For as long as I've enjoyed Bruce Springsteen's work with the E Street Band, I've been really, really late with diving that far into his essential work beyond Born to Run. My lateness will continue until Sony ponies up and remasters Nebraska, The River, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and Born in the U.S.A. I'm not hoping for a deluxe reissue like the Born to Run CD/DVD set -- I just want better-sounding discs that don't sound flat.
If you want to understand why, just pop one of the CDs into your car or iTunes and be ready to play with the volume knob. It truly sucks to hear the depth of these records be zapped and I won't stand for it. And I won't be giving in and buying the records on vinyl. If there's a sound I hate more than anything, it's the pops and crackles with vinyl records.
While I wait for that to ever come to fruition, I recently picked up Bruce's last three records with the E Street Band, The Rising, Magic, and Working On a Dream. I'm glad to know that my money was well-spent as I've enjoyed them quite a bit. I wouldn't recommend a Springsteen newcomer to these albums as starters, but I would highly recommend that a newcomer not skip over them.
Since I'm coming from a light diet of Springsteen (my collection only has Born to Run, Born in the U.S.A., Greatest Hits, Essential, and the Tracks box set), I could sure use a transfusion to get the whole picture. With Dave Marsh's Two Hearts on my to-read shelf, that might help understand a few more things.