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Shrewsbury, Massachusetts-Record Store Day is a staple in my circle of acquaintances. A chance for vinyl-lovers like myself to get their hands on some exclusive releases from some of the world’s top music acts in a celebration of music and the “ancient” forms they came in. One of the day’s biggest releases this year comes from Bruce Springsteen. The Boss himself has compiled some previously unreleased tracks from his last set of albums and graciously released it in several forms including a nice 12” vinyl to place beside my old copies of Born to Run and Born in the U.S.A.
The EP contains material that Springsteen had left out of his latest album, High Hopes. Two of the four tracks were recorded as demos that just didn’t make the final cut. When Springsteen was asked why he wanted to release them now, he responded, “They’re just good music that didn’t get onto this record and was sitting there. I thought it’s a nice time to support record stores, which are dwindling and get some new music out at the same time. “
God bless the Boss because American Beauty is a lovely collection of songs. The opening (and titular) track “American Beauty” kicks things off with the trademark energy that makes Springsteen so much fun to listen to after all these years. The third track “Hurry Up Sundown,” also captures some of this magic as well. The second and final tracks, “Mary Mary,” and “Hey Blue Eyes,” take the energy down a notch in favor of some slower ballads.
Tracks one and three are fun songs, but because they are demos, there isn’t quite the polish that tracks two and four have. That being said, for a demo, both tracks are still infectious. It’s great to see that Springsteen keeps churning out pretty good music for so long. Magic and Working on a Dream really bumped his popularity among younger audiences (myself included) and he keeps hammering out consistent work.
American Beauty will hit MP3 hubs on Tuesday, but having it on vinyl is a real treat. The EP is short, but sweet and leaves you wanting more. It leaves you feeling like you want to hop into an old Camino and cruise down a highway into the unknown. That is the beauty of Springsteen’s music and that’s what makes it so lasting. After listening to American Beauty, you wonder why these songs didn’t make the cut, but you thank goodness (and the Boss) that you finally have the chance to listen to them.
American Beauty is available in record stores everywhere and available for download on iTunes, Amazon and wherever else music is sold tomorrow, Tuesday April 22nd.