Sunday, October 07, 2012

Tunnel of Love at 25

If you look through the set lists of the current Bruce Springsteen tour, or any of the recent tours, you're not likely to find many - if any - songs from "Tunnel of Love."

It would be a mistake to interpret this obvious, and likely mindful, oversight as an indication that the album is lacking in merit.  I wouldn't go so far as to say that "Tunnel of Love" is Springsteen's best album, or an album that I'd take to a desert island before "Born to Run," "Darkness on the Edge of Town," or "Born in the U.S.A." - but I would say that it is a genuinely great album, and one that can withstand a song-by-song comparison with anything Bruce has done in his career, while standing its own.

"Tunnel of Love" is and album that people might think more suited to Jackson Browne - one that examines relationships between men and women; one that delves into matters of the heart.  At the time the album was released, Bruce was still in his first marriage - and it's pretty clear from the tone of several of the album's songs how it was going.  Given that, it's probably not surprising that the songs from "Tunnel of Love" have never quite fit into the story that Bruce has wanted to tell in the years since its release.

But make no bones about it - there are plenty of great songs on "Tunnel of Love," from the title track to "Spare Parts," "Brilliant Disguise," "One Step Up," and "Valentine's Day."  Bruce knew exactly what he was aiming for with "Tunnel of Love," and he achieved it - which is something you can't say about even some of his best records.

So here's a salute to a great one, on the occasion of its 25th birthday.


Mon-sewer Paul Regret said...

Since I saw Bruce on the Tunnel of Love tour, I've seen him 20 more times. In those 20 shows, I've seen him play ToL songs 8 times: 3 Brilliant Disguises, 2 Tunnel of Loves and Spare Parts, and one Two Faces. There are four tracks from the album I have never heard him play live, including "Valentine's Day", which is one of the two songs on my "please play this before one of us dies" list. I long ago gave up hope of ever hearing any of those songs again.

Having said that, the ToL show in 1988 was one of the handful of best-Bruce concerts I've attended.

Jeff Vaca said...

I've only seen six since then, and have only heard Brilliant Disguise.

I'm pretty sure we were at the same show in '88 and it was indeed awesome.