100 Best Albums of the Nineties

54

Bruce Springsteen, 'The Ghost of Tom Joad'

The grim ballads Bruce Springsteen purveys on The Ghost of Tom Joad make Nebraska seem like "Rosalita" — they veer perilously close to desperation. The title track is a prayer for revived idealism, and the album closes with "My Best Was Never Good Enough," a contemptuous dismissal of the Gump-style clichés people lean on, however irrationally, to get by. Surveying an American landscape littered with crushed hopes, Springsteen stares down the darkness but fights it only to a draw. That a rocker of this magnitude would make a folk album this forlorn spits in the eye of the rising Dow.

Photos: Bruce Springsteen Artifacts From His Four-Decade Career

Photos: The Darkness Sessions, Photographs of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band from 1978

Rolling Stone's 2002 Review

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