Springsteen's Nebraska: The Poll

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I know what I'm voting for. I predict every song will get at least one vote, though...

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Atlantic City 24
Nebraska 8
State Trooper 8
Used Cars 4
Open All Night 4
Highway Patrolman 2
Reason To Believe 2
Johnny 99 1
Mansion On The Hill 0
My Father's House 0


If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 00:57 (eight years ago) Permalink

oh god this is tufffffff

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMf0MTweXYc (Princess TamTam), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 00:58 (eight years ago) Permalink

yeah, ^^^^^^^^^^^ this. could be any of seven, for me.

but i think the song that's most seared into my memory is state trooper.

Daniel, Esq., Wednesday, 22 December 2010 00:58 (eight years ago) Permalink

Atlantic City.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 01:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

so much goodness here. for me, this is going to come down to Nebraska, Highway Patrolman & State Trooper

jerkstore cowboy (Pillbox), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 01:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

either of the two songs named after places. quite possibly my two favorite songs of his, period.

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 01:02 (eight years ago) Permalink

Between "Atlantic City" and "Highway Patrolman" for me, but remembering the chorus of "Highway Patrolman" just now made it impossible not to vote for it.

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 01:42 (eight years ago) Permalink

Over time the less immediately dramatic songs on here have really grown on me. Either 'mansion on the hill' or 'my father's house.' probably the latter.

enfuque (Matt P), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 02:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

Ugh. I think maybe Atlantic city. Maybe.

ENBB, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 02:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

^ this

sucks to vote for the obvious but may be the best song he ever wrote

Є|Э (Edward III), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 02:05 (eight years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I just listened to most of these and it really is fantastic. I mean, there are so many good ones here but I voted AC. Had to.

ENBB, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 02:06 (eight years ago) Permalink

One of my least favorite Springsteen albums: he doesn't have the melodies to support these (largely excellent) lyrics.

Voted for "State Trooper" -- it's genuinely scary. It conjures the feeling of driving at 4 am in total silence. The yelp before the fade is blood curdling.

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 02:09 (eight years ago) Permalink

one of my favorite springsteen albums cause I can't stand the guy's bluster, I can only take him when he's dialed back and not shouting like a deaf drunkard

Є|Э (Edward III), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 02:18 (eight years ago) Permalink

He mastered the low-bombast on Tunnel of Love.

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 02:26 (eight years ago) Permalink

God, I still haven't heard this one.

one pretty obvious guy in the obvious (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 03:29 (eight years ago) Permalink

if you're at all a fan of springsteen's quieter acoustic side, you really need to hear this one.

Daniel, Esq., Wednesday, 22 December 2010 03:30 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh, I'm sure I do, I've heard nothing but great things. As I explained in my River poll, I'm only just now getting into Springsteen after years of loathing him for the Born in the USA singles and his general rep.

one pretty obvious guy in the obvious (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 03:32 (eight years ago) Permalink

must ask how you can hate "I'm on fire"

Є|Э (Edward III), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 03:33 (eight years ago) Permalink

i've listened to this so much walking to and from the train in the last couple weeks, impossible to pick between title track (shades of o'connor imo) & 'state trooper' (which i listened to on repeat for a solid month a few years back and eventually based a short story upon) & 'reason to believe' which is imo the bleakest thing he ever wrote.

after so many plays i've kinda tired of 'atlantic city' tbrr.

back before the SPRINGSTEEN REVIVAL and gaslight anthem and titus andronicus made me give bruce a chance (lol that there was a time when i didn't own a half a gig of bootlegs) i was listening to and loving this first, and it'll probably always occupy a special place for me.

aka the pope (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 03:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

Voted "Reason to Believe" just to make sure it gets at least a vote. I love its ambiguity, both within the song itself and its positioning on the album, coming after everything else. It's him struggling with his own desire to believe in transcendence, higher purpose, redemption, etc. And all he can come up with is "people find some reason to believe." At the end of the album faith is just another mystery, like murder is at the beginning -- something people do but can't explain, neither one particularly making any more sense than the other. (And, based on the evidence, faith seems sort of the less reasonable response to the world.)

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 03:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

I love how he pronounces that line about pokin' the dead dog with the stick -- he makes you rewind the track and go, "Huh?"

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 03:49 (eight years ago) Permalink

I had the weird experience of writing something about that song in an article that then got quoted back to Bruce by the emcee during a Q&A at a concert I was at. Bruce kind of aw-shucks and dodged the question.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 03:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

"Atlantic City," by a mile. (Distant second: "State Trooper.")

xhuxk, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 04:06 (eight years ago) Permalink

great post about 'reason to believe', love that track (LOVE when they sorta ride the groove on live 75-85), was going to vote for it just to make it got a vote but now that i see it will i will be voting for 'state trooper'.

balls, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 04:08 (eight years ago) Permalink

I think there's a tendency to shy away from the title track, and in a way the whole album is almost like a recoil from it. There's pleasure in it, and sexuality, "leather straps across my chest," his pretty baby on his lap. There's a lot in that song.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 04:18 (eight years ago) Permalink

i think i'm gonna vote for the title track..."Well sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world" is one of pop music's greatest single lines...

Ned Rag & the Evil Olive Gardens (Drugs A. Money), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 04:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

I have def decided to vote for the title track, even if just for the way the opening harmonica wail seems to drift in perfectly from some empty highway - a visual conjured, or at least upheld, by the photo on the album cover (one of the most suitable sleeve designs ever imo).

jerkstore cowboy (Pillbox), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 04:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

i think i'm gonna vote for the title track..."Well sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world" is one of pop music's greatest single lines...

― Ned Rag & the Evil Olive Gardens (Drugs A. Money), Wednesday, December 22, 2010 4:21 AM (31 minutes ago) Bookmark

fwiw iirc this is a direct lift from flannery o'connor's "a good man is hard to find"

aka the pope (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 04:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

doesn't diminish it an iota though

aka the pope (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 04:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

just double checked, i did not rc:

"Jesus was the only one that ever raised the dead," the Misfit continued, "and He shouldn't have done it. He thown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it's nothing for you to do but thow away everything and follow Him, and if he didn't, then it's nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can--by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness," he said and his voice had almost become a snarl.

I've read that story at least a dozen times and somehow I never noticed "thown" before. Little marvels.

aka the pope (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 04:58 (eight years ago) Permalink

Voted Used Cars without a second thought

Trip Maker, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 05:05 (eight years ago) Permalink

somewhat surprisingly state trooper was used as part of the soundtrack to last nights top gear show as clarkson was driving across america.

mark e, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 09:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

love how each song on this is someone recalling the defining moment/time in their life and for each song it's a completely different someone, but then there are echoes/ghosts of one in the other.

enfuque (Matt P), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 16:36 (eight years ago) Permalink

ended up voting for 'my father's house.' i can imagine the dream and the story so vividly. gives me goosebumps every time.

enfuque (Matt P), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 16:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

listened to this today after glancing at this poll. 'atlantic city' wins. 'state trooper' a close second. 'open all night' is mad under-rated tho.

the Chinese firewall of the heart (Michael B), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 16:51 (eight years ago) Permalink

I love how he pronounces that line about pokin' the dead dog with the stick -- he makes you rewind the track and go, "Huh?"

this was the album where he really began incorporating that hard southern twang in his voice that doesn't sound like anyone else from new jersey that i've ever met but totally works.

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 16:55 (eight years ago) Permalink

"Atlantic City," by a mile. (Distant second: "State Trooper.")

― xhuxk, Tuesday, December 21, 2010 8:06 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark

yes. i voted for "open all night" though, just cuz someone should.

(echoing michael b, it seems)

a man called hearse (contenderizer), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 16:55 (eight years ago) Permalink

fwiw iirc this is a direct lift from flannery o'connor's "a good man is hard to find"

so much of this album is a direct lift from a story or a movie or another song. compare, for example, "atlantic city" to louis malle's great "atlantic city," even down to details like the line about how maybe everything that dies someday comes back.

and, yeah, it doesn't diminish nebraska an iota. a perfect album.

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 17:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

I voted for Open All Night too!

rake rock reggae (kkvgz), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 17:02 (eight years ago) Permalink

this was the album where he really began incorporating that hard southern twang in his voice that doesn't sound like anyone else from new jersey that i've ever met but totally works.

it's the only thing that bugs me about the album, I'm like dude you're from FREEHOLD

Є|Э (Edward III), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 17:06 (eight years ago) Permalink

He can get away w/ it tho, just like Mick Jagger. It is a tricky thing to pull off & really make yr own, but he does it.

jerkstore cowboy (Pillbox), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 17:13 (eight years ago) Permalink

thought digging it up and listening again would clarify what the right choice is, but it just made it harder

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMf0MTweXYc (Princess TamTam), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 17:57 (eight years ago) Permalink

tipsy mothra and balls have me wavering, b/c the version of reason to believe on the live set is devastating. johnny 99 on that one cuts pretty deep too.

but if it's strictly on the Nebraska tracks, I think atlantic city edges nebraska for me, just barely.

all yoga attacks are fire based (rogermexico.), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 20:37 (eight years ago) Permalink

yeah this is Atlantic City vs Nebraska for me (as well) i like the MOOD on the rest of the albums, but in hypercritical mode, "songs" etc.

i think I'll go for Nebraska.

Ludo, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 20:52 (eight years ago) Permalink

*album*

Ludo, Wednesday, 22 December 2010 20:52 (eight years ago) Permalink

just noticed the ones I find most effective on the album are the jersey based ones (ac and state trooper), like his own sense of home carried the songs to some place his masks couldn't

my father's house hitting hard too, that last line is great

Є|Э (Edward III), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 20:59 (eight years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Friday, 14 January 2011 00:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

Wonder if every song will get a vote

Mark, Friday, 14 January 2011 02:57 (eight years ago) Permalink

listened to ghost of tom joad recently and it seems pretty awesome now

mekka lekka hi mega-hiney hoes (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 14 January 2011 02:59 (eight years ago) Permalink

"State Trooper," if only because a friend of mine accused me of driving him near the brink of madness for playing a mixtape (while driving across Michigan during the middle of the night) that went DJ Shadow's "What Does Your Soul Look Like, Pt. 2" -> the Jesus Lizard's "White Hole" -> This Heat's "Horizontal Hold" -> "State Trooper" -> Suicide's "Frankie Teardrop."

Andy K, Friday, 14 January 2011 03:10 (eight years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Saturday, 15 January 2011 00:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

pretty sure I voted for "Highway Patrolman" but never wrote about cos I was on the road at the time; but that song's a killer, heartbreaking obv. but with a gorgeous melody, esp. esp. esp. on the chorus with the harmonica. Did Bruce cop this melody from some folk song à la Dylan? & on the verses Bruce's voice is a drone so that the rises near & then into the chorus hit twice as hard. I don't know how many times I've broken down listening to this song; I have a brother, I know what blood feels like; but the song manages to bring out the ambiguity of family bonds, how those ties bind while at the same time repulsing you because I didn't choose these people & I have to bleed for them? A man turns his back on his family, well, he just ain't no good.

Euler, Saturday, 15 January 2011 00:10 (eight years ago) Permalink

six years pass...

first verse of reason to believe gets my vote as the single best thing bruce has ever written

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Tuesday, 1 August 2017 20:20 (one year ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...

Johnny 99 1

Huh.

Making Plans For Sturgill (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 04:59 (eleven months ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

I have a question about this record, and about BS more generally - I really like that it's put together in a straightforward way, and isn't a polished production (although, as far as I'm aware, it's some demos that were worked up a bit). As far as I'm aware, it's a bit anomalous in terms of his releases, but I really, really like it so I'm keen to figure out if there are other records of his that I might like too. Can you recommend any? If so, do please let me know.

neilasimpson, Monday, 10 June 2019 16:29 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Yeah it's pretty much an outlier but check out The Ghost of Tom Joad and then Devils & Dust.

van dyke parks generator (anagram), Monday, 10 June 2019 17:54 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Fantastic. Thank you!

neilasimpson, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 15:07 (two weeks ago) Permalink


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