Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Bruce Springsteen: Greetings from Asbury Park NJ [Columbia, 1973]
"The Angel" and "Mary Queen of Arkansas" are turgid unaccompanied-acoustic horrors that could scare anybody off this particular Dylan hype. But the jokey lingo and absurdist energy of everything else are exactly the excesses that made Dylan a genius instead of a talent--it takes real conviction to save "But did not heed my urgency" with "Your life was one long emergency." Even urban-mythos rambles like "Lost in the Flood" are not without charm. And in songs like "Growin' Up" and "Blinded by the Light" there's an unguarded teen-underclass poetry that has Springsteen's name on it. B+