Following explosive popularity, critical acclaim and praises the world over, in 1982, Bruce Springsteen put the band on hold, stepped away from the studio, grabbed a four-track and recorded the stunningly beautiful and haunting Nebraska in his home in New Jersey. Against the direction of his label and just about everyone in his camp, Springsteen handed his manager about 15 tracks covering the American dream lost, crime, family, despair and hope. It was as simple as it was historic. It was naked yet chock full of imagery reminiscent of Faulkner and Woody Guthrie. And not just reminiscent, but right on par.

Now 26 years later, I'm not sure there's a time since this recording when this record has been more relevant. "Well they closed down the auto plant in Mahwah late last month. Ralph went out looking for a job, but he couldn't find none. He came home too drunk from mixing Tanqueray and wine. He got a gun, shot a night clerk, now they call him Johnny 99" opens the Badlands-esque "Johnny 99". We then hear about "Used Cars", that "Highway Patrolman", "Atlantic City" and that "State Trooper". But in typical Springsteen fashion, and in the will that's in all of us, the record closes with "Reason To Believe", the one track that looks beyond the ills and sees the possibility.

Still at the end of every hard day, people find some reason to believe