Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides, this original pressing has the right sound for Darkness... and a healthy dose of analog magic in its grooves - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- Forget whatever dead-as-a-doornail Heavy Vinyl record they're making these days - if you want to hear the size and energy of this classic from 1978, this is the only way to go
- The piano is solid and weighty, and there's a fair amount of Tubey Magic considering the troubled history of the project
- 4 1/2 stars: "Springsteen presented these hard truths in hard rock settings, the tracks paced by powerful drumming and searing guitar solos."
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It's not easy to find good sound on this record -- or any Springsteen album, for that matter -- but copies like this prove that this is a MUCH better recording than we ever gave it credit for. It's a rare pressing that can bring this passionate, emotionally charged music to life, but the open, spacious soundstage and full-bodied tonality here are up to the challenge.
What outstanding sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1978
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
What We're Listening For on Darkness On The Edge Of Town
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic that is a key part of the appeal of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
Adam Raised a Cain
Something in the Night
Racing in the Streets
The Promised Land
Streets of Fire
Prove It All Night
Darkness on the Edge of Town
In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, Dave Marsh viewed Darkness on the Edge of Town as a landmark record in rock and roll because of the clarity of its production, Springsteen's unique guitar playing, and the programming, which he said connected the characters and themes in a subtle yet cohesive manner. Marsh remarked that the subject matter of the songs fulfilled the hype that previously surrounded Springsteen: "What they've always said was that someday Bruce Springsteen would make rock & roll that would shake men's souls and make them question the direction of their lives. That would do, in short, all the marvelous things rock had always promised to do."
In a retrospective review for AllMusic, William Ruhlmann said that Springsteen began to fully realize his characters as working class on Darkness on the Edge of Town, whose "hard truths in hard rock settings" made for a less accessible work than Born to Run.
Rolling Stone later wrote that the album was the E Street Band's best performance, "colored by the raw sound happening at the time".
In 2003, it was ranked at number 151 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
According to Acclaimed Music, Darkness on the Edge of Town is the 103rd most frequently ranked record on critics' all-time lists.
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