What both albums have is soul in spades. They got soul for days! Bruce’s titular first track, “Nebraska” is as if a grizzled country boy sliced his belly open and spilled his guts out on the table for all to see. Even an upbeat blues bar anthem like “Open All Night” has a heartbreaking edge to it. On the paranoid drone shocker “State Trooper”, Bruce’s screaming yelps of “Woooo!!” are an unsettling wake up call of raw emotional energy. The rest of the songs are a collage of desperately brilliant Americana that is more compelling with each listen.
Crazy Sexy Cool is a different kind of soul. One that makes you wanna drop your hips and pucker your lips. I love the first track, a quick spit of verse by the late Phife Dawg introducing the ladies and setting the stage for the party to come. Phife passes the mic to the ladies and they take us to their libido lagoon filled with deep circuitous roots running through dark organic wet earth giving rise to thick buttressed tree trunks.
This battle is a bit like comparing a low budget indie movie to a highly produced epic. At the Oscars last year, Moonlight won out over the highly polished La La Land. I am going to give the win to Nebraska over Crazy Sexy Cool for the same reason. Despite the deep base and glossy grooves, Nebraska is a deeper look into the human condition and just has more substance.
WINNER: Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska (1 point)
Next week’s battle – #42: The Robert Cray Band, Strong Persuader (1986) vs. PJ Harvey, Rid of Me (1993)