Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)

Springsteen_Winterland_.jpgSpringsteen_Palladium_.jpgRobert Christgau

“Promised Land,” “Badlands,” and “Adam Raised a Cain” are models of how an unsophisticated genre can illuminate a mature, full-bodied philosophical insight. Lyrically and vocally, they move from casual to incantatory modes with breathtaking subtlety, jolting ordinary details into meaning. But many of the other songs remain local-color pieces, and at least two–”Something in the Night” and “Streets of Fire”–are overwrought, soggy, all but unlistenable. An important minor artist or a rather flawed and inconsistent major one. B+

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