1. Tuesday, July 30, 2002

    today is the official bruce springsteen hype day 

    Bruce Springsteen and for that i reluctantly jump on the bandwagon because i love bruce, even now as he is losing his magic.

    bruce hasn’t released a complete album since 1984s “born in the usa,” but it’s cool. even that record was produced so poppy and sappy that i cant even really listen to much of it, and i don’t know the last time i played it all the way through. fortunaely super strong songs like “im on fire” “bobby jean” and “no surrender” still hold up big time for me and remain classics. and i would love it if he would rerecord “dancing in the dark” darkly.

    and even though its so cliche to say, what i really love is his older stuff like “darkness on the edge of town” and “nebraska”.

    “born to run” is almost like staring into the sun, tunes like “jungleland” and “meeting across the river” are a little too much nowadays, but “shes the one” and “backstreets” still give me a chill.

    and “thunder road” remains one of the few songs that ive happily committed to memory after long drives on the freeway in the dark singing to myself.

    “a screen door slams, mary’s dress waves… and like a vision she dances across the porch as a radio plays… roy orbison singing for the lonely.. hey that’s me and i want you only…”

    “the river” is the first record that got me into the boss. i was a kid listening to the rock and roll station when he released that one to much hype and i heard “point blank” on the fm and it nearly blew my mind. this was when songs like “another one bites the dust” was being played when billy squire’s “stroke me” wasn’t on. so when hilburn goes on and on about the gritty stark production of the river, he forgets that bare bones was in. springsteen had the hard core lyrics and earnest delivery. huge difference.

    “greetings” and “the wild, the innocent, and the e street shuffle” are gems that i keep in a special place. totally fun, happy records that i never tire of.

    post-born in the usa the only record that i really liked was “live 75-85” which did a decent job of capturing the live shows, which, of course, are impossible to bottle. a friend of mine once said that seeing springsteen was like going to a really great baseball game. its big, loud, everyone’s happy, and you don’t need a scorecard to recognize all the players.

    later she would say that seeing U2 was like going to a great church.

    lately springsteen’s shows have been a little too much like church: somber, forced, ritualized, predictable, fewer and fewer spontaneous miracles, little cleansing after the service, attendance because we “should” not because we’re dying to.

    but the boss is back with his old band. he’s back with his wife, his pals, his fans, and all the hype that he deserves. he’s an american icon, like it or not. he’s been the poet laureate of rock who keeps getting his ass kicked by the poet laureate of folk.

    in a perfect world, bruce would ask me to produce his new record and i would say, first thing i want you to do is throw out any song that john cougar or tom petty could do better than you. next thing i want you to do is write this next record like its your last record, and not in a sentimental way, but in a way that will resonate for generations to come. live up to the hype, bro. bring back the passion of “mean streets” the fun of “rosalita” and the passion of “im on fire”. i’ll let you do one folk tune, but it’s got to be as good as “johnny 99” or “atlantic city” but lots of people have to die in the song and it has to be set in the old west.

    i want to hear clarence blow the horn, not doodle. i want him to compete against the guitars, not provide ambience. i want to hear nils do a guitar solo that makes me think, ok, that’s why you have four guitars on stage. i want to feel the might of the mighty max weinberg. i want to hear a song that i will be forced to memorize again.

    these are the demands, i am sure, that weigh heavy on the shoulders of the patron saint of asbury park, but i wouldn’t ask these things if i didn’t think he was capable of achieving them.

    wanna see the bruce springsteen that i think of when i had his poster over my bed for 10 years? go rent “no nukes” and watch how he played guitar on his back atop the grand piano. i know he’s older now. but he’s not aged. neil young sure as hell proves that you can rock with gray in your hair.

    rarely do i buy cds any more from the store, but today i will buy the rising, and im sure i will be disappointed and im sure that i will not want to hear the stories of the tragedy of 9/11 that bruce allegedly based a lot of this new material around.

    but it’s cool. the boss doesn’t need my $15 but he deserves it. and any time he puts out new music i’ll be right there searching for even a nugget of those magically rocking past glory days.

    celebrating: the engagement of coulter and heather.