• Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Nov 11, 2022

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
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  1. Dec 8, 2022
    Ultimately, Springsteen’s new soul covers album goes at least a little way toward being a handsome declaration of a life’s inspiration and intention. But it should have been so much more than merely “covering” — and beyond mere survival.
  2. Mojo
    Nov 15, 2022
    Springsteen's choice of songs, especially in the deep tracks and left turns, also i=underscores a deeper retrospect and aspiration. [Jan 2023, p.82]
  3. Nov 15, 2022
    There are times when, while applauding Springsteen's attempts to stay faithful to the originals, you wish he'd taken more chance. ... But that was not his intention, and it becomes hard to carp when he brings off something as triumphantly as his note-perfect version of Frank Wilson's "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)". [Jan 2023, p.10]
  4. 60
    There are many less rewarding experiences than hearing Springsteen thirstily sing his favourite songs, but there’s a sense here that all concerned hope it would catch fire and amount to something more. [Dec 2022, p.76]
  5. Nov 14, 2022
    He comes at these songs with an easy familiarity that tells you he didn’t need to spend a lot of time learning them, because he had long since absorbed them into his very bones. Also, the guy can flat-out sing, which is something he doesn’t get enough credit for. ... The one real knock against anything on Only the Strong Survive is that the definitive versions of most of these songs are so solid that even he can’t find much to improve upon.
  6. 50
    It would be easier if this album were bad, which it isn’t: it’s a competent, often fairly enjoyable set of performances. But as neither good Springsteen nor good popular soul, it’s likely to fade out of most listeners’ memories long before the final track drifts off into nothingness.
  7. Nov 12, 2022
    Only the Strong Survive is an expertly crafted collection, but a rougher hewn approach, with a sound closer in style to Stax Records than Dionne Warwick and Phil Spector, would have better honored the spirit of its source material.
  8. Nov 12, 2022
    Springsteen is looking back on looking back; nostalgia, squared. If there is a criticism to be made of this big-hearted wallow, it’s not only that the mood here is galvanising, rather than anything more subtle or bruised.
  9. Nov 12, 2022
    It may be neither a classic Springsteen or soul album, and it may just be impossible to make a truly great album with such a familiar concept, but at the very least it stands as a passionate love letter to the sweet soul songs that helped shape both modern music and Springsteen himself.
  10. Nov 11, 2022
    It’s got character, and more than that, it’s got energy: Springsteen has never sounded quite so lighthearted, so unburdened, on record.
  11. Nov 10, 2022
    It's enjoyable enough that it takes a minute to realize that Springsteen and Aniello aren't exactly re-interpreting these 15 songs: they're merely playing them for a lark. That's enough for a good time but once Only the Strong Survive fades out with the last notes of "Someday We'll Be Together," there's not much that lingers behind in the memory.
  12. Not only does it shine a light on what inspires one of the greatest living American songwriters, it also works to preserve the greats of the past and ensures that the best music and stories continue to survive.
  13. Nov 8, 2022
    Without a doubt, ‘Only The Strong Survive’ exemplifies Springsteen’s unfaltering commitment to top-notch musicianship and production.
  14. Nov 8, 2022
    Admittedly, this is pretty much Bruce does karaoke, but when it’s done this well and with so much obvious love for the source material, it’s irresistible. Volume 2 can’t come quickly enough.
  15. Nov 7, 2022
    On Only the Strong Survive, Springsteen places his voice front and center, and his love for this timeless and joyous music is jubilant and infectious.
  16. Nov 4, 2022
    Even if the arrangements occasionally feel static in their mimicry, Springsteen’s voice shines and sparkles.
  17. 80
    Springsteen has charisma and conviction to match anyone who has ever picked up a microphone, allied to a dynamic grasp of exactly when to ramp up and when to hold back, and he delivers these songs like they mean the world to him. In other words, he’s got soul.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 2 out of 8
  1. Nov 16, 2022
    Springsteen is Springsteen. Anchored in his music, perhaps he should have listened to Beyoncé's 'Renaissance' to realize that his steadfastSpringsteen is Springsteen. Anchored in his music, perhaps he should have listened to Beyoncé's 'Renaissance' to realize that his steadfast country and rock spirit should probably intertwine with other sounds. That said, it is a full album, for sure fans a safe harbor, but without a storm that brings new air. Full Review »
  2. Nov 13, 2022
    superb album, as always, bruce is a true legend, i’ve love every part of it
  3. Nov 12, 2022
    This album is a success on many levels. For those who haven't been exposed to this great music it serves as a well curated introduction. ForThis album is a success on many levels. For those who haven't been exposed to this great music it serves as a well curated introduction. For fans of Springsteen or soul music it's a worthy, well produced alternate take on the songs you love. Springsteen's voice is up to the task, if occasionally not as strong as the original takes, and the arrangements often bring new life into the originals. The centerpiece is "Soul Days" a Dobie Gray cover that sets the tone "But my first love was always the songs...talking about those sweet soul days". This album is meant to be the soundtrack to those perfect sweet summer days taking "my baby for a ride." A highlight is "Don't Play That Song" a Ben E. King cover, but it's Aretha's version that rules. It captures the essence of sweet soul music. The singer has been done wrong, lied to and left alone. But rather than the vindictive bitterness in much of today's
    popular music (Taylor?) the singer's response is "I don't care if you lied. let's dance". Such is the beauty of soul music full of strength, hope and resilience epitomized in the title cut, a cover of Jerry Butler's signature track "Only the Strong Survive".
    Full Review »