The biggest problem with having 53,747 tracks in my itunes library is that I often don’t pay attention to new material. I just keep on adding music, chasing the carrot. This state of denial is most heinous when my favorite bands sprout new material and all I do is give it the once over, assume it is nothing special and move on. It feels terrible to admit this truth.
Sometimes I get lucky and a reprieve is granted. This is the case with Bruce Springsteen’s latest album, Wrecking Ball. I discovered the other day that the new Springsteen album is a far deeper musical excursion into which ponders what is wrong with our country than I ever could have imagined, because to be honest I had not thought about it at all.
Now please, even if you hate Bruce Springsteen, give my meanderings a moment, because I too once hated the boss man.
When I was a teenager, I thought nothing of driving five or six hours to see the Grateful Dead, but at this same time Springsteen was tearing it up at the Stony Pony down in Asbury Park, a short distance away. Born To Run had recently come out and I thought it looked and sounded pretty lame. End of my interest in Bruce-dom.
Cut to thirty some odd years later and one of my closest friends finally gets me to go and see the aforementioned lame-o Springsteen, I felt like such a turd. For those of you that have seen Bruce live, there is nothing to say, for those of you that have not, it can be likened to few things outside of a religious experience. The last time I saw him he warned the crowd at the beginning that the following would happen.
“We are here to bring the joyous power of music and shoot it straight into your heart. We are here to send you home with your hands hurting, your feet hurting, your back aching, your voice gone, waking up in the morning and saying, What the fuck happened to me!”
By the end of the three hours plus event all had come true, but of course this was not my first Bruce show and I knew this was the case.
Regarding Wrecking Ball, I just plain didn’t pay attention to it until the media drove me back. There has been a lot of Bruce in the media recently and it has not been about his album as much as about his ethos. One particular video with Bruce convening with a group of journalist in Paris on topics such as his upbringing, his anger, his new album, really got me. (I would love to see an un-edited version of this interview. Backstreets.com has the full transcript posted here)
I felt bad that I have not given his latest album the respect it clearly deserves. I felt doubly bad that I never got around to watching the SXSW Keynote speech by Bruce that kept getting mentions all over the internet. It was not until the other day when my good friend and an official Springsteen super fan pushed a piece my way with the comment that it was really worth watching. Well last night I watched this video, from CNN no less about Bruce, his new album, his broken home, his anger and the methods by which he channels the current state of affairs in our country into his music. After watching the piece I was driven to listen to the album all day today. And you know what, it is not perfect, it may not be his best, but it is a really strong, intense and heart felt look and the totally dysfunctional world that has collapsed around us.
Bruce Springsteen Keynote Address Excerpt (SXSW 2012) from Columbia Records on Vimeo.