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Bruce Springsteen Corner

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Posted

Been listening to the new Springsteen and want to comment. The lead track We Take Care of Our Own is the song that the political spin doctors on both sides tried to turn Born In the USA into years ago, a straightforward and engaging flag waver with a little bit of exhorting us to do even better. It sounded great on the Grammys and will sound great on the radio if I happen to flip one on. Born in the USA happens to be both a more conflicted song and a greater one.

The only place it could possibly have in the album Wrecking Ball is right where it is as opening track. The remaining songs form a sin to salvation song cycle that is tightly and intelligently constructed with bits of foreshadowing. My first impression was that no Bruce album had as much musical variety since David Sancious left the band after album two. You could look at "Own" as an overture to draw listeners in, but it does stand on its own out front. From there Bruce's protagonist has his lady put on her red dress and grabs his hat and gun looking for easy money. In the next song the singer is in prison at hard labor and sounds at home there, with a bit of third party preaching at the end giving us a hint of things to come. Now we meet a humble working man prepared to care for his own with sheer effort, but by the end of the song we learn that he too has thoughts of violence toward those who have contributed to his troubles.

Death to My Hometown rails at corporate greed to the tune of an irish jig. My Depression leans on the love of a woman to get the singer through the emotional difficulties that have followed from the economic ones. Then the title track finds the inner strength to stand up to the world and taunt it. In this context the amorous pursuit of the next song "You've Got it" also comes across as a regaining of strength. Then comes the keystone of the album, Bruce's purest statement of religious feeling ever, Rocky Ground. I'm not a churchgoer, but this tale of faith in the face of great challenges is both beautiful and inspiring. This can't help but contextualize the next song, "Land of Hope and Dreams" as a rousing gospel shout. Then Bruce joins three ghosts in a field for the finale, a gently sung celebration of eternal life.

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Posted

Hey great analysis of the record which I haven't read anywhere else. I like it a lot but find a couple of tracks over-produced.

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Posted

He's touring with a 17-piece band now. Maybe that plays into the "over-production" of the album.

I saw him in Austin, and it was such a rousing show that the songs almost didn't matter. Not being familiar with most of the new tunes, I preferred the old stuff, though. Will have to get the new album and give it some time, for sure.

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Posted

I grew up in NJ and still live here. I could never understand what all the excitement was about. :shrug[1]:

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Posted

Same here. My favorite album was his second one. After that, well... the charm just eluded me. One big problem is with his melodies - pretty primitive, don't really go anywhere.

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Posted

I grew up in NJ and still live here. I could never understand what all the excitement was about. :shrug[1]:

I like to think I'm fairly open-minded about music and have a well-rounded appreciation for the most part, but I gotta say I don't understand Bruce at all. I've tried multiple albums over the years, but it's like fingernails on chalkboard to me. "Born To Run" especially, that song makes me want to stab my eardrums with a screwdriver.

But that's just me...if other people dig it, that's great.

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Posted

Not a huge fan myself, but was happy to be able to see him up close in a relatively small venue. He doesn't bother me, but I don't get the intense adoration, either.

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Posted

If more of his songs were like this, I'd be more of a fan:

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Posted

My wife likes Bruce Springsteen. 'Nuff sed.

MG

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Posted

Huge fan here who's seen him many times live, but other than "Wrecking Ball" I haven't heard the new album yet. My biggest gripe as well is the overproduction of the last few albums - but I hate to be that guy who always harps on how much better an artist was "back then."

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Posted

I'm one of those "back then" guys. I lost interest in him with "The River". Give me the early, raw and hungry Bruce.

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Posted

I've never been a fan. Hard-pressed to say why other than I just have never heard anything that "drew me in." My favorite version of "Born in the USA" is by Stanley Clarke.

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Posted

Spirit in the Night is a great song. The first two albums have several tracks which I'm pretty sure "swing" in the jazz sense and very little since then does, but I consider middle period Springsteen as great but quite different. The energy and effort level in his concerts is enough to convert some listeners who didn't "get it" after album listening only.

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Posted

Second best concert I ever saw was Bruce in 1976. (Best ever was Ellington band on his birthday in 1964.)

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Posted

I am a fan, although, like many others, I have trouble staying with his more recent albums. Tunnel of Love was the last one that really got me.

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Posted

Austin - 3/15/12

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