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So there's a lot of discussion about how WS is a masterpiece & joins certain other Bruce albums in that category but I'm just curious how we all define that,a masterpiece is a great work of skill,artistry but I wonder how that is seen in the sense of an album,is it just the songs or is it a case of the production,the mix etc have to be taken into account,to be a masterpiece is an album allowed any flaws.

I would struggle to find a flawless Bruce album that raises it from very good to masterpiece,for instance Darkness sounds flat to me,though was it better in 78 ( though 78 apparently worst year in Britain in last 200 years),i do wonder if it makes a difference hearing an album at time of release versus finding it later & at what age you are when hearing certain songs.

I'm not sure if I'm making much sense at 5am but whilst there are very good Bruce albums is there actually a perfect Bruce album? Does it have to be perfect to be a masterpiece? Bruce songs are constantly evolving in various ways which I think makes things harder.

We all have our own views & I'm not saying any of them are right or wrong,I guess I'm just trying to understand them all.

 

 

 

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For me a masterpiece is an album where all the songs are great and that you don't get tired of.

BUSA is perfectly sequenced. It is perfect as it is.

There’s always the personal element which is hard to define or even explain sometimes. For me to use the horrible masterpiece term I need to feel a certain way about an album and for it to tick a

personally im feeling a masterpiece not necessarily listening to it so i didn't think mixing etc necessarily comes into it however on reflection if Magic sounded better id rate it a modern day masterpiece

WIESS once it got remastered is certainly a hair's breadth away from being a young man's masterpiece 

but true Bruce masterpieces to me are records where every track has a definate purpose that can stand on its own but also add to the greatness of the album where by  the equation of the sum of the parts are greater than the parts or how ever that saying goes 

BTR

Darkness

Nebraska

GOTJ - in all its naked starkness, its perfect 

 

honorable mention

TOL & WS - if they just didn't both scare the shit out of me maybe I'd seriously consider them in my personal list but the subject matter is too close to the bone and to be honest if WS is about his mum that's not going to make it an eaiser listen for me

 

If the river was a true live album - wouldn't it be wounderful if it got the live WS treatment but instead of the Glenn Campbell cover it got MMITCT- like take the very best one of the shows from that tour and give it the star treatment in post production or what ever needs to be done and put in out on vinyl and dvd

it would hands down be a masterpiece of epic proportions to me because as ive said 100 times that anniversary river tour woke up the sleepers (aka the fillers and fluff) and gave them relevance and purpose and elevated that collection of songs far in excess of what was  a fun and fairly descent album, the ballads were sublime  and point blank was pure devine perfection

 

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Where the quality of the songs, mixed with the quality of the recording, quality of the musical performances, the order of the songs, and basically a pretty much flawless recorded product which will stand the test of time due to it;s impact and stand-alone uniqueness.

Bruce's albums are written and recorded very much based on whatever period of his life experience he was in at that time, and all his albums in my opinion should be reflected on and merited with that as the backdrop. With all that in mind I firmly believe he has recorded six masterpiece albums in his career. Born to Run, Darkness on the edge of Town, Nebraska, Tunnel of Love, The Ghost of Tom Joad and Western Stars.

Overall though, for me it's the quality and range of styles of the songs throughout an album that matters.

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There’s always the personal element which is hard to define or even explain sometimes.

For me to use the horrible masterpiece term I need to feel a certain way about an album and for it to tick a few boxes. 

- Does the album seem to have a cohesive theme running through it?

- Are the songs consistently really good to great and fit together? 

- Do I believe what he’s writing about is “real”? 

- Does it have that, impossible to define, special ingredient?

Based on that load of gibberish I think the below qualify:

- Born To Run

- Darkness

- TOL

- Joad

- Western Stars 

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Beauty is in the ear of the beholder.

A masterpiece relative to the rest of his catalogue? Or a masterpiece compared to real masterpieces like Pet Sounds or Highway 61 or Horses or Astral Weeks etc., etc? On this basis, I would say that he doesn't have a masterpiece.

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Beauty is in the ear of the beholder.

A masterpiece relative to the rest of his catalogue? Or a masterpiece compared to real masterpieces like Pet Sounds or Highway 61 or Horses or Astral Weeks etc., etc? On this basis, I would say that he doesn't have a masterpiece.

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41 minutes ago, Promise61 said:

Beauty is in the ear of the beholder.

A masterpiece relative to the rest of his catalogue? Or a masterpiece compared to real masterpieces like Pet Sounds or Highway 61 or Horses or Astral Weeks etc., etc? On this basis, I would say that he doesn't have a masterpiece.

Hold yer 'orses, P! (But glad you wrote your first sentence about beauty is, etc....).

I'm gonna have to listen to those four albums now (think I've got Highway 61) to see if they're real masterpieces ;) I can say straight away that Van M will be difficult to get through! Opinions are opinions are opinions ...

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1 hour ago, Promise61 said:

Beauty is in the ear of the beholder.

A masterpiece relative to the rest of his catalogue? Or a masterpiece compared to real masterpieces like Pet Sounds or Highway 61 or Horses or Astral Weeks etc., etc? On this basis, I would say that he doesn't have a masterpiece.

Won't disagree with those 4.

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2 hours ago, janeymarywendy said:

Hold yer 'orses, P! (But glad you wrote your first sentence about beauty is, etc....).

I'm gonna have to listen to those four albums now (think I've got Highway 61) to see if they're real masterpieces ;) I can say straight away that Van M will be difficult to get through! Opinions are opinions are opinions ...

I picked those four because they were / are essentially revolutionary records.  Nobody had heard anything like them before and they were hugely influential.  Bruce has nothing like that in his catalogue, and as much as I love him as one of my five favourite songwriters ever, he's never been an innovator.  More of an absorbathon.

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31 minutes ago, stillilllife said:

For me a masterpiece is an album where all the songs are great and that you don't get tired of.

And, you don't feel the need to cherry pick songs.   To get the whole picture, you need to listen from song A on side one thru song Z on side B.....kind of like you wouldn't watch a great movie and then turn it off half way through.  That is Born to Run for me.

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Whatever the choice of a masterpiece may be, it is so personal really. Looking at it between the Bruce output or looking at it in the overall output, from any artist at any given moment in time. What makes a real masterpiece really?

 

Is it what the majority of people think, is it what critics say, what is the standard for a masterpiece?

 

Difficult enough really. In any case, given my humble opinion, Bruce's real masterpiece, was, is and will be his breakthrough album. Born to Run yes. I think on that one he finally brought everything together what he was looking for on the albums before...the sound is truly wonderful, the lyrics and themes are just great and fit together.  I mean, singing in Jungleland...from the churches  to the jails...and the organ comes in, that's awesome really. This is vintage Springsteen yes and still after all these many years, such a relevant album which stood the test of time truly wonderful. And when an album does so, I think it is a masterpiece.. but of course if anyone doesn't like Bruce at all,  he or she surely has other opinions on this one and what makes a masterpiece. 

Mentionable otherwise are for sure Darkness, River, Nebraska, Tom Joad and finally after so many years WS yeah.

 

They all represent the Springsteen songbook the very most. To me i.e. They represent the essence of Bruce's music and the essence for me personally speaking. 

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Side note: in 'greatest albums of all time' lists Born To Run in general  does better than Darkness (not always).

Usually no other Bruce album in those lists, or only (much) lower.

The Gambaccini book from 1987 had Born To Run at Nr.2 and Born In The U.S.A. ad Nr.5 and also Darkness in the list. But that was...a very beautiful book but a  rubbish list (like great music was not made anymore after 1975 or so).

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2 hours ago, Promise61 said:

I picked those four because they were / are essentially revolutionary records.  Nobody had heard anything like them before and they were hugely influential.  Bruce has nothing like that in his catalogue

Nebraska was very influential.

Seeger album was something never heard before, maybe; and also a very brave album, not playing safe at all.

But both albums are not a masterpiece.

Edit: of course Nebraska was a brave album too.

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Start to finish masterpieces? 

WIESS

BTR

Darkness

Nebraska

 

Almost masterpieces which would be masterpieces if only 1 song was replaced:

ToL (Ain't Got You subbed for something else, dunno what) 

GOTJ (My Best for Brothers Under The Bridge) 

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This should probably go into the unpopular opinion thread... but to me, along with the ones mentioned above; (especially The River and TOL) I consider The Rising and Magic, if not ‘masterpieces’ (again, personal definitions for the criteria), pretty darn close.  

Still cannot stop listening to WS.  

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15 minutes ago, rosiejaneymary said:

consider The Rising and Magic, if not ‘masterpieces’ (again, personal definitions for the criteria), pretty darn close. 

Both are pretty damn close, just not a masterpiece. 

And The Rising could have been better sequenced,  maybe. (So Magic closer to  a masterpiece than The Rising).

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Born to Run is Bruce’s masterpiece. Others come close but do not reach that level. Western Stars is his only swing and a miss.

Pet Sounds is probably the most disappointing album I ever heard. Overall, it’s just not great music to my ears and I was expecting to be blown away by it. 

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6 minutes ago, Jertucky said:

Western Stars is his only swing and a miss.

 

We get it.  You despise this album.  That’s certainly your right.  You can live out the rest of your days never ever having to listen to any of it.   

And yes, I understand that this comment is your opinion.  

However, even if I felt about WS as you do, I’d never think to categorize an album that I knew had touched so many, so very deeply as a ‘swing and a miss.’   

You obviously don’t feel the same, but I am eternally grateful for this album.  

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53 minutes ago, rosiejaneymary said:

This should probably go into the unpopular opinion thread... but to me, along with the ones mentioned above; (especially The River and TOL) I consider The Rising and Magic, if not ‘masterpieces’ (again, personal definitions for the criteria), pretty darn close.  

Still cannot stop listening to WS.  

good call on the rising

40 minutes ago, Lampi said:

Both are pretty damn close, just not a masterpiece. 

And The Rising could have been better sequenced,  maybe. (So Magic closer to  a masterpiece than The Rising).

both stella albums of the 21st century 

i do think Magic by a fraction over the Rising

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