Everyone says the alternate version of "Racing" is better than the one on Darkness, and I agreed for a little while...but the original is just so much more emotional.
Agreed with you there. The version on The Promise is great, but the Darkness version is beyond perfect.
I go back and forth on whether I love this or The River more. Both are top 10/15 of all time for me. Every song here is great (I really don't think there's a song on the first 8 albums that I dislike) with the opener and the closer being the best songs on the record once again. The title track would be in serious contention for my favorite non-BTR Bruce track, while Badlands is just a perfect opener (and so great live). The other two four corners and Something in the Night round out the list of the best tracks on the record.
I love the feel of this album and how it's really Born to Run from the other side of things. Listening to these two records side by side is really interesting (not to mention a damn solid couple hours of music). Still no excuse for omitting The Promise, as that song could have served perfectly as a penultimate track and a lead in to the epic closer (much like Meeting functions on Born to Run), but that's a small complaint for an album so full of wonderful material. And judging by The Promise, which is mostly good, but not great, Springsteen mostly made the right decisions with what to toss and what to keep from the massive pile of songs he recorded for this record.