Rain On the ScarePOLL - The John Mellencamp "Scarecrow" Poll

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I never want to hear "R.O.C.K in the U.S.A." again (or even "Lonely Ol' Night"), but the album tracks are solid, and "Rain On the Scarecrow" (period) is a great song, period. I often think I'll take Mellencamp's band at its peak over the E Streeters and the Heartbreakers.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
"Rain on the Scarecrow" (Mellencamp, George M. Green) – 3:46 9
"Lonely Ol' Night" – 3:45 5
"Small Town" – 3:41 2
"Minutes to Memories" (Mellencamp, Green) – 4:11 2
"Rumbleseat" – 2:58 1
"Justice and Independence '85" – 3:32 1
"The Face of the Nation" – 3:13 0
"Between a Laugh and a Tear" – 4:32 0
"Grandma's Theme" (traditional) – 0:56 0
"You've Got to Stand for Somethin'" – 4:32 0
"R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (A Salute to '60s Rock)" – 2:54 0
"The Kind of Fella I Am" (cassette and CD only)^ – 2:55 0


I'm crossing over into enterprise (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 28 April 2009 00:19 (nine years ago) Permalink

For a long time I would've said "Minutes to Memories," but "Lonely Ol' Night" is such a fine pop song.

Eazy, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 01:06 (nine years ago) Permalink

Title track -- for the drums, mainly. (Though it's a great song too.) Second place "Small Town," easy (which should maybe be first.) Third place way tougher, but off the top of my head maybe "Rumbleseat."

xhuxk, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 01:22 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Rumbleseat" over the title song. "Rumbleseat" is lyrically incomprehensible to me (has been since 1985 or whenever) but damn does it swagger. Van Halen's "Finish What Ya Started" was an inferior remake a few years later.

Euler, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 01:25 (nine years ago) Permalink

For a long time I would've said "Minutes to Memories," but "Lonely Ol' Night" is such a fine pop song.

― Eazy, Monday, April 27, 2009 6:06 PM (32 minutes ago)

It's one of these two for me. Was just playing "Minutes To Memories" on the ol' gitfiddle the other night. Good times.

butt-rock miyagi (rogermexico.), Tuesday, 28 April 2009 01:40 (nine years ago) Permalink

I said Small Town, but could have gone Lonely Ol Night.

Mark, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 01:50 (nine years ago) Permalink

"justice and independence '85" -- worst lyrics on the record (and it's not really much of a lyrics record to start with), but my favorite kenny aronoff groove and the bridge is great: "roll a rock across the country..."

would you ask tom petty that? (tipsy mothra), Tuesday, 28 April 2009 03:03 (nine years ago) Permalink

(and even though i have a lot of fondness for this album, i think it's on the overrated side. of my 5 favorite john c. mellancamp singles, this album has none of them. of my 10 favorite i think only "lonely ol' night" sneaks in.)

would you ask tom petty that? (tipsy mothra), Tuesday, 28 April 2009 03:07 (nine years ago) Permalink

(and yes i realize i misspelled mellencamp. why couldn't he stick with cougar?)

would you ask tom petty that? (tipsy mothra), Tuesday, 28 April 2009 03:08 (nine years ago) Permalink

What's your favorite? Consensus centers around The Lonesome Jubilee, I guess.

That two-disc comp released in 2004 has both too much stuff but lots of forgotten minor singles from the eighties; it's the only Coug I need, really.

I'm crossing over into enterprise (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 28 April 2009 03:10 (nine years ago) Permalink

toss-up between lonesome jubilee and uh-huh i guess, but for me he's mostly a singles guy. well, except that i voted for an album track here. so i guess, a singles-plus guy. a box-set guy. does he have a box-set? i guess he must.

would you ask tom petty that? (tipsy mothra), Tuesday, 28 April 2009 03:21 (nine years ago) Permalink

looks like he's working on it.

would you ask tom petty that? (tipsy mothra), Tuesday, 28 April 2009 03:22 (nine years ago) Permalink

My favorite is American Fool.

No way could a a comp of his '80s stuff come close to doing him justice. But I could see a use for a couple 10-song best-ofs, one of '70s stuff and one of '90s stuff. (And by "90s" I mean "starting in 1989 after Lonesome Jubilee," and by "70s" I mean "ending before John Cougar in 1979.")

'79-'87 he may well be the best album artist there was.

xhuxk, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 03:24 (nine years ago) Permalink

Fuck a box set, though.

xhuxk, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 03:25 (nine years ago) Permalink

(By "'90s" I also mean "including '00s", I guess. The '70s one could include both sides of his Gulcher single.)

xhuxk, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 03:26 (nine years ago) Permalink

lonesome jubilee + human wheels. even though xhuxk hates it that may be his strongest rekd front-to-back imo

butt-rock miyagi (rogermexico.), Tuesday, 28 April 2009 03:49 (nine years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Sunday, 3 May 2009 23:02 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Rain on the Scarecrow"

Alex in NYC, Sunday, 3 May 2009 23:13 (nine years ago) Permalink

Blood on the Plow

Mark, Sunday, 3 May 2009 23:18 (nine years ago) Permalink

Lonely Ol' Night.

That song is absolutely perfect. It sounds like God himself is playing drums. And that killer last bit: "She calls me baby, she calls everybody baby. it's a lonely ol' night, but ain't they all."

One of my favorite songs by anyone. If you haven't heard it in awhile, go back and listen to those drums. Holy mackadoley!

kornrulez6969, Monday, 4 May 2009 00:44 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Rain on the Scarecrow" is really the only song of the man's I've ever liked.

Alex in NYC, Monday, 4 May 2009 01:40 (nine years ago) Permalink

Blood on the Plow

Mark, Monday, 4 May 2009 01:50 (nine years ago) Permalink

Rain on the scarecrow.

I'm crossing over into enterprise (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 4 May 2009 02:26 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Rain on the Scarecrow" is really the only song of the man's I've ever liked.

It's certainly the only song from this album I'd ever want to hear again.

Daniel, Esq., Monday, 4 May 2009 02:27 (nine years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Monday, 4 May 2009 23:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

Yay!

Alex in NYC, Monday, 4 May 2009 23:41 (nine years ago) Permalink

The right song won. Rumbleseat might have actually been my second choice. Totally forgot about that song.

Daniel, Esq., Monday, 4 May 2009 23:59 (nine years ago) Permalink

"R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (A Salute to '60s Rock)"

I wonder why this is the only song with the helpful parenthetical. None of the other songs are as easy to figure out from the title.

Mark, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 01:03 (nine years ago) Permalink

five years pass...

I remember this poll happening, so I'm surprised to scroll through and find I never participated in it. Every track on this album is a keeper, but I'm particularly fond of Rumbleseat today. Those big washes of tremolo-y guitar during the solo sections are perfect, but the whole song is really a fine distillation of Mellencamp's craft in that era.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 22:24 (four years ago) Permalink

"R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (A Salute to '60s Rock)" is so damn overplayed.

Forgot I started this poll.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 28 May 2014 22:29 (four years ago) Permalink

btw I assume "Rain on the Scarecrow" and "Rumbleseat" got more airplay -- MTV and otherwise -- than their middling chart positions suggest.

I guess Mellencamp has no New Jerseys in his catalog? Uh-Huh looked like it might be: two top tens but the album a relative failure beside its predecessor. But Scarecrow was massive: five singles, a steady sales presence through summer '86, his second best selling album.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 28 May 2014 22:32 (four years ago) Permalink

Someone ought to record "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (A Salute to '90s Rock)" in the style of Soul Asylum or something and namedrop a lot of awful songs and bands. At least Cougs had better content to write lyrics about.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 22:33 (four years ago) Permalink

btw, the overplayed single from Scarecrow is Small Town. It's running a way higher burnout risk than R.O.C.K. imo.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 22:36 (four years ago) Permalink

uh-huh is his best album! it was genuinely massive also, i can remember 'authority song' cleaned up at mtv's friday night fights jukebox jury type show, plus 'pink houses' for crying out loud (mtv gave away a pink house!). dude was pretty ridiculously huge from american fool thru lonesome jubilee, i might vaguely argue lonesome jubilee as his new jersey in that there's maybe some inertia helping it (it's the album after that lets you know if an album was a new jersey) but i think it did too well and 'earned' too much of its success (then again i don't really think new jersey is a new jersey). i'm not sure if any of those big 80s albums have 'gone away' enough for them to come close to qualifying - still hear 'pink houses', 'small town', 'cherry bomb' w/ some regularity. big daddy could've been his new jersey but didn't manage to become a big enough hit, in any case i haven't heard 'pop singer' in forever. another thing that has ime seemingly disappeared surprisingly, esp considering i still hear 'wild night' and 'key west intermezzo' and 'just another day', is 'human wheels'; absolutely massive at the time and suggesting he might be more like tom petty than bruce springsteen in terms of figuring how to navigate the 90s, i couldn't tell you the last time i heard it. this might just be my experience though.

balls, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 22:56 (four years ago) Permalink

(mtv gave away a pink house!)

...that happened to be adjacent to a toxic waste dump.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:03 (four years ago) Permalink

lol was it? Not surprised.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:07 (four years ago) Permalink

The first one they bought was, so they bought another to give away. It's in the MTV oral history book.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:08 (four years ago) Permalink

i was pretty happy they devoted some time to the contests in that mtv oral history cuz it was such a thing back then.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eP0l-H4tAik

a garage full of hawaiian punch fruit punch

balls, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:08 (four years ago) Permalink

I still think that run from Whenever We Wanted through Dance Naked is some of his best work, and at the time it seemed like those albums just came out bang! bang! bang! (they did all arrive in a three year period). That marriage really inspired him it seems.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:09 (four years ago) Permalink

Pretty impressive that he was able to maintain success for about a decade after his absolute peak (which was way higher than I expected, sales-wise at least). But he kept putting out platinum records until '96, and was a presence on MTV/VH1 until around the same time.

intheblanks, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:09 (four years ago) Permalink

"Check It Out" was huge, as should it have been; Kenny Aaronoff's re-entrance is a wonder to behold.

(from the era when Aaronoff wasn't a terminally beak-wetting ham-fisted session shmoe)

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:11 (four years ago) Permalink

I have no recollection of Human Wheels being massive on any level: it charted high and disappeared. Dance Naked and "Wild Nights" is another story; the success of that song blocked the rest of the singles. And it holds up well! When I watched Me'shell at EMP last month I remembered what an estimable cover it was.

The Lonesome Jubilee did less well than Scarecrow but still rode the top ten for months and coughed up three singles, only one of which ("Cherry Bomb") we hear today, but it's the album that made Coop "respectable," right? Don't know anyone but Los Lobos doing riffs + fiddles + Kenny Aronoff in '87. Plus, he gave Lisa Germano her break.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:12 (four years ago) Permalink

and yeah "Key West Intermezzo" and its damn Junor Vasquez drum loops generated a shit ton of airplay well into '97.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:14 (four years ago) Permalink

I get why Cherry Bomb is the enduring single from Jubilee, but by rights it should've been Paper in Fire or Check It Out.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:14 (four years ago) Permalink

I'll admit I haven't heard any of his most recent albums because I grew to loathe "Our Country" when it was in a Chevy truck commercial every five minutes for a year or more.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:15 (four years ago) Permalink

was gonna say "Los Lobos didn't have Kenny Aronoff"

WWW's "Get a Leg Up" is one of his best singles. The guitars are fierce.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:15 (four years ago) Permalink

Ugh, forgot about that fucking Chevy ad. It was particularly annoying because Mellencamp had been previously been pretty vocal about never allowing any of his songs to be licensed for ads.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:19 (four years ago) Permalink

he started to become respectable w/ uh-huh, it was consolidated by lonesome jubilee (i might be revisionist on uh-huh there, i remember it placed highest in rolling stones decade end list, but it didn't place in pnj that year while scarecrow and lonesome jubilee placed pretty high). big daddy relatively flopped and he took what seemed like an insane amount of time (for him at least) off before whenever we wanted which felt like him reaching back to that american fool sound on his own terms (which reminds me i never hear 'get a leg up' anymore really). you might be right about 'human wheels' relative success, it charts high on mainstream rock chart but not on hot 100. we might have just heard it alot in athens cuz it sounded a little like rem (vs rem sounding a little like him about six or seven years prior).

balls, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:25 (four years ago) Permalink

Speaking of songs with great guitar playing on Whenever We Wanted, "Last Chance" is A+.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:26 (four years ago) Permalink

balls, I still think you're overstating Uh-Huh's success -- because the 'Pink Houses' campaign was so damn omnipresent? Check out his sales and chart positions. I mean, the first three Scarecrow singles charted progressively higher, and the album's timed with AF as best-seller.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 28 May 2014 23:28 (four years ago) Permalink

i can remember rolling stone putting him on the cover for this note's for you and thinking 'who the fuck is neil young?'

balls, Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:06 (four years ago) Permalink

Of course several dozen English/European/Aussie bands honored his legacy but I can't think of any major critics writing career-long essays or even obit-type stuff in the eighties. All I know is the (good) essay in the early nineties RS guide to rock.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:07 (four years ago) Permalink

Looking at Petty and Mellencamp, something interesting is that, chartwise, Petty never had a run like Mellencamp from American Fool to The Lonesome Jubilee, either in albums or singles. Yet Petty's greatest hits is diamond and sold three times as many copies as Mellencamp's.

intheblanks, Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:12 (four years ago) Permalink

As far as Bowie, his songs were never played on classic rock radio in my hometown. Totally the least scientific sample, obviously. Was Bowie on classic rock playlists, then or now? Definitely everyone else mentioned recently in this thread lived on in the classic rock format.

intheblanks, Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:13 (four years ago) Permalink

the rockinger stuff like suffragette city or jean genie was on classic rock

mookieproof, Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:16 (four years ago) Permalink

yes, though i think i hear him more now than then. 'space oddity', 'changes', 'ziggy stardust', 'fame', and 'golden years' all were standards, i'd hear 'young americans', 'suffragette city', 'jean genie', and 'rebel rebel' some as well.

balls, Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:17 (four years ago) Permalink

I didn't seriously get into Bowie until 1991, but I don't remember him being thought of as "uncool" at all. Fwiw, he never left "classic rock" playlists in Chicago.

I do remember hearing stories in 1993 or whenever of NIN fans leaving shows en masse before Bowie's set, leaving half-empty arenas, but don't know how true those were.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:18 (four years ago) Permalink

my AOR station played those ("Fame" excepted) and "Modern Love." I have a vague memory of "Day-In Day Out" getting play too but not recurrent

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:19 (four years ago) Permalink

I do remember hearing stories in 1993 or whenever of NIN fans leaving shows en masse before Bowie's set, leaving half-empty arenas, but don't know how true those were.

Partly true. SPIN awarded him Worst Comeback of the Year:

http://bowiesongs.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/outside-tour-the-nine-inch-nails-duets/

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:20 (four years ago) Permalink

Good to know. I suppose I'm not surprised that rural Illinois stations were avoiding Bowie, though now that I think about it I recall hearing "Fame" a couple of times.

intheblanks, Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:22 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah alot of nin fans weren't totally on board w/ bowie but alot of pearl jam fans weren't totally on board w/ neil young either. his brand was a hell of a lot cooler than it was in 1987.

balls, Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:22 (four years ago) Permalink

Reeves Gabrels described the audiences at the NIN/Bowie shows as a changing of the tribes. When NIN was playing, most of the Bowie fans were in the lobby; when Bowie was on, the NIN fans went to the lobby, or just left. So Bowie had keep up the momentum of the NIN sets or he’d soon face rows of empty seats. At times it didn’t work: only half the audience remained by the end of one Meadowlands show, and in Seattle “most of Bowie’s newer stuff left the crowd arm-crossingly bored,” Bogle wrote. Bowie tightened his performances, pushed his band. “We had to adjust emotionally to the fact that we were going to be challenged every night,” he said. “It did help me understand a certain aesthetic that was needed to do live performances in front of younger crowds.” Alford recalled to Marc Spitz that this tension is what “made it seem real for David…not knowing what the audience would do at the end of each song.”

The Outside tour generally got fair to poor reviews. Hearing the likes of “Voyeur of Utter Destruction” and “I’m Deranged” for the first time on stage, some reviewers found the new songs incoherent and unmemorable. The Philadelphia Inquirer: Charged with bringing life to his dim new works, Bowie looked like a stiff, robot-ish shell of his former self. This was…the sound of a lost soul, an artist so determined to position himself “ahead” of the culture that he’d neglected the basics. Like songwriting.” The New York Times: “His new songs are oddly made, as if designed to envelop the listener rather than to leave catchy memories…[Bowie] was trying to hold together songs that seemed to dissolve before they ended.”

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:23 (four years ago) Permalink

When the tour moved to the UK in November 1995, with Morrissey now (briefly) the opening act, Bowie’s fight against nostalgia grew more pitched, as he lacked the potential young converts the NIN gigs had brought him.4 Christopher Sandford, attending one of the Wembley gigs, recalled seeing businessmen in hospitality suites, drinking wine and networking, while a raving Bowie performed below them. Fans came dressed as Ziggy Stardust and Halloween Jack and got “Small Plot of Land” instead.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:24 (four years ago) Permalink

On a similar tip, I saw Cheap Trick open for the Smashing Pumpkins on the Adore tour and the crowd's reaction verged from bored and annoyed to outright hostile.

intheblanks, Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:24 (four years ago) Permalink

let's not forget this was all over radio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fregObNcHC8&feature=kp

in retrospect amazing we didn't get a big bowie tribute album

we did get the 50th birthday concert, which was also a careful piece of brand preservation

balls, Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:27 (four years ago) Permalink

Every clip I've seen of the Outside tour impressed me.

Guaranteed casual Bowie fan oh-well-let's-get-a-beer moment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT0d_-Po8OE

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 01:31 (four years ago) Permalink

Bruce definitely had a rough 90s

i think it's more like he sat out the '90s on purpose, though. if you count human touch and lucky town as one album, then between that and tom joad he released a grand total of two albums of new material in the decade, one with slim commercial prospects and one with none at all (plus the great "philadelphia," making it clear he still had it in him). he toured a lot less. presumably he spent a good deal of time in there raising his kids. then, his kids having gotten through the terrible twos more or less, he reunited his band and reinvented himself into the perpetually touring rock legend that he's been ever since, now trading largely off his past rather than his present, while also becoming more prolific in the studio than he'd ever been before. not a bad arc really. i would love for him to release his love & theft or his american recordings one of these days, though.

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 29 May 2014 03:12 (four years ago) Permalink

Did Cougs have any kids in the 90s? I know he had a heart attack, but he kept working like a motherfucker.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 29 May 2014 04:17 (four years ago) Permalink

@fcc I mean, it seems obvious in retrospect that HT/LT had slim commercial prospects, but did it feel that way at the time? It had 6 singles and 4 videos. I feel like those albums had a strong marketing push, but didn't connect because they were Springsteen's weakest works and he was maybe out of place in the early 90s music landscape.

Ghost of Tom Joad, on the other hand, definitely felt like a noncommercial move, with 1 single/video and a solo acoustic tour in smaller venues.

intheblanks, Thursday, 29 May 2014 14:29 (four years ago) Permalink

Bruce himself has said he lost his way in the 90s, in terms of coming up with a band sound that fits with the times. He definitely took himself out of it, but he was still hugely popular. I remember the long lines at Ticketmaster in NJ the day his 1999 E Street Reunion tour went on sale. That wasn't happening for anyone else.

I do wish we had a new guy in this style. The Springsteen/Seger/Petty/Mellencamp guy who writes hit songs.

kornrulez6969, Thursday, 29 May 2014 15:04 (four years ago) Permalink

that model's disappeared.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 15:08 (four years ago) Permalink

I know. It's been gone for 20+ years.

kornrulez6969, Thursday, 29 May 2014 15:24 (four years ago) Permalink

I'm with you kornrulez, but it also kind of feels like wishing for a big band jazz outfit who writes hit songs.

intheblanks, Thursday, 29 May 2014 15:29 (four years ago) Permalink

do you want the Squirrel Nut Zippers to hear you?

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 15:29 (four years ago) Permalink

haha

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 29 May 2014 15:53 (four years ago) Permalink

I do wish we had a new guy in this style. The Springsteen/Seger/Petty/Mellencamp guy who writes hit songs.

The guys you're looking for all live in Nashville now and wear dumb hats.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 29 May 2014 15:54 (four years ago) Permalink

lookin' bad, Tom

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 29 May 2014 16:56 (four years ago) Permalink

well, you guys aren't wrong. Miranda Lambert's recorded a series of Coug-esque rockers.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:05 (four years ago) Permalink

@fcc I mean, it seems obvious in retrospect that HT/LT had slim commercial prospects, but did it feel that way at the time? It had 6 singles and 4 videos. I feel like those albums had a strong marketing push, but didn't connect because they were Springsteen's weakest works and he was maybe out of place in the early 90s music landscape.

they did have a big marketing push, that's true, and he was still a megastar, but he was not the same megastar he had been seven or eight years earlier and it was fairly obvious, even at the time, which way his pendulum was swinging. he had waited five years to follow up tunnel of love, an album that was already quieter and smaller in both its sound and its impact than born in the usa. he pissed a lot of people by firing his band. he pissed some other people off by getting divorced and quickly remarrying. the pop landscape had changed, a lot, and in no way where either of the 1992 albums pop albums in any way that a 1992 pop audience would understand, and it seems clear to me that he and his people were very much aware of that, in real time. he launched his u.s. tour for the albums with a long run of shows in new jersey, most of which did not sell out. during the tour, he frequently joked about his age and about his disappearance from the pop charts. only two singles, both from human touch, charted in the u.s., one at #16 and one at #68. the #68 was "57 channels," which was a very strange-sounding song as bruce springsteen went, intentionally so i believe. i think, at least to some extent, he was consciously turning his back on a part of himself.

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:19 (four years ago) Permalink

Miami New Times wrote a sardonic account of that night's show; it took him to town for playing with L.A. geezers and working the crowd too damn hard for third-rate material.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:21 (four years ago) Permalink

working the crowd too damn hard for third-rate material

dude has always worked a crowd way too hard; that's part of his appeal. but, yeah, i think what once looked youthful and exuberant and loose was starting to look labored around that time, and laboring on behalf of material that doesn't reward the labor is always a chore.

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:32 (four years ago) Permalink

he pissed a lot of people by firing his band.

This was the big thing. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is a lot better than Bruce Springsteen and the LA Session Guys.

Also, the 90s alternative rock guys who were huge at the time didn't have a big Springsteen influence. There were no Cobain covers of Badlands.

kornrulez6969, Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:34 (four years ago) Permalink

lol i'm reminded of the bruce mcculloch joke - 'our love is like a bruce springsteen concert. it's not that great, it's really long, but wow! what energy!'

balls, Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:35 (four years ago) Permalink

I remember hearing Rage Against the Machine's cover of "The Ghost of Tom Joad" on some "alternative" station, and the dj smirked, "You guys would've never guessed; that song was originally done by (snicker) Bruce Springsteen! Remember that guy? Ugh!"

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:38 (four years ago) Permalink

there's still a certain segment of gen x that would be befuddled to find out springsteen became cool again

balls, Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:39 (four years ago) Permalink

and i can remember hearing dave grohl in an interview trash springsteen and the interviewer being kinda shocked and asking 'you don't like the boss?' and grohl responding 'who's boss? HE'S NOT MY BOSS!', it was the first of many clues that dave grohl is a tool. this wasn't long after the brief window when it looked like he might become tom petty's new drummer.

balls, Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:43 (four years ago) Permalink

I asked on one of the threads whether anyone – anywhere – has made a case for HT or LT as "better than you remember!" albums. At Stylus I dangled these treats in front of writers and no one bit.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:49 (four years ago) Permalink

"Ghost of Tom Joad" is a horrible song no matter who wrote it.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:53 (four years ago) Permalink

HT and LT could be condensed into a single album that's solid, but still weaker than Tunnel or Tom Joad.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:57 (four years ago) Permalink

"human touch" is a way better SINGLE than i originally thought. my impression when it came out was that it, along with much of the two albums, was self-parody, but today i'd rate it an A-plus springsteen single, and it remains one of my favorite springsteen live songs.

the albums as a whole still sound like parody to me, filled with rote arrangements and playing and way too much imagery of rivers and birds and other such stuff that makes me want to throw up onto my freshman poetry syllabus. but make it into a single album with "human touch," "living proof," "leap of faith," "if i should fall behind," "lucky town," "my beautiful reward" and a few others and it could be a mildly catchy document of the rock star approaching middle age.

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 29 May 2014 18:04 (four years ago) Permalink

His solo in "Human Touch" is solid.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 May 2014 19:06 (four years ago) Permalink

absolutely!

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 29 May 2014 19:19 (four years ago) Permalink

Yes. Always loved the song Human Touch.

kornrulez6969, Thursday, 29 May 2014 19:54 (four years ago) Permalink

Didn't get to vote in this, but the top 3 would have been mine as well. And I love the album cuts, too. "Minutes to Memories", "Between A Laugh and A Tear", "Face Of A Nation". I played this a lot in 1985.

jetfan, Friday, 30 May 2014 04:51 (four years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

Heard Minutes to Memories on the radio for the first time in probably 20 years today. Holy fuck is that a great song.

Prince Kajuku (Bill Magill), Sunday, 1 March 2015 06:06 (three years ago) Permalink

Fantastic discussion upthread about Springsteen.

So...if he'd released HT/LT in '90 instead of '92, would they and its singles have been better received? Would he have had a Rhythm of the Saints moment i.e. "solid return and acclaim and sales" or gone The Razor's Edge and A Night on the Town? I tend to think that if the latter had happened, we'd remember TOL as a genuine New Jersey.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 1 March 2015 14:36 (three years ago) Permalink

"rumbelseat" and "authority song" are about the only two post-1980 JCM songs that don't wear me out these days. and tbf the only pre-80 songs I can say for sure i know are "i need a lover" and "ain't even done with the night" but those are fucking dope k-classic all-timers imo

casual male (will), Sunday, 1 March 2015 16:27 (three years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

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