Last week the Celebration Rock podcast launched “20th Century Boss,” an eight-part series on the first three decades of Bruce Springsteen’s career. Over the course of these episodes, I will be talking with singer-songwriters influenced by Springsteen about the first 11 studio albums of his career. You can check out the first two episodes with Brian Fallon and Jeff Rosenstock here.
The series continues this week with episode three on 1978’s Darkness On The Edge of Town and episode four on 1980’s The River. For Darkness, my guest is Julien Baker, a wonderful artist whose 2017 album Turn Out The Lights was one of my favorite albums of that year. Even though she was born almost 20 years after it was released, Baker is a huge fan of the angry, musically ferocious Darkness, which spawned Springsteen classics like “Badlands,” “Racing In The Streets,” and “Prove It All Night.”
For The River, I spoke with Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus, whose latest album, A Productive Cough, comes out March 2. I met up with Stickles at his apartment in Brooklyn right after my plane landed, and there’s a definite late-night vibe to this episode that suits the album. The River is a fulcrum in Springsteen’s career, summing up what he had done on his other albums up to that point, and also providing some clues as to where he was headed.