Released in 1987 "Tunnel of Love" was Bruce Springsteen's second solo album (though various members of the E-Street band did play on some of the tracks) and is, in my opinion, the second best album he ever made (the best being 1973's "The Wild, The Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle"). It's also a problematic record for me to listen to because as good as the B-side is the A-side of Tunnel of Love seems strangely unfinished. For this reason it didn't make my list of "10 best albums of the 80's".

Still, if you didn't give up on the record halfway through the A-side the wonders of the B-side were there to be discovered. From the first track to the last it's one of the great 24 minute listening experiences available in popular music. Springsteen's music has always tended to waiver between the poles of over-the-top production on the one hand and bare bones, dust dry minimalism on the other but with the B-side of Tunnel of Love he finally found that sweet equatorial zone in between.

My favorite song from the album is the one featured here and it's a perfect example of this stripped down but not naked approach. The lyrics are spare yet eloquent and to the point ("I met a girl and we ran away, I swore I'd make her happy every day. But how I made her cry. Two faces have I."). The instrumentation starts off with a solo acoustic guitar finding its way and then, with the advent of the second verse, bass and drums are added in the background. Springsteen's vocals are way up front in the mix, his voice clear, his phrasing revealing his decidedly mixed feelings about the dissolution of his relationship: he's accepted it, but he's not at all happy about it. After the third verse there's a short, scratchy guitar solo and the final verse contains one of rocks great unheralded threats, tacked on in what almost seems like an afterthought: referring to the unnamed third party's intention to "take your love away from me" the singer, in a subdued but determined voice states flatly "Well go ahead and let him try".

What follows that menacing line is maybe the most soaring, beautiful Hammond organ solo ever recorded. It's a breathtaking tribute to the facility of the late Danny Federici and all he brought to the table in the service of Springsteen's songs over all the many years.

No video was ever recorded for "Two Faces" and to me the live versions simply don't measure up. So here's the original album version of the song, music only. Enjoy.