I’ve written about another of my favorite 1973 albums a number of times already. In fact, this is the fifth track from Bruce Springsteen’s The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle I’ve posted as a Song of the Day. And the album has only seven songs.
In one of those posts, I described this as “an album bursting with musicality, theatricality and an infectious creative energy. Springsteen spins his street-smart character sketches with staccato bursts of bruiser poetry. The lyrics could pass for stream-of-conscious if they weren’t so meticulously shaped. Musically, the newly formed E-Street band tore through multiple genres, but mostly settled into a jazz-rock groove that makes every track feel like the world’s coolest lawn concert.”
Bruce Springsteen has released 18 studio albums, many of them classics. But his sophomore record, released 42 years ago, may well remain his most ambitious.
The Wild, The Innocent & the E Street Shuffle runs just seven songs long, but each of them is a sprawling left-field masterpiece. Best-known are ‘Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)’ and ‘4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy),’ tracks that (like the whole album) perfectly capture the adolescent yearning of Springsteen’s New Jersey.
Bruce Springsteen’s presence on my list of favorite artists is a relatively recent development. I’ve always appreciated his work, and have held a few of his albums in high esteem, but only in the past year or so have I dived deeper into his catalog and realized the breadth of his talent.
Impressively, Springsteen earned this reassessment by releasing a series of excellent albums over the past seven years. At a time when most artists would be opting for rock-n-roll retirement, he has delivered some of the best work of his career.
Best Albums of the 70s – #10
The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle – Bruce Springsteen (1973)
With one or two exceptions, I didn’t hear any of the albums on this list during the actual 70s. I discovered them mostly in the 80s and 90s, as I became a bigger music fan and dug through bins at used record stores to find CDs I’d read were important.
So in most cases, while I haven’t known these records since they were released, I have lived with them for 20-30 years.
My renewed interest in Bruce Springsteen dates back to that trip to the Spec’s used bins that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. The fourth album I bought (for less than $5) was Springsteen’s sophomore release, The Wild, The Innocent and The E-Street Shuffle. I’ve been addicted to it ever since.
The album was released in 1973 just eight months after Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ. Imagine hearing those two bursts of creative genius from a new artist in the same year. Makes me wish I hadn’t been less than a year old at the time.