Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 14, 2009
POP CULTURE: Kinda Funny Sir To Me

Here's an argument-starter for the hard-core Springsteen fan: a 1-200 ranking of his songs, with an effort to justify each slot.

A lot of these just seem very wrong to me, and reflect the biases of the guy doing the list. Near the bottom, "Mary's Place" was one of the high points of The Rising, and doesn't deserve being rated so low. Near the top, "Thunder Road" is rated way too low at #18. And the writer goes way overboard on Bruce's wordier pre-Born to Run tunes and mopey Nebraska tunes, at the expense of some of his masterpieces: "Incident on 57th Street," though a good song, is way too high at #3 and "Lost in the Flood" at #7 (personally, I never, ever listen to the studio version of either, preferring the live version of "Incident on 57th Street" that I picked up from a Japanese release of extra songs off the 1975-85 Live album, and "Lost in the Flood" off the 1999 Live in New York album). Yet, inexplicably, the same guy puts "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City" way down at #155. And seriously, "Highway Patrolman" at #13, ahead of "Thunder Road" and "Badlands" ("Badlands" is always the high point of any Bruce concert)? "Meeting Across the River" at #17? "Stolen Car" at #19? "Your Own Worst Enemy" at #23?

I did appreciate the love for "Loose Ends" at #24, though, one of the classics that was held off too long until the Tracks compilation.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:35 PM | Pop Culture | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Wierd. Shouldn't Thunder Road be #1? It's a better song than Born to Run...

I think Sandy is too low at #21, as is 10th Ave Freezeout at #20 and The River at #14 (I always loved the version of The River on the '75-'85 Live album, with the confession about his relationship with his father).

Bruce's political activism in the past few years has definately turned me off his music, which is a shame. OTOH, every time I actually listen to him I remember what it was like to enjoy the music before he became a standard-issue limosine liberal. (I flipped on a random cable station last weekend that had a Bruce concert, and it was great - even the last Super Bowl was good.)

Posted by: A.S. at August 14, 2009 1:44 PM

Hungry Heart is too high given that it's on the list. I hate that song. I don't hate it because it's a bad song. I hate it because if I hear just 5 seconds of it, I can't get it out of my head for the rest of the day. Only Ace of Bass has ever had that kind of mind-bending power.

Posted by: Mark D at August 14, 2009 3:59 PM

AS - Bruce's politics have not changed, just become more prominent.

Mark - Heh, my wife and I were just discussing Ace of Bass last night, I lived with a guy first year in law school who played and sang two of their songs and one Gin Blossoms song round the clock.

I like Hungry Heart a lot, it's one of his more pop records, but I agree that it's really not among his very best stuff.

Posted by: Crank at August 14, 2009 4:02 PM

Glory days at 45? Meh, deserves to be higher for history if nothing else.

Saint in the City should definitely be better. If you click on his name he gives his opinion on pretty much every one (!!), but I don't think ranking reasoning.

Posted by: Dave at August 14, 2009 7:18 PM

I guess he excluded covers, thus the absence of the entire Seeger Sessions album, which is excellent, as well as "Jersey Girl" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".

"Thunder Road" really has to be a top five Springsteen song (I'd rank it second, probably). And I think this list tends to overrate the mopier songs from The River (other than the title song, which is great) over the rockers.

Personally, I like Bar Band Bruce, so the wordier, early songs are fine with me. I think he left off some excellent ones from the Tracks collection that are more in that vein.

Posted by: Jerry at August 14, 2009 7:25 PM

This list just shows how wonderful Bruce's career really has been. He's the best.

Posted by: steve at August 14, 2009 9:12 PM

Sheesh, I feel like such a poseur. Everyone I know thinks I am a huge music guy (4000+ songs on the iPod and counting), but I only have 40 some Springsteen songs in the shuffle. I don't even recognize a handful of the top 20.

I do note that all the songs on Born in the U.S.A. made it, for which I fully approve! One of the best albums ever by anyone.

Alright, let me add something useful here. I would put "Sherry Darling" in the top 20, if not the top 10. It is one of best combos of a serious subject and comedy I've heard by anyone.

Also, if I dare admit it, I don't think I have ever heard Bruce's version of "If I Should Fall Behind", but I have heard the Dion doo wop version. If you haven't heard it, I recommend it.

Posted by: Paul at August 14, 2009 9:19 PM

Also, this guy and myself have very different opinions on the best tracks on The Rising. "My City in Ruins" is overrated. The best songs are "Lonesome Day", "The Rising", "Waitin' on a Sunny Day", "Into the Fire", and "Mary's Place", in that order. Probably reveals my own bias in music there.

Posted by: Paul at August 14, 2009 9:25 PM

Bruce is a modestly talented guy who "puts on a good show", as they say. Not one of his songs can match Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, etc., at their best, or maybe even their worst. And don't get me started about Clarence Clemmons!

Posted by: John Salmon at August 15, 2009 2:51 PM


"I do note that all the songs on Born in the U.S.A. made it, for which I fully approve! One of the best albums ever by anyone."
It takes all kinds. It's the one album that I've never listened to in its entirety, because I've hated everything that I've heard (Born in the USA, Glory Days, Dancing in the Dark, My Hometown) from it. Maybe the rest of it's good, but I'll likely never know, because I dislike that stuff so strongly.


"Alright, let me add something useful here. I would put "Sherry Darling" in the top 20, if not the top 10."
And I agree completely with that....

Posted by: Lyford at August 15, 2009 8:00 PM

I mostly like Bruce when he is backed by the E Street Band. I can't really get into his solo stuff. Thunder Road at #18 is a travesty. That has to be in the top ten.

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