Bruce Springsteen's greatest record is also his most understated
Last year, the American music critic Steven Hyden suggested it was strange to think that "an artist's least characteristic work should somehow be considered superior to his most characteristic." Hyden was writing about Nebraska, the stark acoustic album Bruce Springsteen recorded in his bedroom in 1982. Setting aside the problem of defining greatness in terms of quantity rather than quality, Hyden's position makes sense: Nebraska is unique among Springsteen records, and therefore "the go-to record for people who don't like Springsteen because it's not like Springsteen's other albums." But an artist's best work should be considered superior to his other, lesser works — and Nebraska, characteristic or not, is Springsteen's best album.