Devils & Dust
While the title track about a soldier at war synched with the then-current issue of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, many of the songs on Devils & Dust, Bruce Springsteen’s third album of near-acoustic ruminations (in the tradition of Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad), were ones that Springsteen had kicked around for more than a decade. “Long Time Comin’” and “The Hitter” made appearances in his live set for the Joad tour. “Reno” is a graphic and affecting song about a man trying to lose his sorrow in the arms of a prostitute, to no avail. “Jesus Was an Only Son” has a spiritual grace, enhanced by piano and strings. “Maria’s Bed” aches with some of Springsteen’s most clenched vocals and a rhythm section redolent of early Rod Stewart. “All I’m Thinkin’ About” shuffles with the feel of an old blues. “All the Way Home” is a full-band blowout, with a dark snarl in the guitars that’s pure catharsis. Often overlooked, Devils & Dust is one of Bruce’s finest albums.