With news this week of Bruce Springsteen's upcoming album, Wrecking Ball, as well as a U.S. tour that will find him 'round Austin way for SXSW, we asked our resident old-days expert what he thought about the Boss' new stuff.
What do you think of the new Springsteen single, "We Take Care of Our Own"? First of all, good morning everyone. I'm fairly upset about this. Clearly, we are long from the days of "Mansion on the Hill." After a first listen, I whispered to myself, "Calm down, lad, you've just heard the one song." The heavy producing really sent me down the rabbit hole! It was like Phil Spector's ghost shit his signature cascading wall of sound all over the track. Producer Ron Aniello, you can leave the rhythmic claps and children's choir to Guster, which you also produced. Congratulations on your success, Ron, and for the work you did on Lifehouse. Geez.
One more thing: the writing. The line, "Where's the promise from sea to shining sea" sounded more like a contagiously bad line from U2's "Miracle Drug." "Freedom has a scent /Like the top of a new born baby's head." Ugh.
Do you think the song is an "American anthem"? Should it replace the National Anthem? I've been telling my friend Gus -- he lives out in the Puget Sound -- that performing the National Anthem is an "arcane act of American lunacy" for years. That's a direct quote from me, not Gus. Gus is too nice to say such things. Anyway, "Born to Run" is what should replace the National Anthem.
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Do you think he should have stopped making albums after Nebraska? God help me, yes. I'll make a one-time exception for "Streets of Philadelphia," due to the fact I own the pea coat he wore in that music video.
Is he still a "working-class hero"? The real working-class heroes are the garbage men. They're the ones who deal in the tuck and muck of the people on this planet. I salute them, and I'm sure the Boss did too back in his early days. This new brand of Bruce Springsteen rage songs? No, I'm not a fan.
Personally, I'll take the deafening optimism of "Into the Fire," off the post-9/11 album The Rising, which I thought was merely OK. Still, it would be shameful to not mention the epic anthem to New York, love and work that is "Jungleland." That song alone cancels out many transgressions.
Who should he collaborate with for street cred? I meandered over to Pitchfork a few evenings ago and heard this particularly fascinating band called "Akron/Family" (not sure if this an homage to some sort of math equation). They were good. Anyway, if I had my way, he'd collaborate with 1973 Elton John. You know, Tumbleweed Connection Elton John. Other than that, there's no one.