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Album Review: Bruce Springsteen – The Ties That Bind: The River Collection

2 min read

It’s been 35 years since Bruce Springsteen released The River, his first double album, one which would go on to win a swag of accolades and certify five times platinum in the USA alone. To honour that album, Springsteen has now released a simply massive box collection, The Ties That Bind: The River Collection. Spanning four CDs, 54 songs and three DVDs full of never-before-seen footage, as well as a 148-page hardcover coffee table book, this offers a rare insight into one of Springsteen’s true masterpieces, the album which propelled him from mere songwriter to proper all-American icon.

Springteen-The-Ties-That-BindAs well as including the original album, The Ties That Bind: The River Collection features a disc full of outtakes, and The River: Single Album, both of which were previously unreleased. Positioning this new material side-by-side with the old is not simply a gimmick, but rather a way for Springsteen to provide a new depth of dimension on an already nuanced album. The wrenching emotion on classic Drive All Night is echoed in the manic piano and raw vocals of Little White Lies, while moments like Mr. Outside explore the stripped-back, intimate voice hinted at on the original album in Wreck on the Highway. Springsteen weaves a narrative full of busted dreams, blue-collar America, urban isolation – all themes which would become major motifs throughout the rest of his career.

For the die-hard Springsteen aficionado, this album offers an incredibly comprehensive look at one of his most carefully written and well-loved albums. And for those less familiar with his work, it’s still a revealing glimpse into the underside of Springsteen’s enigmatic legacy.