― Patrick, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― Omar, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
I can't get worked up and annoyed about Bruce in the way I can about
some other rockers. He has an ear for a great line (the opening
of "Hungry Heart" for instance) and I can forgive him a lot for that.
He doesn't resonate with me and like the Replacements I think that's
a cultural thing.
I also - and this is totally subjective - never get the impression
Bruce ever thinks he's particularly cool. Which is not something I
can say of most other 'real rock'n'roller' types, mainstream or
― Tom, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
File under yet to be discovered. I was listening to an apologetic defence of his
work from Sean Rowley on the radio the other day, and it got me wondering
again. People of my generation's first real exposure to him was the 'Born in
the USA' air-punching era and that obviously wasn't likely to engender much
interest. Yes, I know it was all ironic.
What I have heard of his 70's stuff sounds like I might grow to love it. That
midwest blue-collar world his songs inhabit seems harder to relate to than
any other, but even in 1988, I had the feeling Paddy McAloon was missing the
point with the song 'Cars & Girls'.
At the moment, I'm afraid the song of his I like best is a 90s one - 'If I Should
Fall Behind', which I only know from the Grant McLellan cover version.
Badly Drawn Boy is a Springsteen obsessive, which I thought was quite cute.
― Nick, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― matthew stevens, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― Simon, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
And yes, Tom, he's got a very good ear for a line.
― Ally, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
I heard the version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" when I was
young and that is pretty spiff, I freely agree. Circa 1984, liking El
Bruce was unsurprising for me as that was a pretty damn good radio
year -- Chuck Eddy specifically called it as such in _Stairway to
Hell_, and he was goddamn right. Thus liking all that stuff he made
was a matter of course alongside all those singles from _Purple Rain_
and _Like A Virgin_ and etc.
Time went on and I proceeded to not care. I never cared enough to buy
an album anyway, and the 'classic early singles' only made sense in my
classic rock phase, which lasted about nine months in senior year.
Then I ended up in LA and encountered the first of Robert Hilburn's
345,234,843 printed sermons on How Bruce Springsteen Heals the Sick,
Raises the Dead and Means More to Human Existence Than the Combined
Efforts of Louis Pasteur, Billie Holiday and Charles Schulz. I
encountered other blowhards. The music touched me with the impact of
a dying flea. A roommate was obsessed with him to the point of near
mania. I cried.
Frankly, the Walkabouts any day of the goddamn week, month, year,
decade, century, etc. If the relative fame levels were reversed, I
would cling to this assumption with even more deep, abiding passion
because then I would have The People on my side. Even alone, though,
it's comfy. And Frankie Goes to Hollywood's version of "Born to Run"
is my fave.
― Ned Raggett, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― Sterling Clover, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
i actually liked born_in_the_u.s.a when it came out at age 7, but
later, i found it to be an obstacle in getting to love bruce, and i'm
sure there are a ton of artists out there whose work at that time has
kept people away from them.
as sterling said, it's funny what driving a car can do, especially
when it's another dark and lonely night out on an empty anonymous new
jersey highway and "born to run" comes on the highway. but i've been there, so i'll move on.
you can get by on the first five or so albums on the music and
production alone -- unless of course you hate phil spector and are,
therefore, destined to spend eternity in hell -- and the later stuff
will stick if you find something in the lyrics that rings far too
true. sure, he mines the same territory in a lot of his songs, but so
do belle & sebastian and so did the smiths; except the kids in
bruce's songs could kick the ass of their counterparts in the
ned, i think you have the same problem as tom: it's a cultural
― fred from new jersey, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
It's not a cultural thing; I mean for god's sake Motorcycle Emptiness
might as well be Bruce Springsteen on a literacy trip in terms of
subject, and I know Tom likes the song, and I believe Ned does too.
Whether that particular statement was tongue in cheek or not, it's a
tired excuse and reasoning, one usually used by the saddest of Bruce
Springsteen fans, the ones who "identify" with his sentiments,
seemingly losing track of the fact that BRUCE'S CHARACTERS NEVER
ACTUALLY MAKE IT OUT. Some positive role models to rock out to.
The thing is, I think it's the voice and the earnestness, which was
already said. The stylistic values of it....the basic cultural and
escape sentiments, lyrically, of Motorcycle Emptiness and Born to Run
might be very similar in tone, but the style and vocalisings are
entirely, 100% different. Bruce has a very sarcastic bent, a very
dark bent, lyrically, but his style of music softens the blow and
sometimes people just don't like it.
And those people are wrong, incidentally :P
― Ally, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
Nebraska is half good but doesn't deserve the plaudits it gets as the
Springsteen album it's cool to like.
The rest is pretty much DUD.
― alex thomson, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
Nevermind that Born in the USA was my first record not meant to
be played on the Fisher Price record player (with the STEEL
Nevermind the fact that Born to Run is one of the best driving
albums ever when your top is down and it's summer and the
road between Ventura and home stretches out and empty at
night with no cops...
Nevermind he has out Dylan-ed Dylan
Nevermind that he can outrage The Man as he pushes the dark
side of life. (41 Shots)
Nevermind the line "The record company Rosie, JUST GAVE ME
A BIG ADVANCE!"
Nevermind the Live box set, reminding us just how powerful he
Nevermind Time and Newsweek
Nevermind The cover of Jersey Girl
Nevermind the MTV Unplugged set where he scrapped the entire
notion of an acoustic show and just plugged in and tore down
Nevermind everyone on this list who called him a dud.
― JM, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
well, Bruce isn't *that* bad! ;)
― Omar, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
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. A
CLAIM I HAVE ENCOUNTERED MORE THAN ONCE, though thankfully not here,
and happily never from the man's own lips either, at least to my
knowledge. Without that rhetoric I would just shrug and ignore him for
somebody more interesting, but with it, frankly, he becomes a very very
useful target to kick against. Perhaps only a straw man, but one I
wouldn't mind seeing go up in flames.
― Ned Raggett, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
The boy has fallen off of late, but... I'm reminded of the Bangs
article where he describes how he dismissed this Maoist band as
sounding like Bruce, and the band replied "oh, good, the working
class like that stuff" or something of the sort, and I'm reading this
thinking -- no. no. no. The correct answer is "oh, good. Bruce
What I appreciate about Bruce is how he can capture the majesty of a
major chord. How so many of his songs have the same progression, but
you don't realize it 'till you try to play 'em yourself. How he can
take gospel music and write it to a girl instead. And yes, more of
them damn anthems.
I mean.. I know that anthems aren't an alien concept to the
UK -- after all, The Who were full of them. But maybe British anthems
are a different type a "get off of my cloud" or "sod off" type, more
cynical and pissy than dreamy and wide-eyed. Maybe this is, after
all, because America is The Big Country, The Great Bitch, et cet.
Maybe to get America you have to get just how there's always
somewhere you might go, maybe.
Along these lines, "Not Fade Away" which is a novel by Jim Dodge is a
great rock road story, sort of like the lighter side of Richard
Hell's "Go Now" or the more earnest(?) side of Bruce
McCullough's "Doors Fan" sketch (on his album, Shame-Based
Man). Yes. Get that spirit of the open highway.
― Sterling Clover, Sunday, 25 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― Michael Daddino, Sunday, 25 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― Mark Richardson, Sunday, 25 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
I will say, though, that I do lack a car and have never had one. That
might serve as a better explanation. ;-)
― Ned Raggett, Sunday, 25 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― Patrick, Monday, 26 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
I wish I wasn't misinterpreting.
― Otis Wheeler, Monday, 26 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― Ally, Tuesday, 27 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
Inspirational in some ways. I have often felt that England needed a
Springsteen, albeit not just a a copycat 'rocker'; I mean, someone who
would write about all the lost and found small-town lives. But to be
fair, I suppose there is already a UK tradition here: the probably
Jarvis Cocker is a case in point.
― the pinefox, Wednesday, 28 February 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― Robin Carmody, Friday, 2 March 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― Michael Bourke, Sunday, 4 March 2001 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link
1. they don't understand that he's actually not as "pro-america" as
they might think he is
2. they don't have as close a connection to "old school" code (which
includes "old school" rock)
3. they are mostly college kids on their way up to some office job or
whatever that is removed (if not far removed) from the "underworld"
(the "blue collar" or "real" world) to get the lyrical sentiments
4. well, and...sometimes people just don't like something 'cause they
just don't like it
I, however, do not apply to any of those 4. For I actually do "get"
some of the appeal of Bruce (albeit, it took my until my mid or late
twenties to get there). Sure, his overly sentimental (downright
broadway or maudlin) look at the working class can be a bit (or a
bunch) too much. And sure, his music can be too simple and/or too
derivitive. But, that's a part of the whole. Familiarity in both music
and lyrics, is a large part of the appeal of his stuff (and those like
him, ala Mellencamp, etc). He just had the concept to put nearly a
whole career on the working class/blue collar life like no other has
(not in such a wide reaching broad sense, at least - other than
Mellencamp, but Bruce did it a bit better and first).
Having said all that, 'Nebraska' and 'Ghost of Tom Joad' are the only
two full albums that I would declare anywhere near a "classic" state
of existence (with 'Nebraska' being the one clear-cut vote). Many of
the rest of his 70's and 80's albums have some good solid worthy
singles on them, but. I can't go so far as to get 'The River' (for
example) anywhere near a "classic" nod. That one, in particular, I
find to be overrated (though still having the wonderful track "Stolen
Car" and the title track deserving of 'Nebraska'-like attention).
― michael g. breece, Sunday, 1 July 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
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'
and...love 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 (nineteen years ago) link
― the pinefox, Monday, 2 July 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
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.
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 (eighteen years ago) link
― DeRayMi, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link
― Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:18 (seventeen years ago) link
"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 (seventeen years ago) link
― Mark (MarkR), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:25 (seventeen years ago) link
― Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:29 (seventeen years ago) link
― Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:31 (seventeen years ago) link
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 (seventeen years ago) link
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:23 (seventeen years ago) link
― Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:24 (seventeen years ago) link
― sundar subramanian (sundar), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:24 (seventeen years ago) link
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:34 (seventeen years ago) link
― Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:39 (seventeen years ago) link
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 05:21 (seventeen years ago) link
― alext (alext), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 11:58 (seventeen years ago) link
I love Wreck on the Highway. So restrained, and so devastating. Something very powerful about that idea of just casually crossing paths with someone else's tragedy, and it leaving a mark on you even though it's not really part of your life. Also the only Bruce song I've made my dad listen to that got an actual "that's good" out of him as opposed to polite tolerance.
― Lily Dale, Tuesday, 29 September 2020 15:51 (three weeks ago) link
Think he sings about a 'state trooper knocking on the door' - ahead of his song 'State Trooper'. I love Bruce's specific references to the authorities, police, etc.
Listening today, I also thought this song was as Country (& Western) as that LP gets.
― the pinefox, Tuesday, 29 September 2020 16:42 (three weeks ago) link
There are several fatalistic "it could have been me" sort of death fantasies in Bruce's catalog, especially that era and some of those aforementioned songs. State Trooper, Stolen Car, Wreck on the Highway...
― Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 29 September 2020 16:47 (three weeks ago) link
I like how indirect the storytelling is. All you know at first is that there was an accident, you don't know how much time passed or what happened in between the man asking for help and the ambulance arriving. And then the narrator starts thinking about the man's wife getting the news, and you realize for the first time just how bad it was.
― Lily Dale, Tuesday, 29 September 2020 17:04 (three weeks ago) link
"Ghosts" is great. First thing from him I've heard in a long time that has that big emotional "lift" in the chorus that to me is sort of key to Springsteen.
I could even see it sticking around in the setlist (if tours still exist) in subsequent tours.
Like the details - Les Paul, Fender Twin etc he's lost that over the years.
Only thing I don't like is the intro drums, feels very "100 Royalty Free Big Rock Drum Loops" but i'm not a big fan of Max in general.
― Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 29 September 2020 17:30 (three weeks ago) link
production as always in late period is grey, flat, "professional" in the way that modern rock records sound like shit. a windmill i can't stop tilting at, but the ship has sailed, anyway 10th Avenue Freeze Out autoplayed after and sounded like the world opened up in my headphones in comparison.
― Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 29 September 2020 17:33 (three weeks ago) link
How many times in Bruce's work does a man sit up at night while his woman sleeps, and the moonlight shines through the window, and he thinks about [betrayal / love / being a cautious man / God's grace / Elvis Presley / a wreck on the highway] ?
Variant: he runs out of the house at night, through the woods, across the highway, and collapses, his shirt soaked from sweat, and finds himself outside his old house, and looks up, with a realisation about [betrayal / loss / his father / God's grace / a downbound train]
― the pinefox, Tuesday, 29 September 2020 18:43 (three weeks ago) link
fwiw I heard Letter to You on the radio the other day and it sounded great.
― Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 29 September 2020 18:55 (three weeks ago) link
xpost you left out the part where he puts on/takes off his jacket - a key moment in all Bruce's dream sequences and midnight epiphanies.
― Lily Dale, Tuesday, 29 September 2020 19:55 (three weeks ago) link
Heh, now I'm imagining a Bruce song where he thinks about all of these at once.
One of the many great things about Dylan's Springsteen parody is that it totally ends this way: "Sometimes I think of Tweeter/ sometimes I think of Jan/ sometimes I don't think about nothin' / but the Monkeyman."
― Lily Dale, Tuesday, 29 September 2020 20:00 (three weeks ago) link
I think I read in Michael Gray's BOB DYLAN ENCYLOPEDIA that that was a Boss parody!
I don't think I would have realised otherwise.
― the pinefox, Wednesday, 30 September 2020 07:20 (three weeks ago) link
Well, It's tricky, because the music doesn't sound at all like Bruce. It sounds, of course, like the Traveling Wilburys. But the lyrics are hilarious. Bruce and Bob are friends, or at least as friendly as anybody can be with Dylan. I wonder what Bruce thought of that? I've always wondered why he's never performed it, which would be hilarious too.
― Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 30 September 2020 12:25 (three weeks ago) link
Sometimes I wonder if it makes Bruce sad that Tom Petty got to be in the Traveling Wilburys and he didn't.
― Lily Dale, Wednesday, 30 September 2020 15:53 (three weeks ago) link
I agree, that song doesn't sound like Bruce. In a way, it feels less like a straight parody and more more like a complicated in-joke for Springsteen fans. He bypasses the really obvious jokes - cars, girls, factory jobs, dads - and goes straight to the more obscure stuff, like the trans character, the sister, the "lonely guy thinkin' baout things" ending, and all those b-side song titles.
― Lily Dale, Wednesday, 30 September 2020 16:38 (three weeks ago) link
Sometimes I wonder if it makes Bruce sad that Tom Petty got to be in the Traveling Wilburys and he didn't.I'm not sure I'd want to hear Jeff Lynne's signature on Springsteen's music. To be fair, it worked very well on (most of) Petty's Full Moon Fever where, on a modest scale, it fit the whimsical and occasionally wistful nature of those songs. Otherwise, his sound is usually way too glossy for my tastes.
― birdistheword, Wednesday, 30 September 2020 17:36 (three weeks ago) link
no room for a gruff voice in the traveling wilburys, though that would have been a funny addition.
― Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 30 September 2020 17:37 (three weeks ago) link
Yeah I don't think Bruce would have meshed well w/the Wilburys at all, for many reasons. But it is kind of funny that three of his musical heroes formed a group with another heartland rocker and then made fun of him on their first album.
― Lily Dale, Wednesday, 30 September 2020 17:41 (three weeks ago) link
handle me with CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRE ohhhh aaaa ohhhhhhh oooooo
― maf you one two (maffew12), Wednesday, 30 September 2020 17:41 (three weeks ago) link
unrelated: I love all the footage of Bruce in Roy Orbison’s “Black and White Night” He looks so genuinely excited to be there & to be playing the songs, like he’s turn & grin at whoever’s standing next to him with a “can you BELIEVE this shit?” look on his facehe looks like a little kid at times <3
― terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 30 September 2020 17:48 (three weeks ago) link
Absolutely. My friend and I find it hilarious that he was ever in a guitar duel with James Burton, but you can tell that Bruce truly understands and relishes his role on that stage.
― Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 30 September 2020 17:59 (three weeks ago) link
I'm not sure I'd want to hear Jeff Lynne's signature on Springsteen's music.
Yeah, I can't even imagine what a gated snare would sound like on a Springsteen song.
― Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 30 September 2020 18:17 (three weeks ago) link
there aren't any gated snares on born in the u.s.a (the album)?
― i got a homogenic björk wine farmer permabanned (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 30 September 2020 18:30 (three weeks ago) link
(I was joking)
― Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 30 September 2020 18:34 (three weeks ago) link
That childlike joy is one of Bruce's most endearing qualities imo. I love the bit in his autobiography where he gets to rehearse with the Rolling Stones and he can barely contain his fanboy glee and there are SO MANY CAPITAL LETTERS.
― Lily Dale, Wednesday, 30 September 2020 18:39 (three weeks ago) link
lol yes that was great
― terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 30 September 2020 19:46 (three weeks ago) link
What's great is that Bruce reveals that same childlike enthusiasm whenever he pops on stage with anyone, from b listers like Southside Johnny or Joe Grushezcky (however you spell it, from Pittsburgh) to random bar bands
― Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 30 September 2020 19:53 (three weeks ago) link
Yeah, I can't even imagine what a gated snare would sound like on a Springsteen song.Clever, but it takes a lot more than a gated snare to make a record sound like a Jeff Lynne production. (thank god)
― birdistheword, Thursday, 1 October 2020 02:23 (three weeks ago) link
fwiw I may have mentioned it, but Bob Clearmountain has said the heavily gated BitUSA era snare was all Bruce's idea, so maybe he would have been all in on Lynne.
― Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 1 October 2020 02:26 (three weeks ago) link
Of course. FWIW, this came up during Tracks, but the mixing engineers went on record at the time saying Springsteen loved bathing his vocal in echo and giving it a humongous sound, something he completely reversed by 1998 when they remixed those recordings and stripped out the reverb per his request as he now wanted a more "personal" sounding mix.
Besides the squashed, far-mic'd drum kit, Lynne likes a lot of acoustic guitars and not much bass, typically compressed to hell, and then you have the way he mixes those distinctive harmonies that are probably the most grating thing about his records. Above all, the key is the way everything is compressed (reportedly done with Universal Audio solid state limiting). Springsteen was making shiny, pop-friendly records in 1987, but they didn't sound nearly as synthetic.
― birdistheword, Thursday, 1 October 2020 04:00 (three weeks ago) link
(to be fair, a lot of people probably love that sound - Harrison, Petty et al wouldn't have sold so many records then if they didn't)
― birdistheword, Thursday, 1 October 2020 04:08 (three weeks ago) link
I finish with THE RIVER again. Still a bemusing LP, with so much seeming filler, but good songs also, and the title track a masterpiece that could stand for his whole career.
I go on to WORKING ON A DREAM for the first time in years. The quality of this record is so high. Songs like 'life itself' and 'good eye' take the Boss to a different realm. 'This life' with its Beach Boys approach and unusual chords, and lines about looking through a telescope! ... This feels to me like the greatest thing he's done since TUNNEL OF LOVE - save perhaps WESTERN STARS. No-one ever mentions it - maybe because, I always say, Bruce's consistency is just so high, people take it for granted.
― the pinefox, Thursday, 1 October 2020 10:08 (three weeks ago) link
October 23rd baybee 😃
― terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 6 October 2020 03:36 (two weeks ago) link
Reviews are popping up and the ones I've seen have been very positive.
― Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 15 October 2020 18:47 (one week ago) link
OK, first song is one of the best things he's done since "Tunnel of Love" imo.
― Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 15 October 2020 18:56 (one week ago) link
Four or five tracks in and I think I'm calling it: barring some sort of precipitous nosedive, this is his best since "The Rising," by a long shot, and probably better. Seems to have finally cracked the production problem, too, because the album even sounds pretty great.
― Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 15 October 2020 19:11 (one week ago) link
OK, "Power of Prayer" is not necessarily bad, but it's not really my thing, either. Immediately bounces back with "House of a Thousand Guitars," though.
― Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 15 October 2020 19:20 (one week ago) link
Final (first) reaction. The album's great, but it's also the start-to-finish Bruciest album he's done in a long time, which I can imagine some will find exhausting. Factor in the three old songs and it's really doubling (tripling) down on his own mythology/mortality. There's a sense of self-awareness to this album that finds him finally giving in to the temptation to ... be himself? Rather than asking "what would Bruce/E Street Band do?" and then doing something different, this album is him leaning hard into his strengths from the perspective of an old guy whose friends are all dying and leaving him behind to carry the weight of their souls.
― Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 15 October 2020 19:51 (one week ago) link
I didn't like "Power of Prayer" either, it's too corny.
But the album starts off great. It got less interesting as it went on, but that's just after one listen. Maybe it'll grow on me, so we'll see. I started listening in the late '90s, and no newly released Springsteen album (not counting archival releases) has ever won me over that quickly. I wound up liking Wrecking Ball, Magic, Devils and Dust and half of The Rising, and it took some time.
― birdistheword, Thursday, 15 October 2020 22:25 (one week ago) link
Gah, I wasn't planning to try to listen to it before the release date, but the suspense is driving me nuts.
― Lily Dale, Thursday, 15 October 2020 22:32 (one week ago) link
I can't say I'm a fan of "Songs for Orphans" (which I didn't know about - it was written in 1971 and a publishing demo apparently circulates), but except for "Power of Prayer," the other ten track are hanging together pretty well for me.
― birdistheword, Thursday, 15 October 2020 23:41 (one week ago) link
xpost Do it!
Listening again, those first four songs culminating in a powerhouse like "Janey" are just unstoppable. But "The Power of Prayer" ... I just can't take it, it's too corny, and throws off my listening experience. But then it pretty much bounces back. I still think it's his best band album since "The Rising" - that's the easiest part. Whether it's as good as or better than "The Rising," I'll have to think about it.
― Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 15 October 2020 23:44 (one week ago) link
Re: "Orphans," several different recordings actually circulate. What's probably the demo does nothing for me, but two live performances are very different and much better IMHO. All with just Springsteen on an acoustic:
From Springsteen's very first radio performances, still the earliest circulating 'live' material with what would become the E Street Band (though again it's just Bruce on this song). From WBCN-FM on January 9, 1973.
From the Devils and Dust tour, Nov. 22, 2005, this is an official upload from nugs.net and it's actually the first official release of this song ever (dated March 1, 2019). The whole show is up on nugs.net for purchase. Reportedly the 1st (and only) time he's played it in concert since the early 70's
― birdistheword, Friday, 16 October 2020 00:00 (one week ago) link
*release dated March 1, 2019, performance is again from 2005
― birdistheword, Friday, 16 October 2020 00:01 (one week ago) link
To be fair, Springsteen's albums tend to be longer than usual in the digital era, so even when I take out the ones I don't want to hear again, there's still more than enough for a standard LP.
Wrecking Ball without "Jack of All Trades" is over 45 minutes, Magic without "Terry's Song" is over 43 minutes, and even the leanest cut of The Rising comes out to 38 minutes for me (a more generous version I sometimes listen to would be 49 minutes). Without the new version of "Orphans" and "The Power of Prayer," this one's well over 48 minutes, and at the moment I don't find myself wanting to skip through any of these remaining ten cuts. Even "Ghosts" sounds better following the eight preceding and remaining tracks - it didn't feel like a great single, but it works well in this context, feeding off of everything that's been building up to it.
― birdistheword, Friday, 16 October 2020 00:24 (one week ago) link
Yeah, for the sake of brevity I would have been cool with them cutting Prayer and relegating Priest to a bonus track.
― Josh in Chicago, Friday, 16 October 2020 01:05 (one week ago) link
I think WORKING ON A DREAM and WESTERN STARS are better than THE RISING. Maybe.
Haven't heard the new record.
― the pinefox, Friday, 16 October 2020 08:38 (one week ago) link
Think I'll wait till it comes out; hopefully you guys don't get sick of talking about it before then.
I'm listening to his most recent radio show, and so far it's awesome. He just made my whole day by playing Sir Mix-a-Lot's "My Hooptie" and giving a detailed nine-point explanation of what qualifies as a hooptie.
― Lily Dale, Friday, 16 October 2020 22:42 (one week ago) link
― terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 16 October 2020 23:26 (one week ago) link
Nice interview in Forbes with Steve Van Zandt and Nils Lofgren.
Van Zandt: Bruce has performed the brilliant artistic task of being extremely personal, extremely detailed and nuanced in his personal explanation and descriptions and insights, and the more personal he gets the more universal the message becomes. And I learned from that... But it was Bruce really that said, "We don't need to generalize, we don't need to say let me explain the whole world to you as an artist. You don't have to do that. Just tell the truth about your own life, what you're experiencing, what you're seeing and dig into it. Don't be afraid of it, confront it. Let's see where it comes out. Let's describe our most intimate relationships with the hopes that other people can see themselves in our work." That's the great thing about art. Art can pass along inspiration, motivation, insights, even information. But the main thing art does is it lets you know you're not alone and I think that's what Bruce's gift has always been.
― Lily Dale, Sunday, 18 October 2020 16:37 (five days ago) link