With all apologies to Reese and his Cups, there are no wrong ways to listen to Bruce Springsteen.
Want to hear a story, with themes uniting the music from beginning to end? Pop in a full album. More interested in checking out singles, bouncing from rock to pop to folk to beyond? Put your iPod on shuffle and move through his individual songs. Hits? He’s got them. Obscure tracks? Those, too. Fan favorites? Duh.
No matter your mood, there’s Springsteen.
Which can be a problem when trying to compile An Ultimate Springsteen Playlist. How can you narrow down a top 40 or 50 songs, let alone a top 10-15? Do you include any complete albums (really, Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town deserve this), or do you pick and chose the best tracks? Do you use studio versions or live cuts?
There are many, many directions you can go, and that’s the beauty of his music. When I’m sad, I can play “Racing in the Street.” When I’m happy, I can play “Ramrod” (the version off Live in New York City, of course). Or I can play “Thunder Road,” which satisfies any mood, any time.
So, Springsteen fans, I ask you this: Please share with me your suggestions for the Ultimate Springsteen Playlist(s). I’m looking for the 50-60 songs you think best represent his work, particularly for people who are familiar with him, but not overly so. I’m looking for creativity more than just a “here are my favorite Bruce songs.” Try something like “Songs That Sound Like They’re About Cars But Are Really About Girls,” or “Songs About My Dad,” or “Bruce is Angry” followed by “Bruce is Happy.”
Think about your suggestions, then leave your playlists in the comments section below. Your help is greatly appreciated.