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' 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 (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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen 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 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

So will I.

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

Meat Loaf almost makes me want to like him.

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

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

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

I didn't need to ask ;)

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

All is well. ;-)

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

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

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

i agree with ally about Rosalita

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


Come on everybody: get with the magnificent TUNNEL OF LOVE

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

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

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

I really like "Dancing in the Dark"

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

"Go" works. 15+ remixes = zesty.

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

BOTH!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dave marsh?

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

Classic.

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

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

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

i hate almost everything about tracks and as a general rule i find his outtakes to sound distinctly like ... outtakes. i think he's a really good editor and selector of his own material, and i therefore think he has put out exactly the correct amount of albums, especially during that long initial run of consistent greatness.

(i've always wondered, on the other hand, what he might have produced if he wrote/recorded/worked more in the '90s. but he was raising his kids, and if that's what he most wanted to, um, produce, more power to him for that.)

fact checking cuz, Saturday, 23 September 2017 12:14 (three months ago) Permalink

The Ghost of Tom Joad is really good even though its kinda Nebraska Revisited

Well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Saturday, 23 September 2017 12:22 (three months ago) Permalink

Well, if Human Touch and Lucky Town are any indication...

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Saturday, 23 September 2017 12:22 (three months ago) Permalink

Those albums have the odd good tune in fairness. The title tracks of both are great. Came out in the grunge era and Bruce just felt redundant at the time

Well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Saturday, 23 September 2017 12:25 (three months ago) Permalink

I do like Tunnel of Love, though!

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Saturday, 23 September 2017 12:26 (three months ago) Permalink

it took me a long long long time to come around to tunnel of love but yeah it's pretty damn great. the title track of human touch is way up there in my bruce pantheon but the mediocrity ratio is pretty high on that one and lucky town. i've always penalized ghost of tom joad for not being nebraska, which is #1 bruce for me.

fact checking cuz, Saturday, 23 September 2017 13:22 (three months ago) Permalink

Always preferred the Fun Boy Three "Tunnel of Love" myself, but maybe it is time to give this one another listen.

Merry-Go-Sorry Somehow (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 23 September 2017 14:30 (three months ago) Permalink

So many lovely songs on Lucky Town. Like

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0lUziFlU7E

Or:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5spsKjK7j4

So simple, yet so Springsteen. I think it's the performances/production that ultimately lets the songs down on these albums.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 23 September 2017 14:33 (three months ago) Permalink

Ghost of Tom Joad is amazing, has a very eerie feel to it

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 23 September 2017 14:48 (three months ago) Permalink

I think that's a very good example of an album perhaps unfairly underrated for not being something it never tried to be (Nebraska II). But that period was absolutely essential for his rebirth as Mythic Bruce. The 90s albums (and band) just rubbed people the wrong way. Then Bruce comes back with "Tom Joad" (and with a goatee), a spare reboot, and embarks on a really important and very personal solo tour that allowed him to reconnect with his catalog and fans unencumbered by band and baggage. That tour also, iirc, showed how funny and colorful he could be, which is ironic, given that it hinged on such a not funny album. Either way, right after that reboot he restarts the E Street Band and things turn around. I forget when he apparently started treating his depression, but it might have been around this period, too.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 23 September 2017 15:55 (three months ago) Permalink

i fully acknowledge that my "sorry tom joad, but you're no nebraska" prejudice is unfair. but i can't help hearing it that way.

fact checking cuz, Saturday, 23 September 2017 17:10 (three months ago) Permalink

Well, it's no "Nebraska" ! But I think a lot of its attributes came out during the subsequent tour and the "Devils & Dust" solo tour. Which was awesome, and introduced spooky surprises like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4WKYtS4JDk

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 23 September 2017 17:12 (three months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Rehearsing “Cuts Like A Knife” with its author:

https://instagram.com/p/BZsyFysgQc5/

Eazy, Friday, 13 October 2017 03:04 (three months ago) Permalink

I think that may be the only Bryan Adams song he knows. He covered it several years back for a benefit, too.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 13 October 2017 12:11 (three months ago) Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZZgzF0g9lU

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 13 October 2017 12:17 (three months ago) Permalink

Anyone got tickets for the Broadway run? Sounds incredible:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/oct/13/bruce-springsteen-review-walter-kerr-theatre-broadway-new-york

heaven parker (anagram), Friday, 13 October 2017 12:24 (three months ago) Permalink

Hmm. I'm sure it's great, but I don't know about that. Like I noted earlier, he's done solo tours before, behind Devils & Dust and Tom Joad, each with stories, jokes, one-offs, impulsive setlists. This is a set setlist, apparently, with scripted bits from his book and elsewhere. Again, I'm sure it's good, he's an incredible performer, but not sure how this is necessarily better than the aforementioned. If it makes him and others happy ...

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 13 October 2017 12:36 (three months ago) Permalink

True, but I think it's possible to overemphasize how unscripted those earlier solo concerts were. Knowing Springsteen's approach to stagecraft, I'm pretty sure that the stories and jokes in those were fairly well rehearsed. Plus, the review I linked to above makes the point that the bits from the book take on a new life when performed. Finally, this theatre is a lot smaller than any place he played on the D&D/TJ tours, so it'd be worth seeing for that reason alone. Not that I've got tickets...

heaven parker (anagram), Friday, 13 October 2017 14:43 (three months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Earlier in his career, the skinny, junk-food eating star would become so exhausted that trainer, Phil Dunphy, once claimed “they used to have to carry him offstage”.

fuck you, your hat is horrible (Neanderthal), Thursday, 23 November 2017 19:15 (one month ago) Permalink


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