Bruce Springsteens Born in the USA (33 1/3)
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A reminder that there was a me in the past who would've been devoted to Parks and Rec or would've assumed an over-cooked New Yorker cover concept was "challenging". Anyway, I grew up. And I moved on. It wasn't. This flaw is the main reason the book didn't succeed for me.
The author seems to be pulling a "reverse contrarian" by proclaiming Born in the USA the best. Because those guys and gals are, in fact, kind of laughing at us. The Springsteen superfans. Calling us gullible or tone deaf, or much worse, blindly patriotic.
And that's IF these hipper-than-thou tastemakers even think about us. Maybe more of a momentary sneer in between rounds of "would you rather: thin white duke or ziggy? Tell you conspiratorially that Springsteen was on the right track back then. An artistic pursuit superior to making the kind of album that was, in its time the author works hard to "situate" Born In the USA in its moment to better defend it BOTH critically and commercially undeniable.
Knowingly pronounce, with some disgust, "Landau. Just to own the kind of people who make fun of "good boys" like me and Geoffrey. But I would have been pretending. As soon as I acquired The River , I knew it was better. And then Born To Run was better. I read some support for this belief in the paragraph length critical sketches of Springsteen's full discography up to '05 but that might only be bc he wrote that " Tom Joad is tuneless " and I found that was a reason to believe he and I, had actually been changing together. Regardless, the book itself exists as a moment in time when he hadn't yet moved on and it suffers for it.
May 01, Paul rated it really liked it. I've always considered it "too poppy" and not as serious as my other favorites, such as Darkness on the Edge of Town or Nebraska. But Himes calls me out for that kind of thinking, and made me reconsider why I've been hesitant to give it full accolades. After all, this is the album that drew me in to Springsteen in the first place way back when I was only a sophomore in high school. Before its release I was only vaguely familiar with his music, mostly through my older brothers and their friends. But then I heard a line from Dancing in the Dark and was immediately connected.
I felt that spark, that fire. I wanted to change my clothes, my hair, my face before I heard him sing those words, but once I did I began thinking maybe I'm not the only one who feels that way.
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And I felt less alone. Springsteen has been my steadfast companion ever since. I thought its insane popularity must somehow be the album's weakness instead of its strength. Himes helped me see that. Aug 09, Jonathan Hiskes rated it really liked it. Springsteen wrote the songs for his biggest-selling album and "Nebraska" at the same time, then agonized for two years over getting the album selection and track listings right. Himes tells the back stories of some of Springsteen's most popular, most misunderstood, and most balanced between tragic and comic songs.
He makes a strong case that comedy is under appreciated by rock connoisseurs, who valorize tragedy to the risk of melodrama. Himes always makes a great argument that "ten ye Springsteen wrote the songs for his biggest-selling album and "Nebraska" at the same time, then agonized for two years over getting the album selection and track listings right.
The earlier music was about taking to the highway to flee one's hometown; "Born in the USA" and "My Hometown" are about taking a stand right at home. Jul 23, Mary McDonough rated it it was amazing.
Sure, I like the Boss; I'm from Jersey. But I hadn't looked much past my sister's favorite, "Born to Run". And "Born in the USA" is hard to hear anew. It's one of those songs neutered by repetitious playings at feel-good public events such as demolition derbies and firework displays. I had to start all over again with the album, and the book really helped.
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The author dips into Springsteen's life and the events of the day to explain the importance of the album both to history and to Springsteen h Sure, I like the Boss; I'm from Jersey. The author dips into Springsteen's life and the events of the day to explain the importance of the album both to history and to Springsteen himself. He explores outsiders, veterans, the powerless feeling of being working class, and even lusting after someone you should leave alone.
Listen to the album again, and read this book if you need a little more. View all 4 comments.
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Mar 09, Elizabeth Teig Von Hoffman rated it it was ok Shelves: music , springsteen , lit-crit , music-criticism. This book is very good for anyone who hasn't read about and doesn't care for Bruce Springsteen. Most of his assertions are strictly speculative, often contradicting well documented and aged aspects of Springsteen's mentality and style. Himes spends an exceptional amount of the book trashing on Springsteen's 70s discography, which only furthers a general perception that the reader is not particularly caring or interested in Springsteen. Of all the books I've read about Springsteen, this is the on This book is very good for anyone who hasn't read about and doesn't care for Bruce Springsteen.
Of all the books I've read about Springsteen, this is the only one I wish I hadn't. Sep 30, Bill rated it really liked it Shelves: music. The main argument here is that Born in the U. The author's argument is persuasive and though it's clearly not The Boss' best album, it may be a perfect one. The songwriting, the musicianship, the range of topics, the presentation are all a step beyond though not necessarily above what came before.
About Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA
This most readily apparent when you take Nebraska and Born in the U. Everything is pared down to what is essential to tell the story at hand--something more apparent with writers and poets, but important for songwriters to understand too. This simplification gives these songs and the listener room to breathe and to soak in some pretty challenging ideas that weren't previously part of Springsteen's art.
And the commercial success of the album changed how we listen, and what we expect from Springsteen. This is full of repetitive and sometimes dicey claims and was in desperate need of an editor to help it stay on the rails. But, overall, Himes does a good job of placing this important album in context--for America, for pop music, for Springsteen's journey--and his discussion of the strengths of the album is certainly compelling.
Reading some of the reviews of this, it seems that this little book has indeed changed the minds of many a listener which, after all, was the obvious goal here. Finally, a tip for you.
Here's something I finally figured out about this album after many years of a love-hate relationship: Ya gotta listen to it loud for it to do its work. Crank it up and you'll be surprised to hear a whole new record come alive this, on the assumption that you're as old as me and don't find yourself cranking anything up as often as you used to. Oct 11, Christopher Renberg rated it liked it Shelves: music , books. I am a casual Springsteen fan and thus an anomaly of sorts. I've seen him in concert The Rising tour so way late to the party. This album saturated the radio and MTV my senior year in high school to the point that I kept it at arm's length.
I've tried to read more about Springsteen but get so bogged down in the mythology.
Himes is definitely I am a casual Springsteen fan and thus an anomaly of sorts. Himes is definitely on the opposite end of the fan spectrum than myself.