Ten great Bruce Springsteen songs that came out after 2002
After a musical act reaches a certain point of fame, stardom, and praise, their career arc starts to trend downward whether you, the fan, like it or not. Many classic rock fans would argue that Bruce Springsteen's career reached it's climax after the release of 1984's Born in the USA and the year and a half stadium world tour that followed. Everything The Boss and the E Street Band had done before that point led them to the level of stardom they commanded. Anything Springsteen would put out after Born In The USA simply could not live up to that level. If Born To Run was a generational talent revealing itself to the masses for the first time, Born in the USA was that generational talent accepting his place at the top of the entertainment world.
Every Bruce Springsteen album that came out after Born in the USA, while all stylistically different from one another, largely got looked at as afterthoughts. As the work of a man well past his prime. For many people and even for many classic rock radio stations, Bruce Springsteen stopped putting out relevant music after 1984. But the fact of the matter is Bruce has put out an impressive amount of quality music since then. In retrospect, it's easy to see now that the success of Born in the USA allowed Springsteen to move into the phase of his career where he could make the kind of music he wanted, not necessarily what his record label wanted. He didn't reach the amount of critical praise again until releasing The Rising in 2002. The Rising was Springsteen's first album with the E Street Band since 1987's Tunnel of Love and it struck quite a nerve because of the parallels the album had to the attacks on September 11, 2001. That is why this list begins after 2002. Okay, other than wanting to make this list more of a challenge for myself by cutting out by far his most popular album of the millennium.
Below is a list of what I believe to be the ten best songs Bruce Springsteen has put out after 2002. Some work as simple pop songs. Others register as some of his best lyrical feats in his entire career. See if your list falls in line with mine.
10. "Hurry Up Sundown" (2014) - EP: American Beauty
9. "Radio Nowhere" (2007) - Album: Magic
8. "Western Stars" (2019) - Album: Western Stars
7. "Death to My Hometown" (2012) - Album: Wrecking Ball
6. "Frankie Fell In Love" (2014) - Album: High Hopes
5. "My Lucky Day" (2009) - Album: Working on a Dream
4. "Hello Sunshine" (2019) - Album: Western Stars
3. "Devils & Dust" (2005) - Album: Devils & Dust
2. "Shackled & Drawn" (2012) - Album: Wrecking Ball
1. "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" (2007) - Album: Magic
Honorable mentions (one from each full-length album):
"All I'm Thinkin' About" (2005) - Album: Devil's & Dust
"American Land" (2006) - Album: We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
"Long Walk Home" (2007) - Album: Magic
"The Wrestler" (2009) - Album: Working on a Dream
"Wrecking Ball" (2012) - Album: Wrecking Ball
"The Wall" (2014) - Album: High Hopes
"Sleepy Joe's Cafe" (2019) - Album: Western Stars