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206 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Product Description

1982 release, the first proper solo album from the singer, songwriter and leader of The E-Street Band. Sparsely-recorded on a cassette-tape Portastudio, the tracks on Nebraska were originally intended as demos of songs to be recorded with the E Street Band. However, Springsteen ultimately decided to release the demos themselves.

Hot on the heels of The River, his commercial breakthrough, Springsteen's decision to release the stark, demo-quality Nebraska seems downright perverse. But the genius of the album is unmistakable--with just an acoustic guitar and his howling harmonica to back him, Springsteen tells the stories of characters walking on both sides of the law, some of them directly on the line in between. The effect is that of a powerful series of black-and-white photographs--the details are bleak in and of themselves, but they ignite the imagination in ways that are more satisfying than full-color shots would be. "Mansion on the Hill," "Highway Patrolman," "Atlantic City," and the frightening "Nebraska" are among the most sharply rendered and memorable works of Springsteen's career. --Daniel Durchholz

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Nebraska 4:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Atlantic City 3:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Mansion on the Hill 4:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Johnny 99 3:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Highway Patrolman 5:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. State Trooper 3:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Used Cars 3:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Open All Night 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. My Father's House 5:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Reason to Believe 4:10$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B0000025T6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,103 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

180 of 183 people found the following review helpful By David Bradley on May 25, 2001
Format: Audio CD
One of the truly great pieces of Art in American recording history, NEBRASKA explores the dark stories of the characters who chose to take to the road in THE RIVER.
They hit middle America and go crazy. Simple as that.
These are stories of killers and cops, truck drivers and, frankly, people who have been driven to such a degree that they can no longer find their way through the comprimises and grey areas that they find themselves swimming in.
I've always been fascinated by Springsteen's phrasing on NEBRASKA. "Me and her went for a ride, sir." There's always that "sir," or "mister," and the wording is sparse. To me, these songs sound like death row confessions.
To me, "Atlantic City" ranks as one of Springsteen's finest moment, a tough-as-nails story of a man comprimising his own morals/ethics in order to get himself and his wife out of a dying town--and considering the unimaginable in order to finance their escape. But he still needs to console himself, rationalize his decision, before he can live with it:
"I've been looking for a job but it's hard to find. Down here it's just winners and losers, and don't get caught on the wrong side of that line. Well, I'm tired of coming out on this losing end. So honey last night I met this guy and I'm gonna do a little favor for him...but I guess everything dies baby, that's a fact, but maybe everything that dies one day comes back..."
NEBRASKA is not a fun-time party album. It's dangerous to listen to it in your car at 3 a.m.. But it is a piece of perfection, a story of the cultural decay Springsteen and his characters found in the USA in 1982, stories of desperate people in bad situations. It is a record that will be just as vital and important in 100 years as it was upon it's release.
NEBRASKA is true Art of the highest order.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By P Magnum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
After The River became Bruce's first number one album, "Hungry Heart" became his first top ten song and a hugely successful world tour, one would expect his next album to be in a similar vein to keep up the momentum. Instead of a River clone, Bruce did a complete 180 and released the dark, brooding Nebraska. Bruce at the time was listening to Woody Guthrie and other depression era folk & blues artists and this album reflects those sounds. The album consists basically of just an acoustic guitar and harmonica and explores subjects such as murder, crime, loss and loneliness. The songs are all sung in the first person and that gives them an intimacy that is rarely felt from an album. Bruce would explore dark subjects on later albums ("Born In The USA" was original recorded for this album), but he never recorded them in such a bare and stark nature. On this album, Bruce asks alot of questions and dares you to search for answers. The search is well worth the time and effort.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 1998
Format: Audio CD
My confession: I listened to this album for the first time around 1990 based on a friend's recommendation, and I was instantly converted. I had previously taken part in the backlash against Bruce Springsteen, the backlash that followed the stunning commercial success of "Born in the USA." "Nebraska" set me straight and gave me insight into what a masterful storyteller Springsteen is.
This album is Bruce all alone, without the E Street band. The songs are quiet and honest with a rough quality, and each one tells a story about people who somehow got left out of the American dream. "Used Cars" is the most touching to me, telling a child's perspective on his father's purchase of a used car, which is a powerful symbol of the family's lack of status or hope. "My Father's House" is equally powerful.
"Nebraska" is the clear predecessor to "Tunnel of Love." "Born in the USA" really seems like an aberration in Springsteen's musical development when you consider that it was released in the time between these two albums. Don't get me wrong. "Born in the USA" is a great album. But "Nebraska" is softer and far more haunting.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on October 28, 2004
Format: Audio CD
"Everything dies baby, that's a fact. But maybe everything that dies some day comes back."

Our journey is one of hard traveling--year in, year out. Bruce Springsteen's album Nebraska is filled with haunting and sometimes beautiful snap-shots of people who've come to the end of their rope. It is possibly his greatest recording (its either this one or its echo of a decade later: The Ghost of Tom Joad).

Each song on Nebraska paints a portrait or a chracter sketch of an individual facing some kind of crux in their life. Each song is a unique story told in varying narrative voices. Each speaks to the triumphs and the humiliations that make us human.

The strength of Nebraska is that the narrators of the songs are allowed to tell their own tales, there is no imputed right or wrong from the song-writer. Much like short-stories that grab you with the humanity and reality of the main character, these songs bring you into their world rather than merely telling you about them. In the drudgery, hard labor, and ever-present shadow of despair we meet people very much like us.

If I sound foolish in what I am about to say, I beg your foriveness and ask you to listen to a fool just a little while longer: despite the storm clouds that gather in these songs, I see them as great testimonies to the power of hope. Much like the Badlands mentioned in the title track (which I had the privilege of visiting this summer), the darkness of life, the bleakness that sometimes echos deep within us, suggest to me a the possibility--hell--the PROBABILITY of better days and better things. Hope takes some faith and both (hope and faith), without being rooted in love, are worthless.

But hope, like faith and love, are the only things that will never fail--even in the deepest darkness of the shadow of despair.

I give Nebraska my full recommendation.
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