Perhaps I read too far into things, but this album delves into human emotions like nothing I've ever heard. The songs aren't particularly musically inspiring. In fact, they're all really depressing. But there's also a kind of desperate hope offered in Springsteen's lyrics. The songs express the most awful and amazing aspects of the human experience simultaneously.

In the title track, inspired by the 1973 film Badlands, a man tries to hold on to his humanity and his dignity, even after committing a string of atrocities. Songs like “Atlantic City” and “State Trooper” reveal people at the end of their ropes, but refusing to give up hope, however miniscule their chance of deliverance. And songs like “Highway Patrolman” and “Mansion on the Hill” portray conflicting emotions, nostalgia, and making a real choice about living.

The album's effects on me are twofold. First, it drove home the idea that I should never give up hope. These characters, although fictional, somehow seem more real than most flesh and blood people, despite being at the absolute bottom of the social order. Yet they refuse to let external circumstances destroy them. Secondly, it set something of a new goal for my creative activities. I realized that if one man can create something so absolutely haunting and beautiful on a four track tape recorder, there is no reason I can't create something just as amazing with my talents, even if they don't lie in the same area. Sometimes a person needs to find a work of art that makes clear what they've known all along, and inspire them to do what they've always wanted to do. “Nebraska” is art in every sense: musical, literary, and even aesthetic, if you have an active enough imagination. In short, it's amazing. And because of that, it's made my life immeasurably better.

Written with the help of www.50states.com:

Introducing...Tada, Nebraska
      The state of Nebraska lies directly in the heart of the United States of America. While generally streotyped as one of the most boring places on the face of the earth, Nebraska has much more to offer than meets the eye. When you think of nebraska, you think of things like: The Nebraska Cornhusker football team, corn, beef (it's what's for dinner), and rolling hills. Take a second to ponder what else this place entails. Lemme give you an idea by starting off with some facts about Nebraska.

Admission to Statehood: March 1, 1867
Area: 77358 sq.mi, 16th Land 76878 sq. mi., 15th Water 481 sq.mi., 42nd
Border States: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, and Wyoming
Economy: Agriculture: Cattle, corn, hogs, soybeans, wheat, and sorghum. Industry: Food processing, machinery, electric equipment, printing, and publishing.
Flag: A banner for the State of Nebraska shall consist of a reproduction of the great seal of the state, charged on the center in gold and silver on a field of national blue.
Flower: Goldenrod (genus: Solidago serotina)
Geographic Center: Custer, 10 miles northwest of Broken Bow
Governor: Mike Johanns (R)
Highest Point: Panorama Point; 5424 feet, 20th highest point in the USA
Largest Cities: Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue, Grand Island, Kearney, Fremont, Hastings, North Platte, Norfolk, and Columbus
Motto: Equality before the law
Nickname: Cornhusker State
Origin of state's name: Name based on an Oto Indian word that means "flat water," referring to the Platte River
Presidental Birthplace: Gerald Rudolph Ford, 1974-1977 {38th} Born: July 14, 1913, in Omaha, Nebraska
Population: 1,711,263; 38th in the USA, Dec/00
Representatives: US House: 107th Congress US Senate: 107th Congress *Nebraska is the only US state with a Unicameral legislature.
Song: Beautiful Nebraska words by: Jim Fras and Guy G. Miller music by: Jim Fras
Topography: Till plains of the central lowland in the eastern third rising to the Great Plains and hill country of the north central and northwest.

Nebraska: where the rivers and streams run, uh, um...well, at least we're not Iowa
      Now that you know a little bit more about the state of Nebraska, baybe you will give it another chance. We like football and meat! What more could ya ask for? Hey, at least we're not Iowa!

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