Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band just completed their yearlong world tour last month. But fans need not wait for the next rumored Springsteen album (which will almost certainly involve the E Street Band) for their fix. Billboard.com reports that Sub Pop Records will release Badlands: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska on November 7. It's the fourth Springsteen tribute album to be widely released since 1984.
Surprisingly, no alternative acts will appear on the compilation from the influential neo-punk/grunge Seattle label, which will donate a portion of the proceeds to Doctors Without Borders. Badlands reprises each song from Springsteen's 1982 Nebraska album. The record began life as stark acoustic demos recorded on a home 4-track recorder to be fleshed out by full band arrangements, but Springsteen insisted on releasing the songs, about as bleak and unsparing a bunch as he's ever written, as is.
Following that frame of mind, each track on Badlands will be recorded in the same unadorned manner. Additionally, Mavericks front man Raul Malo will contribute a rendition of "Down Bound Train," a song from 1984's Born in the U.S.A. that is so hopeless that it seems more of a piece with Nebraska.
Here's the tribute's track listing:
Chrissie Hynde - "Nebraska"
Hank Williams III - "Atlantic City"
Billy Bragg - "Mansion on the Hill"
Los Lobos - "Johnny 99"
TBA - "Highway Patrolman"
Deana Carter - "State Trooper"
Ani DiFranco - "Used Cars"
Patti Smith - "Open All Night"
Ben Harper - "My Father's House"
Aimee Mann & Michael Penn - "Reason to Believe"
Raul Malo of the Mavericks - "Down Bound Train"
WallofSound.com also reports that Springsteen manager Jon Landau has revealed on the Luckytown Digest email list that he had been noting their comments and criticism for years, and that that feedback had affected many aspects of Springsteen's concerts.
"I've been reading you for years and have always been impressed with the incredible high quality of discussion that takes place on this site," wrote Landau in a gushing email to the readers of Luckytown Digest. "The thoughtfulness, sensitivity, intelligence, and commitment that animated almost every letter was extraordinary.
"The specific comments about set lists, drop lines, concert reviews, lighting, sound, ticket sales, and MIB [or "Men in Black," a group of Springsteen roadies who, at every show, secretly and randomly pick fans in the nosebleed seats to be upgraded to the front row] were all of immense help to me in doing my job better, and I thank you for all the ideas and reviews, favorable and critical."
For example, complaints about sound at 1999 shows resulting in improvement in 2000, and some songs were added to the set list after fans suggested them.
"I just want you all to know that I believe Bruce is truly fortunate to have so many fans who are truly interested in pursuing his work at the deepest possible level and who are willing to support his artistic development wherever it takes him on his creative journey," Landau wrote.
"I know we'll see you sometime soon in 'the land of hope and dreams,'" he concluded, referring to the as-yet-unrecorded song Springsteen and the E Street Band played at every show on the tour.