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Bruce Springsteen has been given the nickname ‘The Boss’ for good reason. Following the release of his debut record, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.K., in 1973, Springsteen has spent the last 50 years honing a reputation and discography that walks the line between everyman and entertainer.
Over the course of a career spanning half a century, Springsteen has released 21 studio albums and seven live albums. Between the mammoth commercial success of 1984’s Born in the U.S.A., which spawned hits like ‘Dancing in the Dark’ and ‘I’m on Fire’, and Springsteen’s more recent entries into his catalogue, each of them has further proven his prowess and rightful place in musical history.
With such a lucrative and lengthy discography to his name, it seems that picking the record that represents him best would be an impossible task even for fans to try their hand at, but The Boss himself seems to have a definitive answer. “If I had to pick one album out and say this is going to represent you 50 years from now,” Springsteen shared in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, “I’d pick Nebraska.”
Springsteen’s sixth full-length release, Nebraska was released in 1982 and characterised by its lyrical storytelling and demo stylings. Though the album seems to focus on external stories, Springsteen used those characters to share the emotions and anxieties that were brewing in his own life.
The record was released when Springsteen was in his early 30s, which seemed to spark an era of contemplation and depression in the songwriter. “I just hit some sort of personal wall that I didn’t even know was there,” Springsteen recalled, “It was my first real major depression. I think in your 20s a lot of things work for you. Your 30s is where you start to become an adult.”
“Suddenly I looked around and said, ‘Where is everything? Where is my home? Where is my partner? Where are the sons or daughters that I thought I might have someday? And I realised none of these things were there,” Springsteen reflected, “This is all inside of me. You can either take it and transform it into something positive or it can destroy you.”
“It was also a signal that I was sending. I’ve had some success but I make the records I wanna make. I’m trying to tell a bigger story,” the songwriter concluded. At once intimate and universal, Nebraska seems like a worthy choice to represent Springsteen’s person and his career.
Revisit the record below.