Bruce Springsteen already was a superstar when he released Nebraska 30 years ago today. Three decades later, that sparse acoustic album helps to explain not only why Springsteen remains a superstar today, but also why he is more popular and influential than ever.
When Springsteen wrote and recorded the 10 tracks on Nebraska in 1982, he was riding high with the success of his first five studio albums and easily could have carried in the vein of the popular sounds from those records. Instead, he chose to do a barebones album of bleak songs about killers, death and economic despair. Not exactly the Bruce Springsteen people knew from upbeat tunes such as “Rosalita,” “Prove It All Night,” and Hungry Heart.”