#2: Bruce Springsteen – The River (1980)

Hi. Here at Pierce’s Press I take a look at bloated, self-indulgent, expansive double albums and gleefully trim it back to a single, dreck-free, no filler, concise, listenable record without having to reach for the skip button or needle re-positioning.

I think it may benefit some over-stuffed double albums from a little tightening up. It’s certainly the case for UnDoubled #2: Bruce Springsteen’s The River, now receiving the UnDoubled treatment.

The Rivber

Side One:
  1. The Ties That Bind
  2. Two Hearts
  3. Independance Day
  4. Hungry Heart
  5. Out In The Street
Side Two:
  1. The River
  2. Point Blank
  3. Cadillac Ranch
  4. The Price You Pay
  5. Wreck On The Highway

Originally submitted to Columbia Records as a single 10 song disc: The Ties That Bind. It got expanded to a whopping 20 after The Boss decided he wanted the album to have more depth and variety. The River, Springsteen’s New Wave album, ended up a heartland rock smorgasbord buffet, with everything from cinematic set-pieces, humorous bar rockers and moving ballads on the menu. The River gushes forth with the fury of a burst dam, delivering torrents of despair, inspiration, heartbreak, and joy. This is all somewhat overwhelming. Clocking in at 83 minutes and spread over 20 tracks, it’s a lot to take, even from the emerging rock ‘n’ roll icon at the peak of his songwriting powers. The River may have been more consistent as this single-disc album as originally envisioned, and such powerful numbers as Independence Day and Wreck on the Highway heralding the beginning of his forays into the harrowing acoustic balladry he’d explore with his 1982 follow-up, Nebraska.

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