Release Date: Sep 23, 2016
Record label: Columbia
Bruce Springsteen's passion for storytelling has taken countless forms over the years – he called his early songs "twisted autobiographies. " Chapter and Verse is the companion album to his memoir Born to Run, following the tale from his garage-band youth to his current glory days, with five tunes he's never released before. For Chapter and Verse he's chosen a revelatory mix of classics and obscurities – he leans hard on the hard-luck tales in his songbook, as the Jersey romance of "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" gives way to the dashed dreams of "The River" or "Brilliant Disguise.
The phrase “soundtrack to our lives” gets tossed around a lot, but it’s a phenomenon most of us play a passive role in—other peoples’ music happens to us, impacts our lives, reflects our emotions or certain periods of time. But if you’re a musician, particularly one who’s enjoyed a career as long and successful as Bruce Springsteen’s, putting together the “soundtrack of your life” isn’t just an act of curation; it’s autobiography. And so, on the Boss’ 67th birthday, we have Chapter and Verse, the companion album to his forthcoming memoir, Born to Run.
I’ll begin with a caveat. Chapter and Verse is a slightly unusual record: a companion to Born to Run ; not the song or the album, but rather the inevitably-titled autobiography from Bruce Springsteen (yes, Alan Partridge did something similar). It is therefore a little strange to be reviewing the record because, er, I haven’t been sent it (yet?).
Bruce Springsteen was a young man for the span of two albums. His twin releases from 1973, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle, were populated by teenage tramps who skipped school, acted cool, stayed out all night, and, generally, felt all right. By the time Born to Run was released in the summer of 1975, Springsteen was starting to put his childish things away.
Designed as a companion to Bruce Springsteen's 2016 memoir Born to Run, Chapter & Verse provides something of an aural autobiography, tracing Springsteen's development from a Jersey garage rocker into one of the great American songwriters. Springsteen compiled the 18-track disc himself, intending his selection to mirror the themes in his book, so he balances epics with intimate miniatures since both kinds of songs can capture his quests for deliverance and escape. He alternates his well-known anthems ("Born to Run," "Badlands," "Born in the USA"), with a few other popular singles ("Brilliant Disguise," "The Rising") and a host of deep cuts, all of which tend to downplay both his romantic and hard-rocking sides.
Make no mistake: Chapter and Verse is more bonus material than proper album, or even proper compilation. Of the 13 already released songs that make up the majority of the track listing (most of them classics at this point), 10 are already available in one place via the digital version of The Essential Bruce Springsteen. They’re even presented in the same chronological fashion.
Ask a hundred Bruce Springsteen fans how they would winnow his decades-spanning catalog down to an 18-song compilation and you’ll probably get a hundred different answers. (There might even be a few holdouts who eschew his triumphant open-road anthem “Born to Run,” for kicks.) But none of those collections will have the pedigree of “Chapter & Verse,” which Springsteen himself put together as a companion to his new autobiography, “Born to Run.” “Chapter & Verse” opens with rarities intended to echo the book’s chronicles of his early life. Tracks one and two are a pair of rave-ups by the Castiles, the band Springsteen was in as a Jersey teen in the mid-’60s.
Read the book, stay for the songs A companion album to Bruce Springsteen’s long-awaited autobiography is more than just a smart marketing move. Approached in tandem, the record and the weighty tell-all memoir act as bookends to a half-century in music, and each offer something beyond what past biographers had at their disposal. ADVERTISINGinRead invented by Teads .