The guitar riff (heck the guitar itself), the tight 4 minute frame, the perfect lost innocence lyrics, the midbridge countoff, the insistent desperation in that gravel-perfect voice. There really is no place left to hide, and we feel it.
A distant second would have to be Stones "Tumblin' Dice", but its in a different game.
Most beautiful song ever?: Jungleland
What do you do with Jungleland? Too long for radio, too beautiful for rock, too powerful for opera, too poetic for power pop, too visual for words, too perfectly phrased for video., its too . . . perfect.
The only songs I can think to put on the same page, and this will strike most people as odd, are Dylan's "Cross the Green Mountain" from the Gods and Generals soundtrack. Dylan's "Every Grain of Sand" But their beauty is too historical, not here and now. Jungleland is right here right now, neath that giant Exxon sign that brings this fair city light.
Greatest Album ever: Born to Run
This is a landslide. Born to Run and Jungleland are just headliners for a disk full of talent at full volume. Oh yeah, Thunderroad, She's the One, Backstreets, Tenth Avenue Freezeout!
Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" is a great 2nd choice, but its on a parallel track going a different place.
Underrated Springsteen gem: Mary's Place
Let it rain let it rain let it rain. How do you life brokenhearted? See--Born to Run.