Bruce Springsteen - Classic or Dud ?

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Wow. I'm digging this message board "I Love Music". To think one would find a mention of Bruce McCulloch 'Shame Based Man' in a Bruce Springsteen thread, ahhh...the possibilities.

Anyways, I forgot to mention to huge (to the point of shadowing) element as to one of the why's (or why not's) of enjoy/appreciating Bruce. Which is: DRIVING. Cars and driving is such a central and/or reoccuring figure/subject in his work that...I can't believe I forgot to touch upon that (only after reading some of the others posts, darn it). But yea, I do LOVE to drive. Which also helps to explain the appeal of Springsteen (to me, at least).

*By the way, I do own that McCulloch album 'Shame Based Man' it (some really funny stuff and one of the very rare comedy albums worthy of many plays - if not it's own discussion here on "I Love Music"...anyone?). Every single one of my girlfriends (one present, others past) hated it. "And if (after torching the stolen car) you can still hear the Doors playing...then you have become...a DOORS...FAN!" I'm not a Doors fan, however.

michael g. breece, Monday, 2 July 2001 00:00 (15 years ago) Permalink

MG Breece (hey, sounds like a car): I wonder whether you agree with me that a large part of the point of the Boss is repetition - the fact that he does the same thing over and over again?

the pinefox, Monday, 2 July 2001 00:00 (15 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...
I listened to Born To Run riding the bus to work today. This is the first CD I ever purchased, back in 1985 (I'd already bought a few LPs), and I still have my original copy. Don't believe that business about CD rot -- it's doing fine.

I hadn't listened to this record in a couple of years, but god, it still sounded great. Actually, I kept getting shivers down my spine when it was playing and it had me close to tears a few times (mostly on "Thunder Road" and "Backstreets.") Listening to this today finally settled an ILM debate for me: Music can never affect me quite as much now as it did when I was a teenager. No record I've heard in the last few years, including Loveless, has had as much affect on me as Born to Run did this morning, and I know it's not just because Born to Run is such a great album. This is a record that got to me when I was young and emotionally vulnerable in a way that I'm not anymore, at the age of 32. I still feel music very deeply and appreciate and enjoy a wider range of music than ever, but music doesn’t completely overpower me the way it did when I was 15. Oh well.

Springsteen is still a big classic, by the way, despite all the incredibly corny lines on Born to Run.

Mark, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

I like how he lets the words of "Born to Run" tumble out of his mouth, like a horse taking a dump.

DeRayMi, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

I like how he lets the words of "Born to Run" tumble out of his mouth, like a horse taking a dump.

So much for my epiphany...;0)

Mark, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Anyway: classic, though not a personal favorite.

DeRayMi, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

9 months pass...
I finally bought a Springsteen record! (The G Hits, even though I know it's got lots of shite on, cause I like owning G Hits). It's pretty great up to the point at which it isn't. Let's talk about Bruce again!

Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:18 (13 years ago) Permalink

the new one that ponefix and dq agreed on is unfortunately quite boring as to its actual like, er, sound – hence i only played it once so far, curse you persuasive fellows

"candy's room" is the grebtest song ever written about being in love w. a prostitute when you sound a bit like david bowie

mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:22 (13 years ago) Permalink

Tom if you ever feel like owning a whole album I have you pegged as a River man. At what point does G hits peter out?

Mark (MarkR), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:25 (13 years ago) Permalink

"My Hometown" is the first one I didn't really enjoy. "Brilliant Disguise" sounds laboured. After that I don't 'get it' yet (or it sucks).

Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:29 (13 years ago) Permalink

(It's obviously my Mark Pitchfork day cos I also bought Vision Creation Newsun!)

Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:31 (13 years ago) Permalink

"candy's room" is the grebtest song ever written about being in love w. a prostitute when you sound a bit like david bowie

Is this a new genre? Cos that'd be fucking incredible.

I still love Bruce Springsteen. Put on Rosalita and you will see me go insane.

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:01 (13 years ago) Permalink

So will I.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:23 (13 years ago) Permalink

Right, so next time you are in NYC, that's what we shall do.

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:24 (13 years ago) Permalink

Meat Loaf almost makes me want to like him.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:24 (13 years ago) Permalink

I didn't explain exactly WHY I would go insane, but hey.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:34 (13 years ago) Permalink

I didn't need to ask ;)

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:39 (13 years ago) Permalink

All is well. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 05:21 (13 years ago) Permalink

"Candy's Room" was the first Bruce song I wuvved.

alext (alext), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 11:58 (13 years ago) Permalink

i agree with ally about Rosalita

H (Heruy), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 12:02 (13 years ago) Permalink

Come on everybody: get with the magnificent TUNNEL OF LOVE

the ponefix, Wednesday, 20 November 2002 13:33 (13 years ago) Permalink

I like his synth-pop. "Born In The U.S.A.," "I'm On Fire," "Dancing In The Dark," "Brilliant Disguise," "Streets Of Philadelphia" stuff like that. He tends to lay off the anus-clenched fifteen-syllables-in-room-for-ten horrid "rock poetry" on those numbers. That said, the lyrics on "The Rising" are categorically his worst ever. His fame peaked with Born In The U.S.A because that's his best album.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 16:26 (13 years ago) Permalink

Nebraska is perfect, obviously. My favorite Bruce songs otherwise: Rosalita, Racing in the Street, I'm On Fire, Tenth Avenue Freeze Out and Hungry Heart.

Yancey (ystrickler), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 16:47 (13 years ago) Permalink

what's 'faron young ' all about then tom ?

piscesboy, Wednesday, 20 November 2002 16:51 (13 years ago) Permalink

The supposed false emotions and promises of country music radio - every other sentiment an antique"; "you offer infra-red instead of sun". He's looking for solace on the dial and not getting it. It's a marvellous but wrong song. Talking about it to the NME later he admitted he loved country now and that he'd been wrong about Faron.

Tom (Groke), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 17:05 (13 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, new album is weak. Basically just an excuse for the live shows, though, which according to what I've heard remain wonderful.

Found this at the near start of the thread, dunno if Ned can be bothered to talk about it now:

La Bruce just collectively calls to my mind a stunted bastard vision of music that presumes he was the sole carrier of the 'spirit of rock and roll truth' that the Beatles and Stones 'started' in the sixties.

Odd, because Springsteen's own views are the exact opposite- he was always far less interested in The Beatles and The Rolling Stones than he was in Phil Spector and James Brown.

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 20:17 (13 years ago) Permalink

I really like "Dancing in the Dark"

Kris (aqueduct), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 20:23 (13 years ago) Permalink

Oh man, I forgot about I'm On Fire. That's an incredible song. Also, Daniel_Rf is OTM in terms of Bruce's influences; just listen to the production on Born to Run, Ned.

Though he always does look really tense and "real rock" when he performs.

It used to be such that every time I got drunk, the evening would end with me and a gentleman companion in the group deciding to put on Dancing in the Dark and imitating the Boss & Courteney Cox dance. This has thankfully not occured in a long time now.

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 20:57 (13 years ago) Permalink

Odd, because Springsteen's own views are the exact opposite- he was always far less interested in The Beatles and The Rolling Stones than he was in Phil Spector and James Brown.

Ah, to explain my sense further -- there I wasn't referring to exact sound (I hope) so much as the role he seems to be in. I don't like universal idolatry, but personal, and so much around Bruce is "my god, the genius is among us all again! DO YOU SEE!" insistence that just makes me hate him even more. Like I said above in that quote, I don't get the sense that he believes that garbage (if he takes Dave Marsh at all seriously, though, that's a pisser).

And as for the music itself, a lot of people love Phil Spector and James Brown. In my mind, that doesn't give them a free pass for their own efforts. ;-)

My only realization about Bruce recently has been when I finally heard Bat Out of Hell and realized I loved that a hell of a lot more than any Springsteen I've heard.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 21:29 (13 years ago) Permalink

"Go" works. 15+ remixes = zesty.

Curtis Stephens, Wednesday, 20 November 2002 21:49 (13 years ago) Permalink

fuck, how did I get in this topic? I was in the dance singles thread!!! ah well, just ignore my post...

Curtis Stephens, Wednesday, 20 November 2002 21:50 (13 years ago) Permalink

This was my favorite comment on Springsteen :

"One of the things I was trying to convey in my rant was my displeasure with this reeky new trend that found rocknroll stars gill-netting for thematic blue-collar chub in the dank ol' eddies of crummy shit-jobs they'd left behind YEARS ago? if indeed ever. Great musicians didn't necessarily suck, but it might've helped if they had. Anything would've been better than listening to these poachers waft work odes from play stations.

But this wasn't even the true intent of my harangue. Those jabs at rock stars were just quills strewn along the spine of a much larger message. It had very little to do with Bob Seger or John Mellenfarm or Springsteen per se and everything to do with the lethargic concessions being made by workin' stiffs of my own ilk who wouldn't refuse deliverance on out-sourced interpretations of their own workaday milieu. As I suggested at the time, why entrust surrogates to serenade us on how tedious and deprived our lives were? Good GRIEF, couldn't we handle that ourselves?

My sentiments exactly. I grew up in an armpit very much like New Jersey. The last thing I wanted to hear when growing up was how I'm gonna die there just like my daddy or whatever. Plus, I think you could probably dance to Mellencamp, at least.

Kerry (dymaxia), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 22:49 (13 years ago) Permalink


man, Wednesday, 20 November 2002 22:52 (13 years ago) Permalink

Hey Tom -- I saw "Thunder Road" on your Top 10 & I was wondering if you've heard the live version that starts off the 1975-1986 box set? Might not work if you're really in love w/ the bombast of the original, but Springsteeen does a solo reading at piano that I find very touching (Clarance adds some glockenspiel, if memory serves).

Mark (MarkR), Tuesday, 3 December 2002 12:14 (13 years ago) Permalink

Oh and Tom, maybe explain how Andrew WK got you into Springsteen.

Mark (MarkR), Tuesday, 3 December 2002 12:15 (13 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...
I am reviving this thread in honour of Darkness On The Edge Of Town. And Silvio!

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Tuesday, 17 December 2002 22:46 (13 years ago) Permalink

I still find it interesting that someone who is supposedly down with the working class is nicknamed "The Boss". Mostly dud for me because I could never quite figure out what the big deal was. For me, he's interchangable with Bob Seger, the J. Geils Band, etc. - well-produced generic rock for midwest arenas. I was in high school when The River was released and I simply couldn't figure out why anyone would listen to it when they could listen to X's Los Angeles which accomplished more in one-third the time.

Yeah, Nebraska is a pretty OK album, but I recall at the time that it was more noteworthy as an advertisement for Tascam's portastudio than as any kind of artistic breakthrough.

Even so, I'll give him a "Get Out Of Dud Free" card for this, which I think is pretty goddamn cool.

Chris Barrus (xibalba), Tuesday, 17 December 2002 23:13 (13 years ago) Permalink

Why do people who otherwise dislike Springsteen give "Nebraska" a pass?

Amateurist (amateurist), Tuesday, 17 December 2002 23:48 (13 years ago) Permalink

11 months pass...
I am listening to 'Born to Run' on the radio. It's such a good song. Except for the part where he describes himself as having 'velvet ribs' and 'engines'. Apart from that it's good. I like it how he says, 'Together Wendy we'll live through the madness', etc. Isn't it all too true? I just think that people who don't like Bruce Springsteen have never 'been there', you know.

maryann (maryann), Saturday, 22 November 2003 08:55 (12 years ago) Permalink

this thread only serves to prove that ned raggett is __________.

RJG (RJG), Saturday, 22 November 2003 10:55 (12 years ago) Permalink

dave marsh?

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Saturday, 22 November 2003 11:26 (12 years ago) Permalink


sucka (sucka), Saturday, 22 November 2003 13:15 (12 years ago) Permalink

Hey Maryann it's "velvet rims" which probably makes even less sense.

Mark (MarkR), Saturday, 22 November 2003 13:56 (12 years ago) Permalink

I can't even believe this thread ever existed.

He could have quite after Born to Run and still be classic classic classic. That album is one of the great moments in pop music history, and a cultural icon (in the States at least).

Even if you don't like his music, he's still classic.

Debito (Debito), Saturday, 22 November 2003 16:18 (12 years ago) Permalink

I'd say he is mostly classic. He has had his dud moments (I have never been keen on his accoustic work), but he has several great albums behind him.

And it is about time people start liking "Born In The USA" again. Just because the album sold zillions doesn't make it a bad album.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Saturday, 22 November 2003 18:15 (12 years ago) Permalink

Velvet rims is kind of worse and better, - it sounds even cornier but at least it's not like he suddenly goes from bewailing his alienation to boasting about his physique! Or actually, maybe he does.

maryann (maryann), Saturday, 22 November 2003 21:46 (12 years ago) Permalink

I think Californians should look at it this way - Springsteen is the I-95 corridor/Eastern industrial states' Los Lobos. Don't begrudge us our tinge (though I like Los Lobos better myself).

Of course the adulation is typically overboard. But what do you expect for someone who has had, at least at moments, near-Madonna-level pop smarts and still gets content, even poetry, into his lyrics?

One of the differences between him and "heartland rock" - r&b. A greater proportion of it, at least. Who else (besides the aforementioned Californians) has had such a sound during the same period at remotely similar levels of popularity?

gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 22 November 2003 22:23 (12 years ago) Permalink

Even so, I'll give him a "Get Out Of Dud Free" card for this, which I think is pretty goddamn cool.

but he loses that card for this, the final page of the aforementioned document, in which mr. springsteen proves he can't spell "asbury park."

fact checking cuz, Sunday, 23 November 2003 16:48 (12 years ago) Permalink

ballboy's cover of 'born in the usa' is an eye-opener, who knew the lyrics were so touching and mournful i always had the image of his bulging veins in my head but ballboy's tender version reveals the beauty of the song.

keith m (keithmcl), Sunday, 23 November 2003 16:53 (12 years ago) Permalink

Why do people who otherwise dislike Springsteen give "Nebraska" a pass?

i otherwise kinda like springsteen, so perhaps i'm not the best to answer this, but i'd say his career mathematically boils down to this:

1. great singer
2. damn good songwriter (despite a huge drop-off in the '90s)
3. fair-to-average, overrated bar-band backing (playing mostly hackneyed arrangements)
4. poor production (i like "born to run" just fine, but after that it's just so completely lacking in punch and warmth i can't believe he's ever been lauded for it)

"nebraska" discards with (3) and (4), leaving him playing entirely to his strengths. and as it happens his songwriting hit a peak at the same time. i'd say it's far and away his best.

fact checking cuz, Sunday, 23 November 2003 17:16 (12 years ago) Permalink

They shared the stage once, in LA, in 1985.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 24 April 2016 13:57 (3 months ago) Permalink

Nice tribute version

curmudgeon, Sunday, 24 April 2016 15:31 (3 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Secretly quite relieved that he's no longer playing the entire back half of The River.

Matt DC, Saturday, 4 June 2016 10:04 (1 month ago) Permalink

For sure, it was a one-off experience for me. Setlists in Europe seem to resemble his E Street reunion setlists from the late '90s. I'm sort of on the fence about paying to see him again this August, the day after I get back from a vacation and the night before the kids resume school, but it's tempting. He had originally indicated "The River" jaunt would be pretty limited, and that he was going to take a break from the band for a bit, so I wonder why he changed his mind. He's obviously having fun, or maybe just mortal and recognizing that he can't do it forever after all so he might as well stick with his band (already down two members) while he can.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 4 June 2016 12:05 (1 month ago) Permalink

Ugh, it appears Waitin on a Sunny Day is back in the set.

kornrulez6969, Saturday, 4 June 2016 14:22 (1 month ago) Permalink

I don't think he ever specifically said it would be a short tour, he was hedging his bets right from the beginning.

It seems like this is designed to be short — just 22 cities, nine weeks, and done. Is that how you're viewing it at this point?

At the moment, yeah. I mean, could it go a little bit longer? It depends. It depends on… if we're having fun, if it suits itself to maybe a few more shows, we might consider it. But right now these are the only certain things we're doing.

Obviously, you have a very dedicated European audience, and we're hearing from a lot of those fans who have their fingers crossed. Given that the '81 European leg was such an important part of the River era, I know there are high hopes.

Yeah, that was the leg that established us in Europe — the River tour there was a major, major event for us. But I don't know yet, we gotta see — like I say, we initially planned for just a few shows, so I don't know if we're going to be doing a whole lot more than what we have planned, I can't really say.

heaven parker (anagram), Saturday, 4 June 2016 21:17 (1 month ago) Permalink

But he did say he had a solo thing that he wanted to do, which is why he initially wanted it to be short. But now it's essentially a 9 month world tour. Of course, he's the Boss and can always change his mind. And apparently did. And they do seem to be having fun. Steve in particular seems to be happier to be on stage than he has been in years.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 4 June 2016 21:26 (1 month ago) Permalink

Wembley last night was p.good - despite slightly wonky setlist ( (including Waitin' on a sunny day, although the kid was good - and it was sunny). Bruce seemed to have a cold though as he had a pretty permanent trail of snot which was amply picked up on the massive HD screens....

Ant1973, Monday, 6 June 2016 19:16 (1 month ago) Permalink

I saw him in Glasgow last week and absolutely loved it. It was my first Springsteen show. My g/f is a big fan, so we went early afternoon to queue and got in the front pit. The whole experience was great fun.

NWOFHM! Overlord (krakow), Monday, 6 June 2016 19:21 (1 month ago) Permalink

(I know that's a joke, but I think in all these decades that Springsteen has yet to cancel a date due to illness, which if true is insane.)

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 6 June 2016 21:18 (1 month ago) Permalink

I wonder if he'll do shows for (presumably) Clinton this fall. If Trump fear keeps rising, I bet he will.

King Nagl (Eazy), Monday, 6 June 2016 22:47 (1 month ago) Permalink

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 6 June 2016 22:50 (1 month ago) Permalink

"One soft infested summer, me and Hilary became friends..."

Now I Know How Joan of Arcadia Felt (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 6 June 2016 23:06 (1 month ago) Permalink

"you ain't a liberal but hey you're alright"

fact checking cuz, Monday, 6 June 2016 23:08 (1 month ago) Permalink

"Bernie said he'd pull out, Bernie stayed in..."

Now I Know How Joan of Arcadia Felt (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 6 June 2016 23:35 (1 month ago) Permalink

In HIllary's room, there are pictures of her donors on the wall

kornrulez6969, Tuesday, 7 June 2016 01:56 (1 month ago) Permalink

Saw Coventry and Wembley from the pit. Both great shows, Wembley shading it, because the setlist was a bit more unexpected. Yes, he has had a shocking cold for a week, apparently.

Roaming gang of aggressive circlepits (ithappens), Tuesday, 7 June 2016 12:16 (1 month ago) Permalink

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