The Boss’ newest release, Chapter and Verse, an interesting compilation album that spans his ENTIRE career (from The Castiles to Steel Mill to Bruce Springsteen) is just that: interesting. It’s not really that good. It does not hang together that well, those tinny recordings of the highly derivative (I just used that phrase to sound like I know what I’m talking about) Castiles songs might be better off forgotten by everyone but scholars, and other than the few timeless hits there was only one really pleasant discovery, “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” (I figure I’ve indirectly committed sacrilege here by confessing I had never heard that song before.) For me, I’m still happy to put my money on Born in the U.S.A. as the “To-Listen” Boss album. Not that I’m trying to tell you what to do. That’s his job.
Suggested Use: This album has just got to be your next family get-together soundtrack, at least out in the attached garage where the kids are being noisy and the tables have yet to be sullied with the upcoming feast. Little brings people together like the Boss (witness the power of “Pink Cadillac”, not on this album alas!) and that’s just what you need at your chaotic celebration, an album so scattershot in its composition (like many families I know) it sounds like one glorious mixtape.