Bruce Springsteen - Classic or Dud ?

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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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Anyway: classic, though not a personal favorite.

DeRayMi, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:31 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

So will I.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:23 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Meat Loaf almost makes me want to like him.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I didn't need to ask ;)

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

All is well. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 05:21 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

alext (alext), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 11:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i agree with ally about Rosalita

H (Heruy), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 12:02 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Come on everybody: get with the magnificent TUNNEL OF LOVE

the ponefix, Wednesday, 20 November 2002 13:33 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I like his synth-pop. "Born In The U.S.A.," "I'm On Fire," "Dancing In The Dark," "Brilliant Disguise," "Streets Of Philadelphia" stuff like that. He tends to lay off the anus-clenched fifteen-syllables-in-room-for-ten horrid "rock poetry" on those numbers. That said, the lyrics on "The Rising" are categorically his worst ever. His fame peaked with Born In The U.S.A because that's his best album.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 16:26 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Nebraska is perfect, obviously. My favorite Bruce songs otherwise: Rosalita, Racing in the Street, I'm On Fire, Tenth Avenue Freeze Out and Hungry Heart.

Yancey (ystrickler), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 16:47 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

what's 'faron young ' all about then tom ?

piscesboy, Wednesday, 20 November 2002 16:51 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The supposed false emotions and promises of country music radio - every other sentiment an antique"; "you offer infra-red instead of sun". He's looking for solace on the dial and not getting it. It's a marvellous but wrong song. Talking about it to the NME later he admitted he loved country now and that he'd been wrong about Faron.

Tom (Groke), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 17:05 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, new album is weak. Basically just an excuse for the live shows, though, which according to what I've heard remain wonderful.

Found this at the near start of the thread, dunno if Ned can be bothered to talk about it now:

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.

Odd, because Springsteen's own views are the exact opposite- he was always far less interested in The Beatles and The Rolling Stones than he was in Phil Spector and James Brown.

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 20:17 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I really like "Dancing in the Dark"

Kris (aqueduct), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 20:23 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Oh man, I forgot about I'm On Fire. That's an incredible song. Also, Daniel_Rf is OTM in terms of Bruce's influences; just listen to the production on Born to Run, Ned.

Though he always does look really tense and "real rock" when he performs.

It used to be such that every time I got drunk, the evening would end with me and a gentleman companion in the group deciding to put on Dancing in the Dark and imitating the Boss & Courteney Cox dance. This has thankfully not occured in a long time now.

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 20:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Odd, because Springsteen's own views are the exact opposite- he was always far less interested in The Beatles and The Rolling Stones than he was in Phil Spector and James Brown.

Ah, to explain my sense further -- there I wasn't referring to exact sound (I hope) so much as the role he seems to be in. I don't like universal idolatry, but personal, and so much around Bruce is "my god, the genius is among us all again! DO YOU SEE!" insistence that just makes me hate him even more. Like I said above in that quote, I don't get the sense that he believes that garbage (if he takes Dave Marsh at all seriously, though, that's a pisser).

And as for the music itself, a lot of people love Phil Spector and James Brown. In my mind, that doesn't give them a free pass for their own efforts. ;-)

My only realization about Bruce recently has been when I finally heard Bat Out of Hell and realized I loved that a hell of a lot more than any Springsteen I've heard.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 21:29 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Go" works. 15+ remixes = zesty.

Curtis Stephens, Wednesday, 20 November 2002 21:49 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

fuck, how did I get in this topic? I was in the dance singles thread!!! ah well, just ignore my post...

Curtis Stephens, Wednesday, 20 November 2002 21:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

This was my favorite comment on Springsteen :

"One of the things I was trying to convey in my rant was my displeasure with this reeky new trend that found rocknroll stars gill-netting for thematic blue-collar chub in the dank ol' eddies of crummy shit-jobs they'd left behind YEARS ago? if indeed ever. Great musicians didn't necessarily suck, but it might've helped if they had. Anything would've been better than listening to these poachers waft work odes from play stations.

But this wasn't even the true intent of my harangue. Those jabs at rock stars were just quills strewn along the spine of a much larger message. It had very little to do with Bob Seger or John Mellenfarm or Springsteen per se and everything to do with the lethargic concessions being made by workin' stiffs of my own ilk who wouldn't refuse deliverance on out-sourced interpretations of their own workaday milieu. As I suggested at the time, why entrust surrogates to serenade us on how tedious and deprived our lives were? Good GRIEF, couldn't we handle that ourselves?

My sentiments exactly. I grew up in an armpit very much like New Jersey. The last thing I wanted to hear when growing up was how I'm gonna die there just like my daddy or whatever. Plus, I think you could probably dance to Mellencamp, at least.

Kerry (dymaxia), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 22:49 (fourteen years ago) Permalink


man, Wednesday, 20 November 2002 22:52 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Hey Tom -- I saw "Thunder Road" on your Top 10 & I was wondering if you've heard the live version that starts off the 1975-1986 box set? Might not work if you're really in love w/ the bombast of the original, but Springsteeen does a solo reading at piano that I find very touching (Clarance adds some glockenspiel, if memory serves).

Mark (MarkR), Tuesday, 3 December 2002 12:14 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Oh and Tom, maybe explain how Andrew WK got you into Springsteen.

Mark (MarkR), Tuesday, 3 December 2002 12:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...
I am reviving this thread in honour of Darkness On The Edge Of Town. And Silvio!

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Tuesday, 17 December 2002 22:46 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I still find it interesting that someone who is supposedly down with the working class is nicknamed "The Boss". Mostly dud for me because I could never quite figure out what the big deal was. For me, he's interchangable with Bob Seger, the J. Geils Band, etc. - well-produced generic rock for midwest arenas. I was in high school when The River was released and I simply couldn't figure out why anyone would listen to it when they could listen to X's Los Angeles which accomplished more in one-third the time.

Yeah, Nebraska is a pretty OK album, but I recall at the time that it was more noteworthy as an advertisement for Tascam's portastudio than as any kind of artistic breakthrough.

Even so, I'll give him a "Get Out Of Dud Free" card for this, which I think is pretty goddamn cool.

Chris Barrus (xibalba), Tuesday, 17 December 2002 23:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Why do people who otherwise dislike Springsteen give "Nebraska" a pass?

Amateurist (amateurist), Tuesday, 17 December 2002 23:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...
I am listening to 'Born to Run' on the radio. It's such a good song. Except for the part where he describes himself as having 'velvet ribs' and 'engines'. Apart from that it's good. I like it how he says, 'Together Wendy we'll live through the madness', etc. Isn't it all too true? I just think that people who don't like Bruce Springsteen have never 'been there', you know.

maryann (maryann), Saturday, 22 November 2003 08:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

this thread only serves to prove that ned raggett is __________.

RJG (RJG), Saturday, 22 November 2003 10:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

dave marsh?

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Saturday, 22 November 2003 11:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink


sucka (sucka), Saturday, 22 November 2003 13:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Hey Maryann it's "velvet rims" which probably makes even less sense.

Mark (MarkR), Saturday, 22 November 2003 13:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I can't even believe this thread ever existed.

He could have quite after Born to Run and still be classic classic classic. That album is one of the great moments in pop music history, and a cultural icon (in the States at least).

Even if you don't like his music, he's still classic.

Debito (Debito), Saturday, 22 November 2003 16:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'd say he is mostly classic. He has had his dud moments (I have never been keen on his accoustic work), but he has several great albums behind him.

And it is about time people start liking "Born In The USA" again. Just because the album sold zillions doesn't make it a bad album.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Saturday, 22 November 2003 18:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Velvet rims is kind of worse and better, - it sounds even cornier but at least it's not like he suddenly goes from bewailing his alienation to boasting about his physique! Or actually, maybe he does.

maryann (maryann), Saturday, 22 November 2003 21:46 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I think Californians should look at it this way - Springsteen is the I-95 corridor/Eastern industrial states' Los Lobos. Don't begrudge us our tinge (though I like Los Lobos better myself).

Of course the adulation is typically overboard. But what do you expect for someone who has had, at least at moments, near-Madonna-level pop smarts and still gets content, even poetry, into his lyrics?

One of the differences between him and "heartland rock" - r&b. A greater proportion of it, at least. Who else (besides the aforementioned Californians) has had such a sound during the same period at remotely similar levels of popularity?

gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 22 November 2003 22:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Even so, I'll give him a "Get Out Of Dud Free" card for this, which I think is pretty goddamn cool.

but he loses that card for this, the final page of the aforementioned document, in which mr. springsteen proves he can't spell "asbury park."

fact checking cuz, Sunday, 23 November 2003 16:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

ballboy's cover of 'born in the usa' is an eye-opener, who knew the lyrics were so touching and mournful i always had the image of his bulging veins in my head but ballboy's tender version reveals the beauty of the song.

keith m (keithmcl), Sunday, 23 November 2003 16:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Why do people who otherwise dislike Springsteen give "Nebraska" a pass?

i otherwise kinda like springsteen, so perhaps i'm not the best to answer this, but i'd say his career mathematically boils down to this:

1. great singer
2. damn good songwriter (despite a huge drop-off in the '90s)
3. fair-to-average, overrated bar-band backing (playing mostly hackneyed arrangements)
4. poor production (i like "born to run" just fine, but after that it's just so completely lacking in punch and warmth i can't believe he's ever been lauded for it)

"nebraska" discards with (3) and (4), leaving him playing entirely to his strengths. and as it happens his songwriting hit a peak at the same time. i'd say it's far and away his best.

fact checking cuz, Sunday, 23 November 2003 17:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah...the occasional times BS has penned an essay or whatever he's seemed pretty capable as a writer

Best Beloved Trump-Pence (some dude), Sunday, 25 September 2016 22:28 (nine months ago) Permalink

this is the most excited i have been about a memoir in recent memory

i love his writing & i think he's a v good storyteller, just keen to see what sorta visual tapestry he weaves idk

Flamenco Drop (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 25 September 2016 23:19 (nine months ago) Permalink

Spoiler-free takeaway on that point from the Richard Ford review:

It helps that Springsteen can write — not just life-­imprinting song lyrics but good, solid prose that travels all the way to the right margin. I mean, you’d think a guy who wrote “Spanish Johnny drove in from the underworld last night / With bruised arms and broken rhythm and a beat-up old Buick . . .” could navigate his way around a complete and creditable American sentence. And you’d be right. Oh, there are a few gassy bits here and there, a jot too much couch-inspired hooey about the “terrain inside my own head.” A tad more rock ’n’ roll highfalutin than this reader really needs — though the Bruce enthusiasts down in Sea-Clift won’t agree with me. No way. But nothing in “Born to Run” rings to me as unmeant or punch-pulling. If anything, Springsteen wants credit for telling it the way it really is and was. And like a fabled Springsteen concert — always notable for its deck-clearing thoroughness — “Born to Run” achieves the sensation that all the relevant questions have been answered by the time the lights are turned out. He delivers the story of Bruce — in digestibly short chapters — via an informally steadfast Jersey plainspeak that’s worked and deftly detailed and intimate with its readers — cleareyed enough to say what it means when it has hard stories to tell, yet supple enough to rise to occasions requiring eloquence — sometimes rather pleasingly subsiding into the syntax and rhythms of a Bruce Springsteen song.

I liked in the Colbert interview how he described his songs as the blues during the verses and gospel during the chorus, and I thought that was a brilliant way of getting at why his music can be so anthemic. Hard times in the verses, transcendence, redemption, hope and escape in the choruses. "The Promised Land" is possibly the best example of this. In one verse he declares "take a knife and cut this pain from my heart" (one of the best lines of Bruce or any writer, ever), but by the chorus he still believes in a promised land.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 25 September 2016 23:29 (nine months ago) Permalink

Interesting. Must have missed that part of the Colbert interview.

Berberian Begins at Home (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 25 September 2016 23:50 (nine months ago) Permalink

Noticed recently that he tends to "borrow" song titles: "Party Lights," "Mansion on the Hill, "All Or Nothin' At All" to name three that come to mind, don't know how many more there are

half his catalog. quite possibly literally half his catalog. it's one of his basic songwriting tools.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 26 September 2016 04:18 (nine months ago) Permalink

I always think Tenth Avenue Freeze Out means not being able to crossover from NJ to NY, as 10th avenue is one of the western most streets in the city.

more likely, it's where the band used to rehearse in the early days: corner of 10th avenue and -- drum roll -- e street in belmar, new jersey.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 26 September 2016 04:20 (nine months ago) Permalink

I always like to sing it as "Tenth Avenue Freak Out" and imagine the song is about the E Street Band having a bad acid trip.

Al Moon Faced Poon (Moodles), Monday, 26 September 2016 04:41 (nine months ago) Permalink

I figured it was about his favorite ice cream vendor.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 26 September 2016 04:53 (nine months ago) Permalink

Wonder what Jonathan Schwartz thought about "Dancing in the Dark"?

Berberian Begins at Home (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 27 September 2016 17:36 (nine months ago) Permalink

Bought my copy at lunchtime & read the first chapter...he's the best, basically <3

Flamenco Drop (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 27 September 2016 20:22 (nine months ago) Permalink

I read the R Ford review and whoever did the NYT daily review, that's as far as i go unless he discusses John Ford movies much in the book.

i lol'd that he didn't drive until "well into his 20s" tho

The Hon. J. Piedmont Mumblethunder (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 27 September 2016 20:25 (nine months ago) Permalink

v weird family setup, parents & grandparents shared a house but his grandmother basically annexed him as her son as soon as he was born & spoiled him rotten & his parents begrudgingly rolled with it. his parents moved him out with them when he started school but it was almost too late he spent most of his childhood thinking of his grandmother as his mom

Flamenco Drop (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 27 September 2016 20:30 (nine months ago) Permalink

Bought my copy but am trying to finish something else before I start.

Berberian Begins at Home (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:32 (nine months ago) Permalink

Presumably some of those pre-signed copies are going to turn up on eBay when the book tour is over, I'm planning to spring for one of those as long as the price isn't too outrageous.

heaven parker (anagram), Wednesday, 28 September 2016 07:41 (nine months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Good evening! It's an honor to be here with President and Mrs. Obama, President Clinton and Chelsea, and if we all do our part tomorrow, President-elect Clinton.

The choice tomorrow couldn't be any clearer. Hillary's candidacy is based on intelligence, experience, preparation, and on an actual vision of an America where everyone counts: men and women, white and black, Hispanic and Native, where folks of all faiths and backgrounds can come together to address our problems in a reasonable and thoughtful way.

That vision of America is essential to sustain, no matter how difficult its realization.

Hillary sees an America where the issue of income distribution should be at the forefront of our national conversation, where the progress we've made in reducing our unemployment is not enough — we must do better. She has a vision of universal health care for all that will build on the work of President Obama. She sees an America that needs to be fairer, where our highest courts look to protect the rights of all of our citizens and not just the privileged. She sees an America where the issue of immigration reform is dealt with realistically and compassionately. And she calls for an America that participates in the welfare of our planet — both in world affairs and in global science — and where the unfinished business of protecting the rights of women is not an afterthought, but a priority.

That's the country where we wil indeed be stronger together.

Now, briefly, to address her opponent: this is a man whose vision is limited to little beyond himself, who has a profound lack of decency that would allow him to prioritize his own interests and ego before American democracy itself. Somebody who'd be willing to damage our long-cherished and admired system rather than look to himself for the reasons behind his own epic failure. That's unforgivable. Tomorrow that campaign is going down.

Let's all do our part so we can look back at 2016 and say we stood with Hillary Clinton on the right side of history. That's why I'm standing here with you tonight, for the dream of a better America.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 8 November 2016 05:50 (eight months ago) Permalink

His "Dancing in the Dark" tonight reminded me a lot of late-period Nick Lowe: direct and almost disengaged, highlighting the lyrics and the melody.

who even are those other cats (Eazy), Tuesday, 8 November 2016 05:55 (eight months ago) Permalink

five months pass...

i n f i n i t y (∞), Tuesday, 25 April 2017 01:21 (two months ago) Permalink

His protest song with Joe Grushecky is about as generic as they come, but I'm happy he did it anyway.

Reminds me a bit of ... a corny Zevon?

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 03:38 (two months ago) Permalink

Worth it for comments like

UN AMERICAN PRICK BRUCE SPINGSTEen👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼😤😤😤😤😤😤😤😤

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 03:39 (two months ago) Permalink

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