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 (twenty 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 (twenty 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 (twenty years ago) link

BROOOOCE!

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 (twenty 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.

N.

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

CLASSIC.

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 (twenty 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 (twenty 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 (twenty 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 (twenty years ago) link

"Nevermind he has out Dylan-ed Dylan"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robin Carmody, Friday, 2 March 2001 01:00 (twenty 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 it...like 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 (twenty 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).

Classics:

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 (twenty 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' 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 (twenty 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 (twenty 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 (nineteen 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 (nineteen 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 (nineteen years ago) link

Anyway: classic, though not a personal favorite.

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

So will I.

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

Meat Loaf almost makes me want to like him.

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

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

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

I didn't need to ask ;)

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

All is well. ;-)

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

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

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

Curious now to see the Jewel piece :)

The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Saturday, 11 September 2021 16:41 (two weeks ago) link

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/a-search-for-truth-about-jewel-233904/

At the house, I strip the guest bed of its myriad pillows and leave Jewel alone to talk with her mother in the kitchen. As I lie under the covers flipping, through a glossy color picture book of Alaska, Jewel walks in wearing a green zipper sweatshirt and either sweat pants or cotton pants, I can’t remember which, and gets under the covers with me. She lies on her left side, I on my right. Between our heads is a large pillow, which blocks part of her face. We keep pushing the pillow down as we talk so we can see each other completely and feel more intimate. But we know the pillow can never be removed completely: That would be too intimate.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 11 September 2021 16:52 (two weeks ago) link

Holy shit

The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Saturday, 11 September 2021 16:59 (two weeks ago) link

JEWEL: HOT, READY, AND ALASKAN!

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 11 September 2021 17:03 (two weeks ago) link

Hahahaha, omg that is so ridiculous

C’mon Neil, were they cotton pants or sweatpants — I demand every detail of this rockcrit fantasy!

tumblin’ dice outro (morrisp), Saturday, 11 September 2021 17:38 (two weeks ago) link

She's always crazy like that

maf you one two (maffew12), Saturday, 11 September 2021 17:47 (two weeks ago) link

“Dear Wenner Forum: I always thought the letters you print were made up, and never believed anything like that would happen to me. Now I’m sure a believer! Last week started out like any other week in my unremarkable job as an interviewer of rock stars and other celebrities…”

tumblin’ dice outro (morrisp), Saturday, 11 September 2021 17:51 (two weeks ago) link

C’mon Neil, were they cotton pants or sweatpants — I demand every detail of this rockcrit fantasy!

― tumblin’ dice outro (morrisp),

Yeah, that made me laugh too

The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Saturday, 11 September 2021 17:59 (two weeks ago) link

that's absurd. but what a great Springsteen interview. I hadn't read that one before. that "other people's fingerprints" thing is amazing, what a phrase.

The funny thing is that Nebraska has fingerprints all over it. Not quite the kind of fingerprints he's talking about here, but Springsteen wears his influences so much on the surface, you can easily listen to it and go "oh, here's Flannery O'Connor, here's Hank Williams, here's Suicide." And yet it doesn't keep the record from sounding like something totally original and distinctive. Of course that's a combo of influences you wouldn't find anywhere else.

Lily Dale, Saturday, 11 September 2021 18:27 (two weeks ago) link

I think I've mentioned it before, but I once audited a lecture/class taught by Steve Earle that, over the course of a week, tracked the progression of Hank Williams to Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen and, ultimately, to Earle himself.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 11 September 2021 18:33 (two weeks ago) link

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/a-search-for-truth-about-jewel-233904/

LMAO

I think I've mentioned it before, but I once audited a lecture/class taught by Steve Earle that, over the course of a week, tracked the progression of Hank Williams to Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen and, ultimately, to Earle himself.

That's awesome! Where was this?

birdistheword, Saturday, 11 September 2021 20:09 (two weeks ago) link

Old Town School of Folk Music here.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 11 September 2021 20:26 (two weeks ago) link

Man, I miss that place. I used to live in Lincoln Square, my last home in Chicago before I left Illinois.

birdistheword, Saturday, 11 September 2021 22:03 (two weeks ago) link

Ha, I used to live in Lincoln Square, too. I recently saw a Google Maps photo of the Old Town School of Folk Music location, which is now…an empty lot. But then, the 400-square-foot “rear cottage” I used to live in is now a multi-story condo complex, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 11 September 2021 22:50 (two weeks ago) link

It still exists! But now it's a big multi-space complex.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 11 September 2021 23:21 (two weeks ago) link

I keep thinking some Christmas season I should write "Bruce Springsteen song or It's a Wonderful Life?" and send it to McSweeney's.

Lily Dale, Wednesday, 22 September 2021 13:37 (six days ago) link

"Bruce Springsteen song or Sandwich."

1. Born to Run
2. BLT
3. Turkey Club
4. Thunder Road
5. Grilled Cheese
6. Atlantic City
7. PBJ
8. The Price You Pay
9. The Promised Land
10. Reuben
11. Rosalita
12. Muffaletta

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 22 September 2021 13:49 (six days ago) link

13. Torta of Love

Richard Marxist (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 22 September 2021 13:56 (six days ago) link

14. I'm on Rye

Richard Marxist (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 22 September 2021 13:59 (six days ago) link

That Stephen King one is actually pretty clever - see the key on the bottom, they are all real references (if often vague enough to be easy to generate)

Lavator Shemmelpennick, Wednesday, 22 September 2021 14:12 (six days ago) link

Ha, didn’t have time to study it or even get to the key but yeah.

I, the Jukebox Jury (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 22 September 2021 14:14 (six days ago) link

15. Marbleland

maf you one two (maffew12), Wednesday, 22 September 2021 14:21 (six days ago) link

16. Devils and Crust

Richard Marxist (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 22 September 2021 14:23 (six days ago) link

17. Land of Hope and Pretzels

maf you one two (maffew12), Wednesday, 22 September 2021 14:25 (six days ago) link

19. Jungleham

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 22 September 2021 14:31 (six days ago) link

20. Adam Raisin au Pain

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 22 September 2021 14:34 (six days ago) link

21. Used Carbs

Richard Marxist (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 22 September 2021 14:44 (six days ago) link

incident on foccacia

maf you one two (maffew12), Thursday, 23 September 2021 00:27 (five days ago) link

It's a Wonderful Life or a Bruce Springsteen song, here you go:

1.As a child, you watched your father being humiliated by someone richer and more powerful than him and swore that would never happen to you.

2.You feel a lifelong compulsion to help out your baby brother, even though he never does anything for you.

3.Your brother went off to war. You stayed home.

4.You feel trapped in this miserable little town and you’re going to get out, do great things, and take Mary with you.

5.You and Mary got married too young, and let’s face it, you’re not all that happy anymore.

6.You got Mary pregnant, and man, that was all she wrote.

7.You’re basically an honest guy, but when someone close to you commits a crime, you automatically cover for them.

8.The slow death of all your dreams has turned you into a seething mass of barely-controlled rage.

9.Overcome by the general crappiness of your life, you decide to drown yourself. You’re contemplating the water temperature when Clarence shows up and saves your life.*

*Technically this last one is a "Growin' Up" story rather than a song, but close enough.

Lily Dale, Thursday, 23 September 2021 00:38 (five days ago) link

the answer is...yes?

maf you one two (maffew12), Thursday, 23 September 2021 00:39 (five days ago) link

i love this

maf you one two (maffew12), Thursday, 23 September 2021 00:39 (five days ago) link

as far as I can tell, the answer to every McSweeney's "x or y" list is yes

Lily Dale, Thursday, 23 September 2021 00:40 (five days ago) link

i see now the conceit

maf you one two (maffew12), Thursday, 23 September 2021 00:41 (five days ago) link

I told my students that Bruce is my favorite singer and showed them a picture of him, bc I thought we'd bond more if they had something to make fun of me about. Mentioned offhand that today is his birthday (I was speaking French and birthday is a word they know) and for some reason they got all excited about that and crowded around one student's computer to look up this info and verify it. Middle schoolers are funny.

Lily Dale, Thursday, 23 September 2021 23:06 (five days ago) link

Now that I think about it, I don't think I knew any of my teachers' musical tastes up to middle school with the exception of the music teachers: IIRC, they were fans of Lionel Richie and Bobby McFerrin. May help explain why I never got excited about music classes.

birdistheword, Thursday, 23 September 2021 23:31 (five days ago) link

ooh la la, la chef

maf you one two (maffew12), Friday, 24 September 2021 01:24 (four days ago) link

le chef. dammit. i only have the compulsory Canadian 4 years, I'm sorry

maf you one two (maffew12), Friday, 24 September 2021 01:26 (four days ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDc5j0gpG3I

Thought the thread might enjoy this clip. I caught this on Twitter and started watching the show. It's ok. They could use the capoiera fighting alpaca a bit more.

maf you one two (maffew12), Saturday, 25 September 2021 13:40 (three days ago) link

"Bruce Springsteen song or Sandwich."

very belated xp: omg I just had a business idea so good it probably already exists. Local Hero, a Jersey-based sandwich shop using all ingredients sourced from local farms, including Bruce's.

Lily Dale, Saturday, 25 September 2021 17:36 (three days ago) link

Do you think if we got Jon Landau's blessing on the name Bruce would show up at our grand opening and pose like that with our signature sandwich?

Lily Dale, Saturday, 25 September 2021 18:18 (three days ago) link

if we survive the signature sandwich debate

maf you one two (maffew12), Saturday, 25 September 2021 18:33 (three days ago) link

70 year old man eats hot dog: details at 11

calstars, Saturday, 25 September 2021 18:39 (three days ago) link

Glory Dogs

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 25 September 2021 18:49 (three days ago) link

We go down to the WC

calstars, Saturday, 25 September 2021 18:51 (three days ago) link

Blew up the men’s room at Subway last night

... (Eazy), Saturday, 25 September 2021 23:10 (three days ago) link

lol

calstars, Saturday, 25 September 2021 23:15 (three days ago) link

So despite my Springsteen obsession there are still quite a few of his middle/late albums that I haven't listened to all the way through because the idea of them depresses me. But I listened to the Late Era podcast about Human Touch/Lucky Town - which I really enjoyed - and it inspired me to finally listen to both of them. I knew people thought of Lucky Town as much better than Human Touch, and I think I was sort of dubious about that because I figured they were probably both bad. But yeah, I agree. Human Touch is pretty much trash imo. 57 Channels isn't that bad for what it is, and "Cross My Heart" is listenable, but yeah, this album sucks.

Lucky Town, on the other hand - it's a much better album, but if Bruce had suppressed HT and only released this one, and I had been around to buy it at the time, I think I would still have been intensely disappointed. Because this strikes me as a decent album by the Springsteen that we have now, the artist who's still talented, still works hard, but is just a much lesser artist than the guy who put out the first eight albums. If Springsteen put out an album like Lucky Town right now, it would get nice reviews and everyone would be pretty happy with it, because we don't expect BitUSA from him anymore. Following Tunnel of Love, though? It would have been a huge shock to the system even without Human Touch dragging it down.

Random thoughts:

Local Hero is my favorite song from Lucky Town by a lot. The tone is tricky but I think he gets it just right; it doesn't strike me as self-involved or self-pitying, just as an honest assessment of the pull of fame and the costs of it.

I wish Bruce would stop writing songs that sound exactly like Book of Dreams; it wasn't good the first time.

I know Tracks so much better than this album that I've come to think of the Tracks songs as the "real" versions; it's weird to hear lines from "Gave it a Name" in "The Big Muddy" and realize that at some point Bruce decided "The Big Muddy" was better and more deserving of being on an album than "Gave it a Name."

I probably have more thoughts but I've had a migraine all day and I should go to bed. Migraines muddy my thinking so anything else I wrote would come out garbled anyway.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 28 September 2021 04:59 (six hours ago) link

I like Lucky Town too - it's a good album. I'm a little reluctant to combine it with Human Touch for a variety of reasons, but I think Jimmy Guterman had a pretty solid proposal, which was to add the title track "Human Touch" while dropping "Leap of Faith" (my least favorite cut). Some re-sequencing may be needed to make it work - maybe open with "Human Touch" and open side B with "Better Days"? - but I think it works.

I actually like "Book of Dreams" - I love how it fits into that flow of songs, it shores up the album thematically for me.

I have nothing against "The Big Muddy," but I do love "Gave It a Name"...I was surprised by this though:

While working on the box set, Bruce was unable to locate the master tape for GAVE IT A NAME, so he re-recorded the song with Roy Bittan on 24 Aug 1998 at Thrill Hill Recording (Springsteen's home studio) in Colts Neck, NJ, and hence, the song was the only track recorded from scratch specially for Tracks. The original recording probably took place in Dec 1990 or Jan 1991.

I'm not sure how different the original outtake would be, but the re-recording is a gem on its own.

birdistheword, Tuesday, 28 September 2021 05:11 (six hours ago) link


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