Bruce Springsteen - Classic or Dud ?

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I know he's bound to be considered a monstrous dud, especially with British folks and technoid types, but I'm especially curious as to why. Poor Bruce, he's gotta be more uncool than Richard Marx these days. Not that his 90s albums helped much.

Patrick, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Yep, big fat dud. Always hated him. Crap songs that dominated 1984. Shit voice. The fucking E-street band. Never saw the point of Da Boss. It all when wrong early on when he was proclaimed The Future of Rock 'n Roll way back when. Okay so he wrote "Because the Night" and even that isn't too hot. Almost the perfect antipole of what I look for in music. Sorry, had to be predictable here.

Omar, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

"Born To Run" is a classic, up there with Roxy Music as an early example of po-mo cut-and-paste kitsch pop.

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 otherwise.

Tom, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen 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 (eighteen years ago) link

I guess if want a simple answer as to why he's treated with disdain by the certain people, it's his overwhelming aura of earnestness.


Nick, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Paddy McAloon is an odd one, because he'd already missed a very similar point with "Faron Young", and then said in interviews that he'd missed it, and then proceeded to miss it again. I can't stand "Cars And Girls".

Tom, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

i admit i don't like all of the boss's stuff. i haven't even tried to, really. but "nebraska" and "ghost of tom joad" are terrific records.

matthew stevens, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Classic all the way as well. Soft-spot. As a youth I hated him (I was 7 in 1984 and "Born in the USA" was nowhere as fun as "Karma Chameleon" - I wanted to be Boy George, not some sweaty guy with a baseball cap tucked in his blue jeans). But in my teens I kept hearing fantastic pop tracks on the classic rock radio ("Badlands" for instance), and my English teacher once had us work on the lyrics to "The River" - the long live version with the speech at the beginning - so I went out and purchased a few Springsteen albums. For the record, there's always been City Simon who likes the Dead Boys and the Damned, and Countryside Simon who likes Ry Cooder and the Sundays, and somehow Springsteen linked these two sides of me beautifully. From "Thunder Road" to "Highway Patrolman" (I bought "Nebraska" after seeing Sean Penn's haunting "Indian Runner") to "I'm On Fire", Springsteen's songs have accompanied me through important journeys, love affairs and dry winters.

Simon, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Yeah, same as Simon, I used to dislike Bruce too at first, in 1984. I was into British synth-pop at the time and to me, he was just some old guy making a comeback, like John Fogerty or something. And I definitely agree that "Cars And Girls" song makes that Prefab Sprout guy look like a pretentious little twit. I kinda get the feeling that a lot of people dislike him (Bruce) because he's never had much of a sex-and-drugs-and-darkness-and-destruction image (even though Nebraska is as dark as 10000 Trent Reznors).

Patrick, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

DUDE! There is not excuse for even asking this, totally classic, baby. Born To Run (the album and the song) is one of the most glorious moments in rock-pop ever, out Spector-ing Phil Spector. His voice is only crap when he decides to pretend he's Bob Dylan, which is becoming frightfully more and more common. Sure, a lot of the Born In The USA-era stuff is dated now due to production value but it's still got some very solid songwriting.

And yes, Tom, he's got a very good ear for a line.

Ally, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I get to piss on the parade here. Yay me!

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.

The end.

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 (eighteen years ago) link

The Wild, the Innocent, and the E-Street Shuffle is a terrific album. Also the live boxed set. Also, The River. Also, hell. Also almost everything thru Tunnel Of Love. One of those artists who you need the right "mood" to get. Or, just to be driving a car.

Sterling Clover, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen 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 aforementioned.

ned, i think you have the same problem as tom: it's a cultural thing. ;)

fred from new jersey, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Ooh. The dark and lonely highways of despair. *plays the violin*

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 (eighteen years ago) link

2 albums are CLASSIX: 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' and especially 'Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ'.

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 (eighteen years ago) link

"Oh yes, he's a dud..."

Nevermind that Born in the USA was my first record not meant to be played on the Fisher Price record player (with the STEEL NEEDLE)

Nevermind Tracks 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 was

Nevermind Time and Newsweek

Nevermind Thunder-Fucking-Road

Nevermind The cover of Jersey Girl

Nevermind Tracks

Nevermind the MTV Unplugged set where he scrapped the entire notion of an acoustic show and just plugged in and tore down the house

Nevermind everyone on this list who called him a dud.

JM, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

"Nevermind he has out Dylan-ed Dylan"

well, Bruce isn't *that* bad! ;)

Omar, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

The entirety of the lyrics to Rosalita are a Great Rock Moment, Jimmy. Don't just single out that line ;)

Ally, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I note your list, Jimmy, and yet, somehow, it makes no sense to me. ;- )

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 (eighteen years ago) link

Springsteen is, doubtless, a spirit of a rock and roll truth, which he has a near monopoly on. I think, maybe, if I had grown up in a real city, instead of a tourist-trap disneyburb retirement town, that whole swaths of music wouldn't resonate with me. But there I was, and I don't know if you have to have that certain feeling to get Bruce. If you have to know that you're suffocating, that you'd rather die than stay, that the air was too think to dream in, if you have to have known that.

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 fucking rocks!"

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 (eighteen years ago) link

A dud, but only because of unpleasant memories of listening attentively to my copies of *The River* and *Live 1975-1985* like a good rock-critic-in-training, and finding it impossible to feel anything about them other than apathy. He's done a goodly number of really great ones such as "Hungry Heart," "Dancing In The Dark," and "Racing in the Street" but he invariably makes my mind wander after more than a couple songs.

Michael Daddino, Sunday, 25 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I have to say Classic, though I can see why some could argue otherwise. Looming large is the cultural gap, for our friends from the Eastern Hemisphere. Hard to tune in to what Springsteen has going on from there. But those first three records are great, still, and Nebraska is also excellent when you're in the mood. In 1984 I owned about 15 albums total, and even then I had Springsteen's entire catalog. So I'm definitely biased. All of Born in the USA is horrible now. That production really sinks it, even though half the songs are strong.

Mark Richardson, Sunday, 25 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I should note that, being American myself, the Cultural Gap thing is rather overrated as an explanation. ;-)

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 (eighteen years ago) link

Nah... I don't even have a driver's license and I love the man. Cars are my favorite place to listen to music though.

Patrick, Monday, 26 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

The Automobile as Stationary Listening Environment. How revolutionary.

I wish I wasn't misinterpreting.

Otis Wheeler, Monday, 26 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Uh... I meant when *someone else* is driving, Otis.

Patrick, Monday, 26 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Thank god, otherwise it sounds like something Thom Yorke would do.

Ally, Tuesday, 27 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Smashing, in loads of ways. You have to get used to REPETITION with the Boss - you have to get used to the idea that he is frequently writing pretty much the same song again and again, and is *not apologizing for it*. On Nebraska (yes, probably still the best LP, for my money; but I like lots of the others) he even repeats the same lyrics. The whole rock-writer idea of originality, uniqueness etc is just not in play with a lot of the Boss's stuff: to stretch a point, it's less like a load of individual songs, more like a single fabric that he is reweaving for as long as he likes. In that sense he's something akin to a bluesman, I suppose.

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 (eighteen years ago) link

Ah, but that's what you're doing yourself, Reynard :).

Robin Carmody, Friday, 2 March 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Dud. Never cared much for Brooce's brand of schlock n' roll....Heard "Greetings from.." and "Darkness at the edge of town" and they just sounded like MOR to me. "Nebraska" I do like however but thats even got "Used cars" on used cars are a symbol of poverty...pah!...There isnt too many highways in Ireland and if there was I wouldnt spend time listening to Springsteen...

Michael Bourke, Sunday, 4 March 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

three months pass...
A part of the reason he's not being taken too kindly by them there "hip" folks is:

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 (eighteen years ago) link

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 (eighteen years ago) link

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 (eighteen years ago) link

six 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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

Anyway: classic, though not a personal favorite.

DeRayMi, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) link

nine 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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

"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 (seventeen years ago) link

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

Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:31 (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

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

So will I.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:23 (seventeen years ago) link

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

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:24 (seventeen years ago) link

Meat Loaf almost makes me want to like him.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:24 (seventeen years ago) link

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

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:34 (seventeen years ago) link

I didn't need to ask ;)

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:39 (seventeen years ago) link

All is well. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 05:21 (seventeen years ago) link

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

alext (alext), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 11:58 (seventeen years ago) link

that was the only thing keeping it from a B

maffew12, Friday, 18 October 2019 23:45 (one month ago) link

Saw Western Stars yesterday, against my better judgment; I think this NPR review is otm.

Lily Dale, Friday, 25 October 2019 01:23 (one month ago) link

i knew i'd pass on this just from the way he was singing in the trailer.

So what to make of Western Stars, the new sight-track to his first record of all-new material since that [2009] knee slide?

Someone's feeling cheated that Wrecking Ball only had 10 brand new songs? Passing on this review too, lol.

maffew12, Friday, 25 October 2019 01:34 (one month ago) link

Huh, didn't notice that. The rest of it is pretty much word-for-word what I would have said about the movie (the words "portentous" and "intoning platitudes" definitely flitted through my mind as I was watching.)

It's not the singing that's the problem, it's the talking.

Lily Dale, Friday, 25 October 2019 01:47 (one month ago) link

haha. Did you like the Broadway special? I have to finish that sometime.

maffew12, Friday, 25 October 2019 01:54 (one month ago) link

I liked the Broadway special and thought the memoir was great, but those were both pretty grounded in real stories about his life. This is him saying shit like "the car is a powerful metaphor," and "these are the things that grow your garden of love," while staring off into the distant desert and wearing a cowboy hat.

Lily Dale, Friday, 25 October 2019 06:20 (one month ago) link

omg, in.

maffew12, Friday, 25 October 2019 10:14 (one month ago) link

So it's Springsteen does Malick?

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 25 October 2019 11:36 (one month ago) link

I mean... he thinks he's doing a lot of things? There's a credits sequence of a guy sweeping a floor for five minutes, so I guess he must be a big fan of the Twin Peaks revival.

But basically it's just some concerts that sound exactly like the album, strung together with these creaky, ponderous voiceovers where he tells you that family is good and lying is bad and you shouldn't run away from your problems. Over slo-mo shots of horses and clouds and whisky bottles and Cowboy Bruce sitting in cars and walking through the desert and staring hauntedly out of windows.

Lily Dale, Friday, 25 October 2019 17:19 (one month ago) link

Cowboy Bruce sitting in cars

He's sitting in METAPHORS.

and she could see an earmuff factory (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 25 October 2019 19:43 (one month ago) link


nickn, Friday, 25 October 2019 20:16 (one month ago) link


maffew12, Friday, 25 October 2019 20:54 (one month ago) link

Now, that would have livened up the movie.

Lily Dale, Friday, 25 October 2019 21:02 (one month ago) link


Lily Dale, Friday, 25 October 2019 21:07 (one month ago) link

sometimes the car is a metaphor for the metaphorical

maffew12, Friday, 25 October 2019 21:18 (one month ago) link

He drives an El Camino, so is it Sex In A Car, Sex In A Truck, or Sex In A Way Of Life?

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 25 October 2019 21:21 (one month ago) link

Sex in a Lonely Waystation on the Dusty Road to Enlightenment. But only if we expand the definition of "sex" to include "your wife laying her weathered hand gently over yours as you hold the steering wheel."

Lily Dale, Friday, 25 October 2019 21:43 (one month ago) link

As long as the road leads to redemption, or to transcendence, or to forgiveness. Otherwise it's just driving somewhere.

and she could see an earmuff factory (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 25 October 2019 22:01 (one month ago) link

when is driving somewhere *ever* just driving somewhere?

maffew12, Friday, 25 October 2019 22:38 (one month ago) link

As long as the road leads to redemption, or to transcendence, or to forgiveness. Otherwise it's just driving somewhere.

Pretty sure Bruce actually says this somewhere in the movie. I think the actual wording was something like, "But are we moving forward? Or are we just -" [long, meaningful pause] "MOVING?"

Lily Dale, Friday, 25 October 2019 22:48 (one month ago) link

“The highway is alive tonight / But it ain’t kidding nobody about where it goes”

... (Eazy), Saturday, 26 October 2019 00:44 (one month ago) link

Washington Post movie critic talked to Bruce about Western Stars movie and about Bruce's interest in movies.

“When I wrote ‘Born to Run’ and ‘Darkness,’ I saw them as B-pictures,” Springsteen says. “If they worked really well, they were good ones, and the songs I was unhappy with were bad ones.”

He wanted both records “to have the breadth of cinema,” he says, “while at the same time remaining very, very personal for me. Those were the parameters of what I was imagining at that particular moment. I was sort of using the contours and the shape of films and movies, while at the same time trying to find myself in my work. But the film-ness of my songs was never far from my mind.”...“It was just how you processed everything,” he continues. “As a teenager, you were looking for a dramatic life. Where is my dramatic life? As if things weren’t dramatic enough. And you were writing your own script in your head as you walked down the street. It was all just part of living at that time.”

Eventually, Springsteen formed his own canon of go-to movies, each of which has had an imprint on his records — Ford’s ambivalent Western epic “The Searchers,” noir classics “The Night of the Hunter” and “Out of the Past,” Scorsese’s “Mean Streets” and “Taxi Driver.”

curmudgeon, Saturday, 26 October 2019 17:16 (one month ago) link

also from that Washington Post article:

In the 1992 single “Better Days,” Springsteen sang about being “a rich man in a poor man’s shirt.” Today, in addition to the sprawling horse farm in New Jersey, he owns homes in Florida and Los Angeles, but still convincingly radiates man-of-the-people modesty, a contradiction he deflects by being the first person to call it an act. (“I made everything up!” he says at one point. “It’s a fascinating magic trick.”) Springsteen admits that he continues to find the notion of authenticity elusive, “knowing what a self-creation I was, and to some degree still am. But the strange thing of it all is that if you do it long enough, you start to become the thing that you pretended to be.”

curmudgeon, Saturday, 26 October 2019 17:18 (one month ago) link

I had no idea the movie was a movie-movie, theatrical. It just seems like such a misbegotten idea, a ruminative glimpse of his private life coming immediately on the the heels of his Broadway show (also a ruminative glimpse of his private life), which came right on the heals of his autobiography (another ruminative glimpse of his private life) tied to a modest but hardly superlative singer-songwriter record he's not supporting on the road. Having not seen said movie, it really seems like the sort of glorified EPK that should have come packaged with the deluxe edition of the album itself, sort of like those ... similarly ruminative docs including in the Born to Run, Darkness and River boxed sets.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 29 October 2019 02:34 (one month ago) link

such a misbegotten idea

the opening weekend box office agrees with you. i really liked the performances, even if bruce's voice seems a bit weathered for most of 'em. i walked out liking more songs from the album than i did walking in (and i quite like the album). the vignettes were like the broadway show without the humor. a lot of brucesplaining songs that already pretty much brucesplain themselves. i liked that patti got a lot of the spotlight. she and he sound really good together, which they did not on broadway.

record he's not supporting on the road

that's one of his stated reasons for making the movie, for what it's worth.

fact checking cuz, Tuesday, 29 October 2019 06:24 (one month ago) link

I did know that, but I guess it never really sank in that this is actually the first time he has not toured a record. Had he not just released the Broadway show on Netflix and flooded the up-close-with-Bruce market, I suppose something like this movie would have been a smart Netflix release instead.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 29 October 2019 11:10 (one month ago) link

so did anyone see that movie Blinded By the Light? Released too close to that Yesterday movie?

What are we going to see in Bruce's inevitable biopic?

maffew12, Tuesday, 29 October 2019 11:39 (one month ago) link


Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 29 October 2019 12:12 (one month ago) link

...and material re: sex in

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 29 October 2019 13:44 (one month ago) link

a lot of brucesplaining songs that already pretty much brucesplain themselves.

Yeah, this was really my main complaint. Bruce's songs so often have a central message or argument or moral that can be summed up in words, and I've always felt that was a bit of a weakness on its own. And this entire album already seemed to me to have a really obvious moral, so that while I liked some of the songs just fine, I also felt like I was being repeatedly bludgeoned by a Victorian cautionary tale about how not to live your life. So the last thing I needed was Bruce carefully explaining the moral of each song in between performances.

The vagueness of it bothered me too. I liked the vignette that introduced Sundown, where he told a story about going out to California for the first time because he'd just been dumped, but the rest was really - not anchored by anything specific. I assume that's because the subtext of this album is his marriage, and he doesn't want to give any details about that, but all this vaguebooking just kind of misses what made the Broadway show and the book so good.

i walked out liking more songs from the album than i did walking in

So did I, actually - "Chasing Wild Horses" in particular. Yours was a much more measured and thoughtful response to the movie than mine.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 29 October 2019 16:48 (one month ago) link

“Straight Time” on Tom Joad is pretty slept-on. Pitch black. Thought if it with the time change and “darkness before dinner comes / Sometimes I can feel the itch.”

... (Eazy), Monday, 4 November 2019 23:36 (one month ago) link

That's a good one. I think I like all of Bruce's songs about being tempted away from a happy marriage by the call of Something Else.

The Tom Joad song that really gets to me, though, is Highway 29. It makes me feel all cold inside.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 5 November 2019 01:07 (one month ago) link

A review at the time mentioned it, but the Tom Joad characters often end up dying or falling asleep or just in some floating state between the two by the song’s end.

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 5 November 2019 01:53 (one month ago) link

Just listened to "Straight Time" again; I agree it's very good. Hadn't thought about the ending much, but there's something so haunting about that last line, that false sense of escape. Reminds me, in a way, of the end of Child Bride, which might be my favorite Dark Bruce song. "I imagine I put on my jacket/go down to a little roadside bar/pick a stranger and spin around the dance floor/ to a Mexican guitar."

Lily Dale, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 19:37 (one month ago) link

oh and speaking of straight time, there's an article in the Nation about Springsteen as queer icon:

Lily Dale, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 19:53 (one month ago) link

highway 29 is a masterpiece

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 6 November 2019 21:21 (one month ago) link

It's brilliant but I find I can't listen to it more than once every three months or so. It chills me in a way that even the darkest songs on Nebraska don't. Makes me feel like I can't move or breathe.

Lily Dale, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 23:00 (one month ago) link

three weeks pass...

Didn't realize until today that Spotify has a soundtrack to the movie that's all of Western Stars live plus a cover of "Rhinestone Cowboy."

... (Eazy), Monday, 2 December 2019 19:51 (one week ago) link


Meanwhile, not very specific announcement of a full E Street Band Australian tour at the end of the year. (I think he said he is recording a band album this fall.) That more or less guarantees a US band tour in 2021.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 2 December 2019 20:06 (one week ago) link

oh hell yeah. I will gas up the CAAAAAAARRRRRRR

maffew12, Thursday, 5 December 2019 12:57 (one week ago) link

I'm sure Steely Dan will be touring, too.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 5 December 2019 13:01 (one week ago) link


someone made a correction post, just "car" in another thread. Coming here was all I could do to keep from screaming it out of context. I know you all will understand.

maffew12, Thursday, 5 December 2019 13:30 (one week ago) link

In quiet moments as I go about my day I keep finding myself trying to figure out how many Bruce songs actually involve sex in a CAAAAAARRRRRR (as opposed to sex in a dark room with the door locked and a sense of existential malaise lurking just outside)

Lily Dale, Thursday, 5 December 2019 20:49 (one week ago) link

well, y'know, is there any difference?

maffew12, Thursday, 5 December 2019 21:28 (one week ago) link

The door's open but the ride ain't free, y'all.

they see me lollin' (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 5 December 2019 22:41 (one week ago) link

you might have to wipe your fingers on a texaco road map, if you know what i mean and i think you do.

fact checking cuz, Friday, 6 December 2019 04:28 (one week ago) link

Oh Wanda...

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 6 December 2019 04:56 (one week ago) link

I think you guys are conflating Springsteen lyrics with, like, AC/DC lyrics.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 6 December 2019 12:59 (one week ago) link

if only anything came cheap in this world

maffew12, Friday, 6 December 2019 13:12 (one week ago) link

(except hearts)

maffew12, Saturday, 7 December 2019 13:06 (one week ago) link

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