Your Dad’s Top 10 Albums
Whose dad isn’t a self-proclaimed music critic? If he’s not insulting the modern tracks you’re dishing out, then it may be time for a paternity test. But why is the hate only one-sided? Why can’t you send the heat right back into his kitchen? Well, here’s your chance. I compiled a list of your dad’s top ten albums and I want you to ridicule, belittle, and dehumanize your father for his bad taste over Thanksgiving dinner.
10. The Ghost of Tom Joad - Bruce Springsteen
You may be saying, “What the hell? How did you know my dad’s tenth favorite album?” All I’m saying is that I’ve seen your dad sitting on the back porch, Coors Light in hand, staring out into the night while softly listening to the poetry that is Bruce Springsteen. Lines like “I got a one way ticket to the promised land,” remind your dad his whole life has been leading up to this moment — and he’s been riding that one way ticket all the way here.
9. The Rising - Bruce Springsteen
You can still remember your dad crying with his head in his hands. How could we let this happen? Who could do this to us? The attacks of September 11th hit our country hard. We didn’t know where to go or who to turn to. Thankfully, someone was looking out for us all along, and that someone was Bruce Springsteen. His 2002 album, The Rising, brought our country together as one in the face of adversity. Its themes of social uplift helped our country heal. The Rising was nominated for two Grammy Awards winning Best Rock Album in 2003.
8. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
A bit of a surprise here, but rumor has it your dad has never actually listened to the full album. He understands the unwavering desire to get away from one’s life in “Born to Run,” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” always has his head bopping. So then why is The Boss’s breakthrough album merely eighth? Maybe he’s just jealous that “Jungleland” can last longer than he can.
7. The River - Bruce Springsteen
The River creates a river of emotions flowing out of your dad. He can’t help it. “Hungry Heart” is just too damn relatable of a song. How can a middle-aged, blue collar American not be brought to tears with verses like “Everybody needs a place to rest / Everybody wants to have a home / Don't make no difference what nobody says / Ain't nobody like to be alone.” Your dad emptied his savings account to grab tickets for Springsteen’s 2016 tour celebrating the 35th anniversary of your old man’s seventh favorite album.
6. Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. - Bruce Springsteen
The day your dad brought home a first pressing of Asbury Park is still the greatest day of his life. He immediately placed it upon the family room mantle, moving your fifth grade class photo out of the way. This 37 minute auditory adventure features classics like “Blinded by the Light” (later covered by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band) and “Spirit in the Night.” More recently it’s been named by Rolling Stone as both the 379th greatest album of all time and the 37th greatest debut album of all time.
5. Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen
Remember the year your dad got dark and moody? He spent hours at that diner downtown drinking coffee. The waitress didn’t care for him but your dad was doing God’s work. He was trying to write his own emotional sequel to Nebraska. This raw, dark album set the tone for your dad’s midlife crisis. He found its tales of blue collar characters facing misfortune and misery particularly moving. Your dad was never quite able to create the masterpiece he desired which leads us to number four.
4. Disintegration - The Cure
The divorce really hit your dad hard. Your mom left him after he became hell-bent on writing his Nebraska sequel. He couldn’t listen to Springsteen for a little while as the wound healed. Instead, he turned to one of the darkest bands of the ‘80s, The Cure. Robert Smith went back to his gothic roots after playing around with some lighter tunes and your dad couldn’t get enough. He played “Pictures of You” on repeat for days softly weeping to its lyrics, “And we kissed as the sky fell in / Holding you close / How I always held close in your fear.” Fortunately, this was just a phase for your dad and he was soon back to his old self.
3. Born in the U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen
Another surprise here. Your dad loved to reflect upon the poppier sound of this album as he was recovering from the divorce. Its lyrical contents didn’t feel quite as serious as many of Springsteen’s earlier works but that’s not what matters. What matters is that this album is a banger all the way through. From the dramatic opening of the title track all the way through “My Hometown” Born in the U.S.A. never lets up. The top-selling album of 1985 produced seven top-ten hits. It’s truly an unforgettable (and American) album.
2. Darkness on the Edge of Town - Bruce Springsteen
Man, oh man, what an album. Your dad loves the maturity Springsteen displays in his follow-up to Born to Run. Both critics and your dad alike were worried whether Springsteen would be able to live up to the hype. While Darkness on the Edge of Town isn’t a top seller compared to other entries in the Springsteen discography, it’s constantly considered one of his best works. “Racing in the Street” brings your dad back to his younger days when life wasn’t quite as complicated. The song opens with a beautiful piano accompanying a haunting vocal performance by Springsteen. Every time this track comes on you can see your old man slowly become lost in the music.
1. The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle - Bruce Springsteen
What the hell is wrong with your dad? Bruce Springsteen has a vast discography full of folk hits, pop hits, and rock hits. So why in the world is his favorite album the only one without any hits on it? Because your dad is a goddamn genius. The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle is a beautiful album full of vibrant characters. Each song tells its own story and gives meaning to the otherwise mundane parts of life. “Incident on 57th Street” is a modern Romeo and Juliet while “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” describes the dark side of New Jersey romance.
Your dad really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to music. I feel like I really got to know your dad after listening through his top ten albums. But next time he starts insulting you for your Nickelback tattoo, remind him that he went as Bruce Springsteen for Halloween twelve years straight.