Song of the day – 450: Bruce Springsteen (+ bonus album review)
My head’s in a weird place right now. Feels like I’m about to make the worst decision of my life, and it’s already out of my hands.
Stress. No sleep. Ill. Stress.
Albums I wish I liked more, part 30: anything post-70s by Bruce Springsteen. Wouldn’t it be nice to view yourself like that: rugged, blue collar, son of a steel worker, loyal, the backbone of America, fucking MALE, in tune with the storytelling tradition of your community? I’m a little older than you. If only I was a little less unrelenting, Bruce could be my Robert Smith, my Morrissey, my dude from Arcade Fire … anything male that trades in anthems and emotions and GREAT BIG FUCKING GREAT BIG FUCKING CHORUSES. I wish I liked his albums as much as I do Young Marble Giants or No Mas Bodas, say. Then maybe I could fucking fit in.
The opening song from his new album Wrecking Ball, starts off like it believes it’s ‘Born To Run’ reinvented for the 105th time. Sure. Isn’t that what half the indie bands from America been trying to do since Sub Pop decided aesthetic values had bugger all to do with turning a profit? Check the title. ‘We Take Care Of Our Own’. Great fuckin’ title for the first song on the new album from Mr Union Man. It’s the musical equivalent of shock and awe.
(If I sound bitter and jealous, it’s because I am.)
Dice tumble off my speaker as the bass thuds out. Snake eyes. It means nothing, signifies less.
Back in the 80s, the NME thought it’d be a laugh to send me to the premiere of a film shot from the viewpoint of Bruce’s drummer. Man, what a great myth-builder. Son of a working man. How much more artisan do you want to get than the drummer … unless it’s the black man, the saxophonist? Bruce truly is a man of the people. Sure, I buy into it. Why not? If Wrecking Ball was a film, it would star Tom Hanks as the ex-Marine returning to find his home town torn asunder by economics, and it’d be as irritating as all hell. But it’s not. It’s an album. And Bruce can sure construct the fuck out of a song.
This one, for example, is like Blur’s gospel number (‘Tender’) amplified a thousand.
This one, for example, obviates the need for Woody Guthrie or Billy Bragg.
‘Jack Of All Trades’ is the killer cut, though.
It could be a Tom Waits cut (listen close if you don’t believe me). It’s not. It’s by Bruce Springsteen. It could have been written by committee, the way all bases are covered. It wasn’t. It’s by Bruce Springsteen.
It’s a thin between sounding authentic and sounding like you’re writing the music for a future Levi’s advert, don’t you think?