During the first 23 years of my life, I hated Bruce Springsteen. He made me think of Ronald Reagan and dancing with Courtney Cox.
Then, in 2003, an epiphany! Nebraska made me forget the dead presidents and mediocre actresses! The album is basically a demo tape Springsteen recorded at home. The E-Street band then tried their hand at the songs, but their versions fell flat. Eventually, Springsteen just released the demos instead.
Nebraska paints an eerie picture of hard-hit towns, brotherhood, and serial killers. It's also one of those rare albums that doesn't seem to have a flaw: each song works by itself and within the context of the album; his voice is perfectly understated; the guitar parts are beautiful; and the stories are frightening. It's tempting to post the entire album here, but I think the first 2 songs are fairly representative:
Since coming to terms with Bruce Springsteen (I still itch a little bit when someone calls him The Boss), I can now listen to Born in the USA, Born to Run, and even Dancing in the Dark---Courtney Cox be damned! I might even like his version of War (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9S9TeDh2vM&feature=related) as much as the Edwin Starr version (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YA3OjgeWV2M&feature=related).
I'll admit that I've become a Bruce Springsteen pusher. If you've read this far, you're my latest victim.