10. "Brilliant Disguise": 1987's Tunnel Of Love found Springsteen addressing the twin challenges of mega-stardom (1984's Born In The U.S.A. was massively successful) and personal turmoil (his marriage was faltering). "Disguise's" subdued and questioning tone showed, brilliantly, a pop star standing at the crossroads, unsure of where to go.
9. "The River": The mournful folk-rock title track from Springsteen's 1981 double-album shows Springsteen's gift for both novelistic lyrical detail and a killer harmonica hook.
8. "I'm On Fire": A spooky, minimal track from Born In The U.S.A. that simmers with unfulfilled desire. Best listened to on long walks at night, alone.
7. "Atlantic City": Song-noir from 1982's stripped-down Nebraska. Not everything on the boardwalk was carnivals and candy apples.
6. "Backstreets": Rock'n'roll has no better song about platonic male friendship. And the build on this one, which culminates in a guitar solo quivering with passion, is incredible.
5. "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City": Springsteen's earliest albums were the funny and exuberant outbursts of a young man who'd discovered he had something to say and a gift for saying it. This tumbling rocker from his 1973 debut, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., is a ragged masterpiece of urban jive talk.
4. "4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)": He's Jersey to the bone, and this gorgeously lilting boardwalk reverie from Springsteen's sophomore effort, 1973's The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle, captures the dilapidated magic of his home state's slowly decaying seaside towns.
3. "Thunder Road": The second best-known song on 1975's breakthrough album Born to Run features a marvelously poetic opening verse and is, in a more ruminative way, as epically widescreen as that album's first best-known song.
2. "Badlands": Springsteen's most defiant and rousing song, and a great example of the crackling lead guitar sound he used on 1978's Darkness On The Edge of Town-perhaps his most underrated effort.
1. "Born To Run": What else?
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