’t sin to be glad you’re alive.



14) Racing In The Street (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)

You can feel the heartbreaking pain of our protagonist in the opening chords of Racing In The Street. He’s beat up, defeated, down and out, and the music more than reflects that.

Racing tears your heart out, throws it on the ground and then stamps on it for good measure. It’s an incredibly emotionally wrought song that makes you feel it every step of the way.

The arrangement of Racing is a masterclass. The piano is exceptional in every aspect. It commands respect throughout and it never makes you once question the authority it holds on this track.

You can hear the pain and tenderness in the vocal and when amplified by the organ in the second verse, it only increases the agony.

If you look carefully at the lyrics, everything is always related back to cars. The opening refers to cars, and really, they are what this man loves. He talks about his car before telling us about his girl. Not until the third verse is where we find out he has a girl, who cries herself to sleep, long before he gets home to a dark house.



13) Rosalita (The Wild, The Innocent and The E-Street Shuffle)

Rosalita blasts to life with unbridled joy. Its injection of fun is impossible to escape and you cannot help but be caught up in the whirlwind of happiness for the period of the track.

This song just spells out F-U-N. It is impossible to listen to this song and not feel a rush of huge happiness shooting through your veins with a smile from ear to ear plastered on your face. It is the ultimate feel good Springsteen song. It is a song that sets the whole room on fire and sends people jumping up and down like maniacs due to its sheer joyous sound.

The organ flies, hovers and comes back down to Earth at various points, while the sax transports us the whole way through.

Rosalita is wildly chaotic, and it would not be as good any other way.



12) I’m Goin Down (Born In The USA)

Much like Dancing In The Dark, I’m Goin’ Down’s upbeat melody hides its darker meaning.

Highlighting the deterioration of a relationship, it may as well have the final nail in its coffin. The good times are gone, and whatever the guy in the song does, he cannot win.

What I love most about the track is the intro with just the guitar and the vocal. The guitar has some grunt and attitude to it.

While the lyrics may be simple, the imagery is clear and plain to see.

I’m Goin Down may be not as complex as other songs, but it doesn’t need to be. Less is definitely more in this case.

Badlands...so many variations Live over the years.
 

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