Brutal and honest analysis on Bruce Springsteen

http://starling.rinet.ru/music/bruce.htm

Here are a few abstracts:

  • Bruce is a very local phenomenon. […] Frankly speaking, I don’t know anything about how much Bruce Springsteen is popular outside of the good old United States.
  • Springsteen appeared in the States at a time when someone like Springsteen simply had to appear. The intellectual American public in the mid-Seventies had all the ‘intellectual’ progressive bands to speak up for them (mainly imported ones, of course); the elitist underground public had its New York Dolls and John Cale and what-not; the raunchy public had its Kiss and its Aerosmith. But what about the working class people, particularly those who weren’t entirely satisfied with generic “Southern rock crapola”? People who were so utterly miserable and never had their spokesman who would go one step above singing about beer and booze and “tuesday’s gone with the wind”? This was a gold mine, a niche yet untouched: somebody had to be the plain simple guy who don’t care ’bout no freakin’ intellectuals but who thinks rather highly of himself anyway to listen to Kiss. And then Bruce emerged.
  • Let us cut the crap at once: Springsteen was NOT about the music (with a few notable exceptions, as usual – ‘The E Street Shuffle’ comes to mind immediately, but then again, Dylan did have his ‘Wigwam Boogie’, too!). Or maybe he was, but not more so than, say, Leonard Cohen. About the only musical innovation he could lay claim to was the incorporation of (occasionally annoying, occasionally uplifting) saxophones into the already existing “big band music”, and even that wasn’t so hot by 1973 after the jazz-rock revolution. No, Bruce was a singer-songwriter, a spokesman, a poet, a word-wielder: his music was never supposed to be anything but an accompaniment to his poetic vision. Only where Cohen’s vision was quiet and humble and definitely introspective, thus requiring accordingly humble, soft arrangements, Bruce’s vision was grandiose and required grandiose, multi-layered music. Subtlety was never Bruce’s weapon – at least, not openly. He roars and he screams, he bashes the shit out of his guitar, he requires pompous piano and sax overdubs, thundering drums: he’s making his statement LOUDLY. But it’s, after all, only a statement. You’ll never see Bruce without a guitar, but his guitar is just a part of his image, together with the hairy armpits, the sweaty singlet, the dirty torn jeans, and the mini-Rambo muscles. The Sincere Working Man’s portrait.
  • Serious rock’n’roll, as I see it, has mostly been about rebellion or about desperation, i. e. its two main mottos are ‘we gotta get out of this place’ or ‘there ain’t no way out’, depending on your current state of mind. But Bruce is not really a rebel or a pessimist; he was never thinking of changing the world. He’s a typical conformist, and what he usually says – compacted in a very rough, but essentially exact manner, I feel – is this: ‘You think you are miserable, Mr Working Guy? Well then, take a look around you and find out that life as you can know it is beautiful. You were born to run, you were born in the USA, your life is in your hands. Why sit there and complain when you can mount that bike, grab that girl, breathe in the night air and see romance and loftiness in even the ugliest things. And if you think your life is too simple, you are deeply mistaken – there are problems deep inside yourself you’re not even aware of, but all of them can be easily solved if you want. And if you think your life is dull and meaningless, you couldn’t be more wrong. Your life is magic, pure magic and mystics. There’s so much about it that you don’t usually pay attention to. With just a little twist of your mind (and a little injection of my songs), your dull everyday life turns into a never-ending thrilling journey on an endless romantic highway! You’re a hero, you’re unique, you can be a superman if you wish. Just follow my advice.’
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