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Springsteen's Devils and Dust -- DVD Content

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#1 of 35 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted April 27 2005 - 07:16 AM

Columbia's new CD release of Bruce Springsteen's Devils and Dust is a flipper disc -- the full album is on one side and is playable as a CD, while on the other side you'll find the full album again, except this time recorded in the DVD format and re-mixed in 5.1 with on-screen lyrics that play along with the music. No special equipment is needed, just your DVD player and a 5.1 receiver. Additionally on the DVD side, there is an extended video section with footage of Springsteen performing five of the album's songs in their entirety and talking about the inspirations for the album. Just a few quick words about the DVD content: * The 5.1 mix for the music tracks is breathtaking. Sharp, highly-detailed, well-supported by the rears without being showy. I wasn't expecting the lyrics to play on-screen along with the songs. A nice touch. * Surprisingly, the "live performance" video section of the disc is not in 5.1, and the audio is thin and limited. Lots of room tone with little presence or low-end. * The video footage during the "live performance" section is typical music-video fodder -- high-contrast, digitally-graded, edit-happy nonsense. One gets the sense that Springsteen showed up at an old house, played his five songs in a 2nd-floor bedroom, chatted a bit, and went home, leaving the director and crew to run around the house to try and find some cut-away footage...footage of walls, stairs, mirrors, rugs, the back yard, etc. The final result is stylish, but it seems to have little tangible connection with Springsteen's songs. * As for the music itself, I'm not a music critic. This is the third "acoustic" album by the Boss, after the award-winning Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad albums. Devils and Dust is not as grim as Tom Joad, nor is it as sparse, with several songs featuring full support (even string accompaniment). The standouts (for me) are "Reno", a sexually-explicit song about a man's encounter with a prostitute while longing for his wife, and "Matamoros Banks", a tale told by a corpse who has drowned in a river and (once again) longs to be with his loved one. The least effective song is the title-track, which is too derivative of Sprinsgteen's own "Blood Brothers" and strangely shallow given the subject matter (a soldier in Iraq doubting his cause). "Devils and Dust" is the only newly-written song on the new album, almost all the others were written while Springsteen was on tour for The Ghost of Tom Joad back in the mid-90's, while "All the Way Home" was written in 1991 during Springsteen's Lucky Town/Human Touch projects. During "All the Way Home", astute Springsteen fans will pick up on a few recycled lyrics from Lucky Town's "My Beautiful Reward".

#2 of 35 OFFLINE   Christopher_S


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Posted April 27 2005 - 11:23 AM

Thanks Ernest, I purchased the disc and have been too lazy to even look at the DVD content. Hearing your recommendation of the 5.1 mix gives me a bit more motivation to check it out. The album itself is not at all what I was expecting: After hearing the title track, I thought this was going to be Tom Joad Vol. 2. It ain't.
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#3 of 35 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted April 27 2005 - 02:28 PM

I haven't yet formed an opinion of the album as a whole. Nebraska and Tom Joad had a unifying sound to them, track-to-track. Devils and Dust has a unifying *theme* -- longing for a loved one separated by time or distance or mortality.

#4 of 35 OFFLINE   Dan Keefe

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Posted April 27 2005 - 09:16 PM

I can't stand Reno...Bruce if you are going through a midlife crisis...I don't wanna hear about it...Seriuosly, I cannot believe he claims this is a love song... The rest of the album is up and down for me. I love Jesus was an only Son, Black Cowboys, Devils and Dust...TYhe rest is just OK...I would rather just see him keep making music with the E street band at this juncture in his career...But hey, he has earned the right to do whatever he wants...

#5 of 35 OFFLINE   mylan



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Posted April 27 2005 - 09:26 PM

Isn't this a so called dual disc? I have heard that some manufacturers have issued a warning to not play them in their equipment or risk damage to the player and voiding the warranty. I believe Denon and Marantz are among those. I own a Denon 2910 and have not read the manual but I do remember reading about this in a H.T. Magazine.
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#6 of 35 OFFLINE   Richard Hardbattle

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Posted April 27 2005 - 09:36 PM

So is the 5.1 side hi-res like a DVD-Audio? Do you play it in Dolby Digital or 5.1 inputs like a DVD-A or SACD?

#7 of 35 OFFLINE   dpippel


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Posted April 27 2005 - 11:49 PM

Yes, it's a DualDisc.

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#8 of 35 OFFLINE   Richard Hardbattle

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Posted April 28 2005 - 12:00 AM

I hoped it would be, but there is no mention on the disc, menu or packaging that it's a hi-res recording. My player shows it as Dolby Digital and not DVD-A....

#9 of 35 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted April 28 2005 - 12:08 AM

Coupla things: I like the album a lot. It seems more personal than Tom Joad and more musical as well. Nebraska was perhaps Bruce's most personal record and this one is a lot like it. Reno may be controversial, but I like it. Its a really sad song, one of the saddest in his catalog. Highlights for me include Long Time Coming, Black Cowboys, Maria's Bed, Leah, and All I'm Thinkin' About. I like the title track too. Had the chance to see Bruce's first rehearsal show a week ago in Asbury Park - he's crafted a great set and delivers a powerful solo performance. VH1's Storytellers, as good as it was, didn't do the show justice. As for the DVD, while it is cool to have these video performances, the DualDisc just seems like a record company gimmick. I'm am not a fan of double-sided discs of any kind, and this is no exception. The 5.1 sound for the album is welcome, but the DVD just seems superfluous. As for the CD audio side, there is a warning on the back that the CD side is not manufactured to standards and will not play in some CD players. On my copy, the CD side won't play in the computer, but will play in the CD player in the stereo and my handheld CD player. Still, I recommend the album and would also recommend the show if you can get tickets.

#10 of 35 OFFLINE   dpippel


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Posted April 28 2005 - 12:24 AM

Just because it's a DualDisc doesn't guarantee that it will include high-res DVD-A content. It's merely a delivery vehicle - Redbook CD content on one side and DVD Video/Audio, whatever that may be, on the other.

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#11 of 35 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted April 28 2005 - 12:32 AM

Just echoing a couple of the comments here.

This is a DualDisc with an "audio side" and a "DVD side". They can't say "CD" anymore because they are not to spec, so Philips would not let them.

Here are some links to information on players with playback issues:


This is not "DVD-Audio," thus it will play 5.1 on all those players not affected with problems. It's got a 48Khz linear PCM stereo track. Neither of these equate to "high rez" by previous definitions. It's got an audio track on the other side that has played without issue on my computer and a friend's, and mostly without issue on my desktop Sony boombox.

I've been listening to the album since Tuesday, but today I need to immerse myself in Nebraska and Joad as well... as preparation for a concert tonight by the Boss himself! Solo acoustic... should be a blast.

- Steve

#12 of 35 OFFLINE   Matt Butler

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Posted April 28 2005 - 04:39 AM

Is this available as a standard Cd or even vinyl?! I think its BS if they are only issuing as a Dual Disc with as many issues as this format supposedly has.
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#13 of 35 OFFLINE   David James

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Posted April 28 2005 - 05:21 AM

I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing like most things, the hyperbole of the Internet makes the issue appear much larger than it really is.

#14 of 35 OFFLINE   Doug Schiller

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Posted April 28 2005 - 05:27 AM

Wow, I love the song. It was the the last thing I expected to hear from Bruce. Whether you don't like the subject matter, it is a love song just the same. I recommend that you stay away from Dylan's Blood on the Tracks if the subject mid life crisis bothers you. This is goes right under Tunnel of Love in my Bruce list, it is an awesome album. BTW, most people I know complained about the lack of activity in the 5.1 mix, but I loved the almost 3.1 effect of it.

#15 of 35 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted April 28 2005 - 07:30 AM

"Reno" reminds me of Lyle Lovett's work back in the early-to-mid 90's -- a sparse rhythmic line, a simple melody, and an honest narrative with a sting in its tail. Springsteen has always longed to make you walk in another man's shoes, has said that's what he thought all forms of popular art are supposed to be about, and he certainly does that with Reno. If the whole album had been that good, it would have been another masterwork like Nebraska or Tunnel of Love. Right now, I think the album is a bit disjointed, and the title track the weakest song Springsteen has written since "57 Channels".

#16 of 35 OFFLINE   RonWilson



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Posted April 28 2005 - 08:22 AM

In Canada, this has been released as a two disc set. One disc is a single sided CD the other one a single sided DVD.I picked mine up on Tuesday for 9.99 which is approx. 8 bucks US.

#17 of 35 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted May 02 2005 - 12:27 AM

Apparently, the album has been released in Europe as a two-disc affair, with one CD and one DVD.

#18 of 35 OFFLINE   Runar_R


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Posted May 02 2005 - 01:29 AM

Sam, That's correct. I don't think any Dualdiscs have even been released over here. And from what I've read on amazon, quite a few of the Dualdisc released in the US have been R1-coded. (And for the record: I love this album, but 'Reno' is not a favourite)
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#19 of 35 OFFLINE   soop.spoon


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Posted May 02 2005 - 02:07 AM

The "CD" side doesn't spin in any of my 3 computer drives. Thus... it goes back to the store for a refund.

#20 of 35 OFFLINE   Terry H

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Posted May 02 2005 - 02:18 AM

There appears to be absolutely no standard at all for content on the dvd side. Content is whatever the manufacturer chooses to provide. It might be the full album in DVD-A, Dolby surround or just a few music vids with poor audio. The uncertainty doesn't appeal to me. Then there is the "music" side that cannot be called CD because it does not conform to redbook standards and may or may not play in your equipment. Posted Image I'll pass.

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