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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A few thoughts for new Springsteen fans
For diehard Springsteen fans, no review is necessary. If any one of them has yet to acquire a copy of this stunning four-CD set, it is certainly not a matter of WHETHER or not to do so, but simply a matter of how to beg, borrow, or steal the sixty-odd dollar price of the collection. And once the copy is finally purchased, the fan won't be reading reviews; she'll be too...
Published on June 30, 2000 by rainbowcrow

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars CD1=5stars, CD2=4stars, CD3=3 Stars CD4=2Stars
There is a core of Springsteen fans who feel his best efforts were done before "The River". These fans further believe that "the River would've made an exceptional "Single LP" instead of the pretty good "Double LP" that it was. These fans saw hope in the direction of Nebraska and the beginning of the end with "Born In The...
Published on December 1, 1998


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A few thoughts for new Springsteen fans, June 30, 2000
This review is from: Bruce Springsteen: Tracks (Audio CD)
For diehard Springsteen fans, no review is necessary. If any one of them has yet to acquire a copy of this stunning four-CD set, it is certainly not a matter of WHETHER or not to do so, but simply a matter of how to beg, borrow, or steal the sixty-odd dollar price of the collection. And once the copy is finally purchased, the fan won't be reading reviews; she'll be too busy immersing herself in the power of the music, the joy of watching Springsteen's songwriting evolve, and the fascination of discovering the roots of well-loved and well-worn Springsteen classics.
So let me target my review to newer Springsteen fans - those who own one or two records but certainly not the whole canon, or those who know his songs from radio play or friends, but have yet to pick up any of his music. For these people, the obvious question arises - is Tracks a good place to begin?
For all the incredible things I could say about this record (notice my unequivocal five-star rating) and for all the time that these four CD's have spent in my CD player, I would suggest that the new fan start elsewhere. In my opinion, there are at least three records that one should buy first: Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and Nebraska. I don't think that I venture too far into hyperbole with the claim that these three records offer a power, brilliance, and consistency of vision almost unmatched by any trio from any artist in the whole of rock and roll. If you don't own these three records, go out and buy them now. When the chills finally start to subside and your breath finally begins to return, THEN you can order yourself a copy of Tracks. You won't be disappointed.
That said, the absolutely amazing thing about this collection is how very close it comes, in quality and span, to these three keystone records. While I've recommended them over this collection, one would not go far wrong by starting with Tracks as an introduction to Springsteen. This is an extraordinary claim, after all; I am arguing that a collection of unreleased material and B-sides comes very close to holding its own against three of the greatest records in all of rock and roll.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential listening for Bruce fans, September 26, 2003
By 
Aaron Collins (Concord, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bruce Springsteen: Tracks (Audio CD)
I know it's tempting to pick up the single disc 18-Tracks compilation instead of the whole four disc set, but this is truely four discs worth of great music. Fans of Springsteen should definitely pick up this set. I'm usually bored to death by B-Sides and rarities collections, but I absolutely adore this set. Every song has something to say. When most bands are struggling to include one or two decent songs on an album, Bruce has come forward with stuff that didn't make the cut at first, and it's more consistent then most albums coming out today. He is an amazing musician and this release helps to display that. It's hard to believe that most of these songs stayed in the vaults for no one to hear for so long. One highlight is My Love Will Not Let You Down, which consistently made it's way into live sets when the E Street band reunited in 1999. There's a great recording of This Hard Land, which is one of my favorite songs Bruce has ever written. Overall, I like the recording found on his Greatest Hits set more, but this recording is still wonderful. This set is a must buy for fans, and it is certainly good for anyone seeking an education in what real music is all about.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ****1/2 - very impressive, November 22, 2003
This review is from: Bruce Springsteen: Tracks (Audio CD)
Not a career retrospective, Bruce Springsteen's "Tracks" gathers four discs worth of unreleased songs, B-sides, and alternate takes.
It does miss out on a few great songs, like the superb rock n' roll gem "From Small Things" (which is now finally available on the "Essential Bruce Springsteen" collection), and the grinding, bluesy folk of "If I Was The Priest" (which isn't).

But that's a minor complaint, because this big, handsomely packaged and well annotated set is a real treasure trove. Bruce Springsteen has always been famous for leaving great songs off his records simply because they didn't fit in with the overall mood or the theme of the record, and the quality of much of this material is amazing.

The songs are logically sequenced, beginning with a few early acoustic demos of songs which would appear on Springsteen's debut album, and ending with outtakes from "Human Touch" and "Lucky Town".
The first 2 1/2 discs are the best, but there is a lot of excellent material on all four CDs, ranging from acoustic folk-rock to tremendously gritty electric rock songs like "Give The Girl A Kiss" and the rough and emotional "Hearts Of Stone".
Other highlights include the driving hard rock of "Where The Bands Are" and "Rendezvous", the original version of "This Hard Land", and of course the classic "Pink Cadillac". And numerous other songs, many of which will be completely unknown to most listeners.

Springsteen may not be the blinding visionary that Bob Dylan is, but "Tracks" is almost as essential for Springsteen fans as Bob Dylan's renowned "Bootleg" series is for Dylan-philes. It is certainly hard to imagine another rock composer who could put out four CDs worth of outtakes and B-sides, let alone four discs which would maintain this level of quality.
This is not the place to start your Springsteen collection, of course, but it's a great stop to make along the way once you are hooked.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bruce hits like a thundercrack, August 22, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Bruce Springsteen: Tracks (Audio CD)
I have been a long-time fan of Bruce Springsteen. Bootleggers may know me as the guy that shouted "Bradley Beach!!" from the Bottom Line. Anyway, even though there is a tremendous amount of great Bruce music omitted, what is included in this collection is going to blow you away. Remember that Bruce was writing these songs shortly after the Beatles sued each other, right through the disco age, and well into the hairspray sounds of Duran Duran and Kajagoogoo (or something like that). The Punks had come and gone. Heavy metal and rap found niches.
But nothing shook Bruce from the pure foundation of full steam ahead american rock & roll painted with the sweat of desire. His ability to tell a story about characters we would never otherwise want to know, but now totally relate to is genius.
I cannot stop listening to this unbelievable collection.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's the coolest rockin' daddy in the U.S.A, November 22, 1998
This review is from: Bruce Springsteen: Tracks (Audio CD)
This is THE complete Springsteen collection from 1972-1995. It jams, it rocks, it stirs the soul -- it wraps 14+ albums and EPs, with their 23 years of accompanying emotions, into one tight 4-CD set. After getting over the bliss of hearing the new songs, the best part of the collection is identifying each song, based on what year it was recorded, to the album that was released at that time. "Bishop Danced" could have been right between "Incident on 57th Street" and "Rosalita" on The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle. "Iceman" would have been perfect on Side One of Darkness On The Edge Of Town. The head-bopping party sound of "Lion's Den" would have been perfect on the first album of The River. "Car Wash" would have have been perfect on Born In The U.S.A. (The song from a woman's perspective is strange but interesting, Bruce!) "Gave It A Name" would have fit well on Human Touch (but not really Lucky Town...) And "Brothers Under The Bridge" not only could have sat right after "Sinaloa Cowboys" on The Ghost Of Tom Joad, but was a popular song on that tour. When I first opened the box, I started working through the songs, just enjoying each in turn, until I hit song 15 of CD 2, the acoustic version of "Born In The U.S.A." I had seen Bruce do it acoustically on the Tom Joad tour, but hearing the track sounding just like Nebraska, sent shivers down my spine. I couldn't get past that song for the rest of the day, listening to it over and over again. And the same reaction when I hit "Brothers Under The Bridge." All true Springsteen fans, I'm sure, already have worn out their CD players with Tracks. I can only hope the radio stations and powers-that-be in the music industry sit up and realize that Bruce, a shoe-in for the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, is still the most important musician/songwriter/storyteller of our time. I'M JUST A PRISONER OF THIS CD!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection that takes getting used too, February 7, 2000
By 
David N. Reiss (Haymarket, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bruce Springsteen: Tracks (Audio CD)
The Track's Box set collection takes some getting used to for a normal Springsteen fan. The reason for that being that these songs are not what has come to be thought of as "Springsteen music". There is much more of a country and early 50's rock feel to some of the music on this collection.
You also get a lot of the evolution to music by the Boss. Sometimes just a line from a song, a others half the song become something else. There are ever some instances where the tracks version of a song turned into two different songs on his normal album work... half turning into one thing, and the other half into another thing.
It took me some time listening it to get to love this album. But it is worth having it, as it is great.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I thought it was for freakies only, but it's ESSENTIAL, January 24, 2008
This review is from: Bruce Springsteen: Tracks (Audio CD)
Very, very good music.
At the beginning I thought this was the typical kind of barroom-music rubbish, only for the real freaks.
But no, these are really very good songs, lots of them worthy of being publicated on the first LPs. The problem is, he wrote so many good songs in such a short time, that he had to chose between good and even better songs.
This is definitely a must have for all Bruce Springsteen fans, and it's a pleasure to listen to new songs in the 21st Century, with the quality of the much younger Bruce.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bruce leaves no doubt..., January 6, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Bruce Springsteen: Tracks (Audio CD)
This is actually in response to a lot of negative comments that I read above, which were mostly along the lines of "Bruce is just cashing in." Look, you sorry cynics, if Bruce had wanted to cash in, he could have crammed every song the fans wanted onto an 8 CD set and charged $150. Instead, he left off obvious favorites like "The Promise" and "The Fever" because he wasn't happy with the recordings. Does that sound like someone just foisting off their rejects on a gullible public? That is the mark of an artist who has always cared about putting out the best material possible, regardless of the project.
I'm personally delighted that there were songs on this set that I have never heard of, even after years of reading magazines like "Backstreets." Some of these are as good, if not better, than anything on the albums.
"Loose Ends" would have been a better single for "The River" than "Hungry Heart" was. "TV Movie" is a laugh riot, the most clever topical song Bruce has ever released, superior to "57 Channels." "Back in Your Arms" is one of the best love songs of his career (showing that even when he was recording the extra songs for "Greatest Hits," he was at the top of his form).
If "Tracks" is just a washed-up artist cashing in, then I wish more musicians would wash up and cash in, too.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, but not quite his best, June 10, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Bruce Springsteen: Tracks (Audio CD)
Most artists shouldn't have collections of outtakes and unreleased songs, but most nowadays do. Often they're disappointing. You have to be very prolific and very good to make them worthwhile. You also have to be a questionable arbiter of your own material to keep such good material off your "official releases" (something Bob Dylan's been accused of). But, there is a reason why Springsteen, like Prince, Neil Young, and Dylan, is widely bootlegged, and not just for his amazing concerts. He is prolific, he is very good. BUT, he is a pretty good judge of his own material. A few lapses, but he still bats close to a 1.000.
The set starts off with a few demos. Here's a young man, hungry, ambitious, exploding with nervous energy and ideas, rushing through his songs on just his voice and an acoustic guitar. Upon repeated listening, they pale to the live, full-band versions, all except "Growin' Up." A great, great version. Next up, a great live cut, "Bishop Danced," just Bruce with Federici on accordian. It's a lost classic, and so is "Thundercrack." "Seaside Bar Song" is a good-time, swinging record, but "Santa Ana," "Zero...," and "Linda..." don't take off, lyrically or musically. I almost turn off the record, but then things pick up with the lost classic "Thundercrack." The best of the rest, a rocking live "Rendezvous," the retro, pile-driving "Give The Girl A Kiss" and "So Young...," the slow, romantic "Hearts Of Stone," and a slow, brooding "Iceman" are all good, but they don't match what you find on "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" or "The River." Either it's not quite as good or thematically, it clashes too much, or both. On a few, Bruce doesn't get through the whole song without botching the lyrics (luckily, they print them up for you). Still, a song like "Restless Nights" has a killer guitar break even if it isn't one of Bruce's best songs. The middle of the set is sustained by some excellent B-sides from the singles off the "Born In The USA" Lp, but the stand-out is the acoustic version of that Lp's title track. It takes the song somewhere darker, more disturbing, and ultimately saves the song from being hijacked as a widely-misinterpeted arena anthem. Bruce's 'cars and girls' songs are getting better, too. By 1978, they already transformed into social commentary, anger, and frustration instead of the retro, romanticism of his early years, but as you can see from the outtakes, he was still writing and recording some in that mold as late as 1984. But, again, he had outgrown them, so the nice, romantic "Frankie" gets shelved and the swaggering "Pink Cadillac" is banished to B-side purgatory. This is where the pickings get slim, and Bruce nearly hits a brick wall. Most of the last disc is generic sounding. They're not bad, but they cover well-worn territory. If they were musically more compelling, he'd get away with that, but they aren't. They sound generic. Still, "Sad Eyes" creates a nice mood, as does "Happy." The last track, "Brothers..." (unrelated to the similarly titled song on Disc 3), however, ends the set on a high note. Not a lost classic, but better than anything on the "Tom Joad" album. Just excellent. Had his effective, underrated re-recording of "The Promise" and "Missing" been included here instead of being banished to "18 Tracks" and a Europe-only CD single, respectively, the last quarter would've been so much better. The former is a lost classic (previously recorded in intolerably slow versions), the latter a strong latter day song exploring new ground (done for a movie directed by Sean Penn). "The Fever" should've been here, too (also on "18 Tracks").
Bruce's studio albums from "Wild, Innocent..." to "Tunnel Of Love" are all very good to great. Each one had been called a masterpiece by somebody, and dropping the songs you hear on "Tracks" doesn't hurt them. But, one could have a very respectable career had they recorded the music you hear on "Tracks."
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars CD1=5stars, CD2=4stars, CD3=3 Stars CD4=2Stars, December 1, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Bruce Springsteen: Tracks (Audio CD)
There is a core of Springsteen fans who feel his best efforts were done before "The River". These fans further believe that "the River would've made an exceptional "Single LP" instead of the pretty good "Double LP" that it was. These fans saw hope in the direction of Nebraska and the beginning of the end with "Born In The USA". This is not to say that any album after Nebraska was not good, but to say that Springsteens later efforts lacked the raw emotion that made otherwise great songs, exceptional songs.
The problem with "Tracks" is that in begins at the beginning of Bruce's career and traces it thru to the present and in doing so, it includes a plethera of songs that were not good enough for "Tunnel of Love", "Human Touch" and "Lucky Town" If you hold these albums in the same esteem as "Greetings","the Wild, The Innocent,& The E Street Shuffle", "Born To Run", and "Darkness" Then you'll like Tracks more than than I did.
Another problem I have with Tracks is the lack of Springsteen's early music. The first CD cover his first four albums, the entire decade of the seventies. Numerous songs from this period were totally neglected on his Greatest Hits collection as well as the live anthology. This means the highly sought studio versions of Hammond demos such as "Arabian Nights", "Contessa", Street Queen" and "American Tune" which was cut at the last minute from "Greetings" will never be officially released. This is a sad moment for long time fans.
Plus the numerous songs recorded for "Darkness" some of which that were given to Southside Johnny for his albums will also never surface, officially now. This in itself would've constituted another CD but instead we only get "Hearts of Stone" and "Rendevous", and "Frankie" There is no "Talk To Me" or "The Way" or "The Promise"
Please Bruce, give us an official release of "The Promise" It would fit nicely with your latest efforts.
A final problem with "Tracks" is a lack of songs from Bruce's Steel Mill days plus such unrecorded gems such as "Ballad of the Self Loading Pistol"
Overall, if you're one of those fans, who relish the days when Bruce would say "I ain't the Boss" then you'll be a little disappointed with the last two discs. You'll find them to be "good" but not necassarily "great".
This is pretty much, all that is musically "Wrong" with Tracks. Fortunately, there is a lot of stuff that are "Right" with it. I waffled between 3 or 4 stars for the final review and finally went with 3 stars because of the list price of $70. I know all the material is new but what happened to the days when Bruce would make sure his fans weren't gouged by the record industry. $70 list is just way too high for a 4CD release. You lose 1 star just because of this price. I highly recommend it for for even this core of fans who have been dissappointed with later efforts but just don't get it at full price.
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Bruce Springsteen: Tracks
Bruce Springsteen: Tracks by Bruce Springsteen (Audio CD - 1998)
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