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Springsteen’s Next Album A Solo Effort?

Miami” (yes I know “Little” is now the nickname but he’ll always be “Miami” to me) Steven Van Zandt gave an interview recently in which he hinted that Bruce Springsteen may head down the solo-route when he returns to the recording studio.

“You know Bruce — he’s always got an album in his pocket, he’s always writing something. I don’t know this for a fact, but I expect him to possibly put something out that’s more of a solo nature, before we get back together. Only because he’s so prolific, still, after all these years. . . I expect him starting to have a backlog of songs, just in terms of the time that have passed.”

Like many Springsteen die-hards, this gives me urge to pause.

As a rule, we are at least appreciative and at most enamored with his solo projects.

But ultimately we prefer to have the “Big Man” within reach.

I was discussing this with Sloan earlier today. ” ‘Nebraska‘ is the best thing he’s ever done”, he says.

Yes, the homage to the murderous trek of Charles Starkweather is a quiet masterpiece, and is probably Bruce’s best solo work.

But “Darkness on the Edge of Town” it ain’t.

Yes, the solo track record is spotty: “Luckytown” and “Human Touch“, released simultaneously in 1992 – what I consider to be the era of his mid-life crisis – had moments, but in the end feel forced, and his backing band simply lacked E Street’s polish and power.

I’d never admit it to his face, but I have zero-use for “The Ghost of Tom Joad“.

That being said, in the past few years, the great artist has produced what I believe to be his two finest songs ever (and if you disagree with me, go back and listen to them: you’ll hear it): “Girls in Their Summer Clothes“, from “Magic” – with the E Street Band – and “The Wrestler

“Wrestler” – both the film and song piece de resistances’ – Springsteen wrote and recorded solo (the movie and tune would also share the accordance of being screwed by The Oscars in 2009). It’s a simple, stripped down yet powerful number.

Streets of Philadelphia” – a Bruce hymn that was not ignored by The Academy is 1993 – was also a solo work.

Bruce has more than once admitted that the 90′s were not his particularly strongest artistic streak, and he has been beyond faithful to the E Street Nation (not to plug the enemy, but a fabulous channel on Sirius) since the turn of the century. And like all people that age well, he’s gained great self awareness, so I don’t think he’d attempt a full album of solo stuff if he wasn’t 100% faithful it will work.

Carry on, Boss, where you go I will follow.

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