Born in the U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen – 1984
Claimed Sales: 30m
First listen?: Yes
Format Listened?: Apple Music
There’s a relatable quality about Bruce Springsteen’s gravelly tones that makes him seem like someone you could know. Irrespective of his politics leaning prior work, or his electrifying stage presence Born in the U.S.A. is an obvious breakout moment for a rock star as soon as you see that cover and hear the opening title track. It must have been a moment where potential fans across America sat up and paid notice to ‘this guy who sounds like my uncle but sings well and speaks to my life as an American’. Of course that might be a narrow minded way of looking at things, but it’s hard to imagine the rest of Born in the U.S.A. taking off as it did without that change of image. That’s not to say the rest of the album isn’t worthy of time, in fact I’d go as far to say that this is a record that gets better as it goes on. Springsteen is best when he strikes that balance between stadium rocking anthems and introspective ballads and on hits like Dancing in the Dark and I’m On Fire, with both standing out as each side comes to a close. My Hometown closes the album on a high, with its synth leaning production and probably the best vocal performance of the record. The writing here is effortless, shining on these midtempo and more stripped back moments. Of course when The Boss wants to rock, he can do exactly that and while the title track is the most immediate hook of the record, No Surrender is the most stadium ready track of the whole album. It’s a song that even sounds like it’s echoing around a massive venue and for me was one of the biggest surprises of the whole album. Born in the U.S.A. takes a little while to reclaim the triumphant sound of the opening track, but when it does the second half is a stellar Rock album.
Will I listen again?: Yes
Best Track: If I was watching The Boss live I’d probably go for No Surrender here, but My Hometown really stood out as a closer here.