Review : Bruce Springsteen - The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story / The Promise
PitchforkSometimes reissues add a few demos or outtakes, sometimes they add a bonus disc with a live show or more additional music, and sometimes they go so far with the bonus material they become something else entirely. The Promise, a name given to two sets based around unheard music from Bruce Springsteen dating to 1977 and 1978, when he was writing and recording the seminal Darkness on the Edge of Town, doesn't fit easily into typical reissue categories. There's a 2xCD, 3xLP set that contains 22 unreleased songs from the period, and then there's a deluxe box set that augments the unreleased material with a remastered version of Darkness and three DVDs. And the latter is housed in a faux spiral-bound notebook with facsimiles of Springsteen's handwritten studio notes from the time. Taken all together, we're talking 10 hours plus of video and audio, along with the booklet. So calling this a reissue of Darkness on the Edge of Town is not accurate. This is a trove, a vast clearinghouse from a fertile period, the product of which turned out to be one terrific album. And in addition to containing its share of treasure, The Promise ultimately confirms that Springsteen is a brilliant editor of his own material.
That much is clear when listening to the album itself, which is in danger of being overshadowed by everything released around it. Where the Born to Run box from 2005 looked intently at the album proper (there were few outtakes from those sessions anyway) and portrayed what resulted as a landmark, The Promise focuses on a period of time that produced one memorable album but could have produced others. Much of the material was written when Springsteen was embroiled in a lawsuit with his former manager, and a lot has been made of the impact the legal proceedings were said to have on Springsteen's muse. He made a bleak and bombed-out album, the story goes, because he was feeling lost in the world himself, fearful that he was losing control of his career. And since the lawsuit kept him out of the studio when he wanted so badly to record, he kept piling up songs while he waited for the smoke to clear.
Even more than the lawsuit, Darkness seems like Springsteen's instinctive recoil from the Born to Run hype. That's partly why he burned to cut a nother record-- to "find out what he's got," to quote a line from "Badlands" that particularly appealed to him. The Promise documentary included with the box, which combines black-and-white video footage taken in the studio while the album was recorded with recent interviews, makes clear that he wanted to make an "honest" record that people would take seriously. He was embarrassed by the hype that had put him on the cover of Time and Newsweek simultaneously in 1975, and he didn't want to be the "next big thing."...full text
MusicradarThe Promise, an album of previously unreleased Bruce Springsteen recordings, will be released along with an expanded deluxe reissue of The Boss's seminal Darkness On The Edge Of Town on 16 November.
The Promise itself is a two-disc album of tracks which were recorded as part of the Darkness On The Edge Of Town Sessions, yet have remained unreleased until now. As well as being available as a stand-alone release, The Promise will be available as part of a six-disc reissue box set entitled The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story.
The six-disc version also includes a remastered edition of the original album, along with three DVDs containing a making-of documentary and live footage. The package also comes with essays, unseen photography and various scribblings detailing the making of the album....full text
BlogcriticsBruce Springsteen has redefined the re-issue with the November 16 release of his masterwork Darkness On The Edge Of Town.
I know what you're thinking, and you're wrong. Yes, I've been given to hyperbole where Springsteen is concerned in the past. I've even been accused of being overly critical where Springsteen is concerned but this set, as announced today, is perhaps the best-constructed monstrosity of a re-issue I've ever encountered.
Darkness has been remastered and will be released as a 3-CD/3-DVD set as well as a 3-CD/3-Blu-ray package featuring a metric buttload of previously unreleased studio and live material. The first CD of the set is the remastered version of the album. Discs 2 and 3 will be sold separately for fans who don't want to spring for the deluxe version – although I can't imagine any Springsteen fan who won't want it all – in a package called The Promise. The 21 songs from this CD all date back to the original sessions from Darkness. These have been remixed and according to E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt some of the tracks have had a few touch-ups done to them.
"We're doing a little bit of fixes on some Darkness on the Edge of Town outtakes," he told Rolling Stone magazine. "We'll go back and he might finish a lyric on one or two, or finish a harmony on one or two, but we'll keep them intact pretty much."
Several songs on these two discs became live favorites but have never been released as studio tracks until now. Here is the tracklisting for these Darkness sessions:...full text
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN Album Reviews
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN Lyrics
Do you think money can buy happiness?