Arts » Noise

Bruce Springsteen

Nebraska

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We drink a variety of beers, for a variety of reasons. Nothing goes better with beer (sorry, pretzels) than music, and any serious lover of suds and songs will agree there's an optimum album for every beer-drinking situation. I don't want to listen to Leonard Cohen, say, while I'm blowing off steam at Happy Hour, but you'd be surprised at how effective Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" is when hitting the beer bong.

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Sometimes beer helps you wallow. When you've lost your job, your apartment, your girl and your car (like Bill Murray at the beginning of Stripes), crack open a big can or three of Foster's and put on Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, an album that's as desolate and haunting as an empty refrigerator. But its desolation has a noble beauty, which lends your pity party a sort of dignity. While you're blubbering over getting laid off, "My Father's House" will shift your sorrow to your broken-down relationship with your dad. "Atlantic City" will provide a kinship with its determined loser, and "Johnny 99" shows you just how far a desperate man will go. The knockout punch is "Reason to Believe," which delivers a glint of hope, just as you're about to swallow a bottle of pills.

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