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 (sixteen 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 (sixteen 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 (sixteen 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 (sixteen 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 (sixteen 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 (sixteen years ago) link

So will I.

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

Meat Loaf almost makes me want to like him.

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

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

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

I didn't need to ask ;)

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

All is well. ;-)

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

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

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


A figure in green haunted my dream
Maybe a man, maybe a lady
My sister heard a siren scream
Gypsy said "that was your maybe"

Rhonda was stuck in between
Blood in the mist out by the beach
Vanished behind a smokestack screen
The cops arrived, she was out of reach

Saint Buffy (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:13 (six days ago) link

[unintelligible moaning]

Lily Dale, Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:17 (six days ago) link


Saint Buffy (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:19 (six days ago) link


All right!

Lily Dale, Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:22 (six days ago) link

Keep it rockin' boys!

Saint Buffy (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:23 (six days ago) link

How are you all doing these without using the word "sir"?

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:40 (six days ago) link

Sex In The Car, Sir

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:42 (six days ago) link

<Nils does a dance on a trampoline>

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:43 (six days ago) link

Out from under the shadows of the pulasky skyway
Speeding past the Sbarro sign at the Walt Whitman rest area
We can ride this turnpike all night but the ride ain't free
just tell me what exit and I'll punch your ticket baby

― longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, October 10, 2019 12:42 PM (one hour ago) bookmarkflaglink

I feel like it should actually be "Burnin' past the Sbarro sign..."

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:47 (six days ago) link

Fair point, it's not really Springsteen unless something's on fire.

Lily Dale, Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:54 (six days ago) link

or he gave away the g's

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:55 (six days ago) link

I put those g's in Sir Sbarro's sign, honey, and then I torched it

maffew12, Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:56 (six days ago) link

And she said "Honey you should know by now that pizza's no good!"
as she lit a cigarette and flicked the ashes on my hood

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 10 October 2019 19:01 (six days ago) link

Another American job lost to high tech outsourcing

maffew12, Thursday, 10 October 2019 19:03 (six days ago) link

Saw her in the Sbarro's by the dynamo
Just a-twirlin' that pizza dough

Lily Dale, Thursday, 10 October 2019 19:40 (six days ago) link

The bar band there was hopping
I got lost in Rhonda's world
Redemption was the topping
As the pizza slowly twirled

Saint Buffy (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 10 October 2019 19:55 (six days ago) link

They closed down the Sbarro's 'cross the railroad track
Ralph went out looking for pizza and never came back

Lily Dale, Thursday, 10 October 2019 20:10 (six days ago) link

Everybody knows a hungry Ralph

maffew12, Thursday, 10 October 2019 20:38 (six days ago) link

Meet me tonight at Panera Bread

... (Eazy), Thursday, 10 October 2019 20:56 (six days ago) link

no dude that's mark kozelek

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 10 October 2019 21:03 (six days ago) link

his songs are even easier to parody because he pretty much writes them as parodies of their own style to begin with

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 10 October 2019 21:03 (six days ago) link

I had to listen to "The Promise" earlier - Bruce's most self-referential song? That 2-disc lost album sort of thing they put out with the Darkness box is nice, but the 3 year gap (lawsuit-imposed?) between Born to Run and Darkness probably did him a lot of good in the long run.

maffew12, Thursday, 10 October 2019 21:07 (six days ago) link


nickn, Thursday, 10 October 2019 21:16 (six days ago) link

That killed me because Bruce has never directly sang about sex, eh?


On Badlands: "Any given lyric in this song could be about overthrowing American capitalism or getting gloriously, generously rawed. Or both!"

maffew12, Thursday, 10 October 2019 21:23 (six days ago) link

Because The Night Belongs To Fuckers

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 10 October 2019 21:32 (six days ago) link

that list of horny springsteen songs is glaringly missing "candy's room."

and the ILM springsteen song is glaringly missing a river. or lake. or some body of water.

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 10 October 2019 21:34 (six days ago) link

good point.

We kiss, my heart's pumpin' to my brain
And the blood rushes in my veins, the fire rushes towards the skies
I go driving, driving deep into the night
I go driving deep into the light, in Candy's eyes

i'm gonna take a shower

maffew12, Thursday, 10 October 2019 21:42 (six days ago) link

There's that song on "Devils & Dust" about a prostitute in Reno that's about as explicit as Bruce has ever gotten, or for that matter could be.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 10 October 2019 23:08 (six days ago) link

my. goodness.

maffew12, Thursday, 10 October 2019 23:31 (six days ago) link

Lily Dale, Thursday, 10 October 2019 23:49 (six days ago) link

and the ILM springsteen song is glaringly missing a river. or lake. or some body of water.

It's also missing the part where he listens to the radio. We have so much work to do.

Lily Dale, Thursday, 10 October 2019 23:55 (six days ago) link

The buildup and release in the beginning of “somewhere in the night” was my first big OH WOW Bruce moment (outside of “tunnel of love” and certain BitUSA singles). Now I love all the classic stuff

brimstead, Friday, 11 October 2019 00:05 (five days ago) link

By the moonlit lake, there's a teenage punk
Jackin' off into a ball cap which is full of spunk
Meanwhile a Chevy roars across the bridge over the river
And the old faded mine worker does some more damage to his liver

Saint Buffy (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 11 October 2019 00:16 (five days ago) link

Willows weep and hangdogs creep like barflies crawling down the street
While the lights from the swamps glow bright with high pomp for the girls we're trying to meet
The wheels on the car spin fast to go far from the places we want to escape
But the draw of the dump smells strong of gas pumps and we all pass out from the heat

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 11 October 2019 00:27 (five days ago) link


Saint Buffy (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 11 October 2019 00:32 (five days ago) link

"Pink Cadillac" also belongs on the list of horny songs. I love that Springsteen wrote a song about a black Cadillac and a song about a pink Cadillac, and the black Cadillac is a metaphor for death and the pink Cadillac is a metaphor for vaginas. That is some sophisticated symbolism right there.

Lily Dale, Friday, 11 October 2019 01:01 (five days ago) link

I was thinking about adding a verse about driving Dow. To philly with a girl from basking ridge and stopping on the way to make it under the Trenton makes bridge.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 11 October 2019 02:33 (five days ago) link

I don't know, that sounds a bit too happy. Better throw in a state trooper or two.

Lily Dale, Friday, 11 October 2019 05:51 (five days ago) link

Red Headed Woman from the Not Unplugged album is pretty frisky:

Listen up stud, your life's been wasted
till ya got down on your knees and tasted
a red headed woman, a red headed woman
it takes a red headed woman to get a dirty job done

Tight skirt, strawberry hair
tell me what you got baby waitin under there
big green eyes that look like, son
they can see every cheap thing that you've ever done

Well I don't know how many girls you dated man
but you ain't lived till you had your tires rotated
by a red headed woman, a red headed woman
it takes a red headed woman to get a dirty job done

Cow_Art, Friday, 11 October 2019 09:41 (five days ago) link

That's one I always try to forget ever happened. Bruce in couch-jumping mode. I'm glad you enjoy going down on your wife, Bruce, but please stop writing songs about it.

"Secret Garden" is fairly explicit too - "she'll let you in her mouth/ if the words you say are right" - and I don't much like that one either. I feel like something happened to his way of writing about sex when he got married, where he's more explicit but also more self-conscious and awkward about it.

Lily Dale, Friday, 11 October 2019 15:33 (five days ago) link

Speaking of horny Bruce, this performance of the e.street shuffle was a bit startling.

Lily Dale, Friday, 11 October 2019 20:58 (five days ago) link

He's on Graham Norton, along with Robert DeNiro.

That's a chat show lineup!

Mark G, Friday, 11 October 2019 22:28 (five days ago) link

Latest official live archive release is 10/23/99, in Los Angeles, a show that changed up a lot of the reunion set (for example, nothing from BitUSA!). I saw a chunk of reunion tours, and each time I remember telling the person I was with, man, he is so incredible it's hard to believe that in '98/'99 he was about 20 years past his '78 peak as a performer, when he was even better. And of course we are now another 20 years past him being 20 years past his peak ... and he was still pretty good on the 2016 tour!

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 13 October 2019 19:32 (three days ago) link

Josh in Chicago, can you explain something to me? Why is it, exactly, that '78 is generally agreed to be his peak? I have only videos to go on, and I think his '78 performances are amazing, but I can't quite see what makes them so much better than the River tour or the Born in the USA tour.

Lily Dale, Monday, 14 October 2019 06:48 (two days ago) link

smaller venues

van dyke parks generator (anagram), Monday, 14 October 2019 06:50 (two days ago) link

It's a good question. Keeping in mind that he's really never been *bad*, and just about every show I've ever heard from, say, '74 to the Tunnel of Love Express tour (and beyond, tbh) has been pretty great, I'd say a few factors were at work. Yeah, smaller venues for sure, but Bruce also still had something to prove, at least to some degree. Born to Run made him a critic's darling, and the covers of Time and Newsweek introduced him to a wider audience, so expectations were pretty high. The tour also followed the infamous lawsuit that kept him out of the studio for a few years, time Bruce and the band (still probably breaking in new additions Max and Roy and, post-BtR, Steve) largely spent touring and woodshedding. When the suit was finally settled Bruce was at last free to record Darkness, whose sessions were fraught but whose material was A+, and also marked a shift to a more-direct sound, away from BtR's cinematic fanfares. Not only did all the live versions of songs like "Badlands" and "Prove It All Night" absolutely top their recorded counterparts, Bruce also had a pile of live-only sure-fires like "Fire" and "Because the Night" and even "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" that he busted out, plus the occasional early appearance of "River" songs like "Independence Day" and "Point Blank." And yet his well of songs was not yet so deep that you were still more or less guaranteed to hear many of your old favorites, and his shows were punctuated with some great storytelling, too, which he later had less room for.

So there's all that, imo. Then there was also the still somewhat novel proliferation of bootlegs, and shows like the Roxy, Passaic/Capital Theater and Winterland not only made the rounds, but Roxy and Winterland were so revered (and well recorded) they even made up a chunk of his official Live 1975-85 set (albeit sometimes in edited form). So between the live recordings official and otherwise, many of the shows on the '78 tour were essentially canonized as part of his catalog.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 14 October 2019 13:32 (two days ago) link

That show in the Darkness box is phenomenal. Love that recording of "The Ties That Bind," even though the intro is a little rocky. Did Bruce play much 12-string electric onstage other than that song/show?

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 14 October 2019 13:53 (two days ago) link

There's not much footage of Bruce playing anything but a Tele on stage (as far as electrics go). There might be something I'm forgetting, but from memory the only other 12-string stuff from that "River" era is from some versions of "The Price You Pay" and the outtake "Loose Ends." Maybe he thought 12-string was a little on the nose?

In recent years it's usually Steve who gets the Rickenbacker or White Falcon or mandolin or whatever. Even Nils I want to say largely sticks with one guitar, his Jazzmaster, though he occasionally gets in some Dobro or lap steel.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 14 October 2019 14:43 (two days ago) link

Ok, thanks, that makes sense. It sounds like it's as much about the venues and the songs, and, like, the whole context of the tour as it is about the performances.

If someone showed up in a time machine today and offered me a ride to the Springsteen tour of my choice, I think I'd be pretty torn. I do love all the interplay with the audience in the '78 shows, and how the energy is so high but it all feels a little rough around the edges still. And it's great to see him all young and lithe, before he decided to encase himself in muscle. But so many of my favorite songs came a little later. Darkness is actually pretty low on my list of favorite Bruce albums, though I do think almost everything on it sounds better live.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 03:26 (yesterday) link

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