Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile


Re: who's the boss?

who's the boss?
May 21, 2005 07:15PM
so i finally got around to listening to the new springsteen album (inspired by kalefah sanneh's concert review in the NYT) and it made me wonder, exactly who does this aging classic rocker expect to find as an audience these days? the back cover warns, in type larger than the producer credits (but smaller than the mercantile FBI anti-piracy warning), that one song, "Reno," "CONTAINS SOME ADULT IMAGERY." Well, my lack of respect for springsteen's artistry is no secret, but isn't adult imagery kind of what you look for from someone of his age (55) and acclaim? it's not as if the guy has maintained his career all these years singing about pimply teenagers. Of course what that timid caveat refers to is the daring to describe a sex-for-money deal in restrained but clear language. "Two hundred straight in, 250 up the ass...she slipped me out of her mouth..." yadda yadda...you get the idea. This is what his aging audience needs to be warned about? I'm surprised that didn't put a sticker over the lyrics in the booklet, warning that you must be 18 to read what's beneath it. Does Bruce Springsteen actually have 17 year old fans buying his new album? I'm sure he might, but come on...

What's more, the booklet offers footnotes to explain two geographic references and one Spanish word used in the song that would presumably not be known in New Jersey. Another song ("Silver Palomino") also has translations of Spanish words. Is there a new Berlitz in the Boss's life?

In next week's installment, I'll complain about the random lines of melodramatic cliche strung together in the title track of the album ("Fear's a powerful thing...we've got God on our side...we're just trying to survive...faith just ain't enough...i'm just trying to survive...home's a long, long way from us....") and one of the worst harmonica solos ever recorded.
Re: who's the boss?
May 21, 2005 09:41PM
you ain't the only one running scared


what are the 2 footnoted geo sites?
Re: who's the boss?
May 22, 2005 03:47PM
This reads as a humorous piece to me - it's true, has been for years, and cracks me straight in and up. A 17 year-old today will never be able to grasp the semi-significance Bruce had before 'Born in the USA' - the watermark where everything turned around. I feel he never recaptured it. Like so many others, he simply became a product and, in doing so, wants to cover all the demographics. I'm sure stats would show that he does, indeed, pick up new fans that stay with him for a few releases - who could possibly wade through the repeated cycle otherwise (a heartfelt acoustic, a power anthem rocker, a romantic but chock-full-of-meaning mid-tempo LP for the working class)? Some people make jest at the Stones and their upcoming tour, yet they still set the pace, rules and examples for what R-n-R can do and is to be in the long run. Bruce is simply an industry. And banned at the 'bucks - no better marketing strategy could be engineered. What's not funny is that the tone Ira senses in the various puzzle-pieces inherent in the release is indicative of the skewed tangent the country has been spiraling towards. When this tone was set by Reagan it seemed like a silly, don't-let-the-fifties-die/the-white-middle-class will have their day, jingoistic mindset. Today, it smacks of something much more dark and sinister. It's time we all stand up. And when we do Bruce will be sitting down.

Post Edited (05-23-05 15:53)
Re: who's the boss?
May 22, 2005 06:45PM
In all honesty, if I see one more middle aged white TV personality fawning at the foot (or worse) of Springsteen (Matt Lauer this means YOU), I'm going to puke. The mainstream critical reaction to "The Rising" was downright nauseating : Major Artist makes BIG STATEMENT about NATIONAL TRAGEDY, it must be GREAT, right? Haven't heard this new one but "The Rising" was one clunky lyric after another and it was a total free pass by many critics who should know better.

Re: who's the boss?
May 23, 2005 12:02PM
Plus, does anyone else think Born in the U.S.A. sounds dated? It sounded like crap when it came out, and those "Born in the U.S.A." keyboard flourishes simply haven't aged well. I'm not a particular fan of Springsteen, but Born in the U.S.A. was never the record everyone made it out to be.

Bruce bought into his own myth and has become a charicature of his former self. The Minutemen spoke for working class dudes much more directly and effectively anyway. To me, Springsteen's rhetoric always sounded somewhat contrived. I'm sure he meant it, but I think he was trying too hard.

Unlike Paganizer, however, I like the Wymanless Rolling Stones no better, for different reasons. Like Freddie and the Dreamers and Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, they are a washed up British Invasion band. I don't think they set the pace for anything -- it's an oldies show. From all accounts, fans (and I do love many of the great early Rolling Stones records) say the concerts are great, but who is buying their records? Who are the two million people who bought Voodoo Lounge?
Re: who's the boss?
May 23, 2005 12:03PM
And another thing ... I was very disappointed that this post had nothing to do with Tony Danza.
Re: who's the boss?
May 23, 2005 07:29PM
Anytime Tony Danza is the punchline, I'm good for the day.

Yep. I'm so deep in the closet that I'm finding xmas presents but I'm coming out!::
I still listen to Stones from 65-74 on a weekly basis. I'm a freak for Beggar's Banquet, Exile and Sticky. And I drool over 'I Can't be Satisfied'. But even Bridges to Babylon had good tracks. Voodoo Lounge sold volumes outside of the US (where it was a relative clunker and a weak LP - they're later albums have set records in South America). I still see the band when someone pays and I have a great time. There are many reasons why they should have hung it up, true. That said, they still describe what R-n-R can be. I.E., anybody who becomes that successful and lasts for four-ty-freak-in years can say both 'if the Stones can do it...' and 'it's been done'. That's saying something. I truly believe they keep on because that's where Mick feels comfortable- well, there and in one other activity. I truly don't think he does it for the money. I can't even say that about the Pixies. The Stones ARE r-n-r. Without them none of us would be doing what we are doing right this minute. And they prove you don't have to be a teenager to be a fan nor a twenty-something do be a performer. There's no shame in resting on your back catalog if you're the freakin' Stones! Who proved this? The Stones. It's a lifetime thang and it's all good. Who else has been a true survivor: Chuck Berry is still keepin' on. And Bo Diddley as well. Who were the Stones influences? Oh yeah, Bo and Chuck. Anyone else hitting the 40-year mark and still playing well and having fun (do we count 'The Dead')?
I'm happy in here. Now close the door and let me smell my farts while I start a new thread.

Back to Bruce. Start with 'Asbury Park' then let 'Wild, Innocent, E Street' show the way. Work your way through Darkness (skip Born to Run, it was filler wrapped a round a great single) and The River. There's an arc there and it shows there was truly a genius at work. Then Born in the USA arrives as calculated AM fodder. It just sits there. Clunk. It sold by the millions to the Chesney/Toby Keith (it hurt to type those words) crowd as well as every other demographic. There was just no turning back. He's had a free pass ever since. Not even campaigning for 'the enemy' could reverse it. I can't say good things about a single track since The River. That would be OK except the shows are duds, too. As for the sound of Born in the USA, while listening to it, try to remember why it made a guitar hero of Steven VZ. Are there really two guitars in that mix? Come to think of it, the Stones were a mediocre comparison. Let's put bruce up against Dylan. Whoa-hooo!
Just what could Bruce do at this point to impress us?

Post Edited (05-23-05 16:41)
Re: who's the boss?
May 23, 2005 01:05PM
??? The Stones still set the pace, rules and examples for what rock & roll can be? Paganizer, you surprise me! The Stones peaked over 30 years ago, and since then have jumped more sharks than anyone has a right to survive.

On the other hand, any rock artist/band who manages to stick around for ten years or more runs the risk of becoming a nostalgia act to a substantial portion of their fan base. So I guess you do have a point, Paganizer. The Stones truly do set the pace, rules and examples for being a nostalgia act. And any old, past-their-prime rock act should be so lucky to make bank on their nostalgia appeal the way the Stones do.
Re: who's the boss?
May 23, 2005 06:25PM
I haven't heard his new album yet, but The Rising was pretty overrated, as are most of Springsteen's albums, in my opinion. I still think Nebraska holds up well, and so do one or two songs off of Born to Run and Born in the USA. But Springsteen has always been seen as the "savior" of rock and roll. That may be because Springsteen used to know how to use cliches in a way that made them seem fresh. Now, he just seems to be recycling everything he's already done. Did the big anthem album? Time for an acoustic one. Repeat and rinse. Ben Hamper -- author of Rivethead and friend of Michael Moore's -- called Springsteen out a long time ago, and good on him. Maybe it's not that Springsteen has lost or never had a muse, but that once he was able to do what the best artists do: take the personal and make it a universal. Now, he seems content to just deal with what he perceives as the universal without connecting on the personal level anymore. He's content to write his anthems and theme songs and has forgotten to connect, which, as Forster said, you must always do. I remember my brother reading the Time/Newsweek cover story and deciding that it was time for me to buy my first album -- Born to Run -- because he didn't want to spend his money on it. Thankfully, I also bought my second album at the same time -- The Ramones (yeah, I know Born to Run had been out a while already) -- which stayed on the turntable long after Born to Run had begun gathering dust in the pile of Johnny Quest and Beatles albums that had been handed down to me. Personally, I've always thought the Iron City Houserockers were better. Have a Good Time, y'all.
Re: who's the boss?
May 26, 2005 02:52PM
The sheer energy devoted to this thread I think establishes conclusively that Bruce can't be dismissed as a major artist. Would any of you really spend this much time discussing why Rob Thomas' new solo album isn't all that?

Yes, Bruce has produced a lot of clunkers, not to mention bombastic tripe, but who hasn't over a similar career period? I admit I just didn't get him for many years. I was 14 when BITUSA came out and I thought his stuff was funny at the time. But I bought into Nebraska and worked backwards from there. Darkness, The River and Nebraska is a mighty amazing run.

Mock on mock on Voltaire, the more you write the more your latent Boss crush emerges.......
Re: who's the boss?
May 29, 2005 06:40PM
I've never been a Springsteen fan... tried but never got into him, from any era, but that warning thing is ridiculous...
Re: who's the boss?
June 03, 2005 02:44AM
But oh boy, what an ass he had on that cover back in '85!
Re: who's the boss?
July 02, 2005 02:07PM
I'm not a fan, never bought any of the records, never went to a show. But I saw a concert on PBS a while back which I've got to admit cranked up my respect for him as a performer a number of notches. It's with fondness that I can think of him now as his generation's Gene Kelly - his "i'm an average guy" act is more sincere than most, he's not afraid to make himself a clown, and he's got tremendous energy in a live setting. If he ever made it back to the bars, I'd go see him.
Re: who's the boss?
July 04, 2005 05:11AM
"Born to Run" was his last listenable album. Punk made him irrelevant in the years after it appeared, in an artistic sense, as punk had more fire than anything Springsteen ever wrote or recorded before or since it came along. "Born in the USA" may have been his biggest commercial success. So what? It's a bore to listen to, and everything I've heard of his since then puts me to sleep.
Re: who's the boss?
July 04, 2005 01:27PM
This may be incoherent - I know what I'm trying to say, but not completely sure if I'm actually saying it.

Springsteen was basically Rolling Stone magazine/Jann Wenner et al's last shot at playing kingmaker before punk came along and demonstrated to anyone paying attention that the icons of the previous generation had become the establishment that needed to be destroyed. RS never really got punk and in fact had a vested interest in ignoring it and at the time, so they had to continue to elevate their pet projects to the status of major artist whose work eclipses all else, and Springsteen was their last, best hope of championing someone who might turn out to be exciting. And at the time, Rolling Stone was still the King Kong of rock publications, even though anyone at all knowledgeable was reading TP or Creem. After punk is when Wenner decided nothing was happening in music anymore and began focusing on Hollywood, where his brand of starfucking is always welcome, until he helped found the R&R Hall of Fame, where he could impose his personal taste on History once and for all.

But anyway, Springsteen was the last hero that the Rolling Stone ilk crowned and could call their own before Johnny Rotten and Joey Ramone told them to get lost - any major artist that came along after Springsteen was chosen by someone else, and the former tastemakers had to play catch-up and act like they championed them, too, just so they wouldn't get left behind (you see it now in RS's fawning over the White Stripes). But it's in their interest to still claim that anything Springsteen does is a big deal (just like their insistence that Eric Clapton is still relevant, when in fact everything after Layla has proven him to be the world's single most boring human being), and they still own most of the media, so we still get bombarded with stories of their faves' relevance and genius, even though no one really cares anymore.

Springsteen fed into his own genius myth by being slow as molasses - the Beatles progressed from being teenybop stars to the most experimental band on the planet in FOUR years (I think someone once said that was like if the Backstreet Boys released their debut album one year, then a year later followed it up with OK Computer then a year later followed that with an Aphex Twin album); the Byrds churned out an average of two albums a year, the Velvet Underground existed for about 4 years total, hell - Kiss released an average of two albums a year at that time. Sparks released the classic Kimono My House/Propaganda/Indiscreet trilogy in a little over a year and a half. How many albums a year did Dylan spew out in his prime? Looking at his discography it seems like about one a week. Almost all of them classics.

But since Springsteen took years between his albums, well, it had to be because he was a MAJOR ARTIST gritting his teeth and sweating it out to produce a MAJOR ARTISTIC STATEMENT. Only a certified genius would need to take so long between albums, and thus each album had to be a communication directly from God. Had nothing to do with marketing and image building, nope.

After all that, I have to say I actually LIKE Springsteen okay - I think he's overrated and has become increasingly pretentious, but damn, Nebraska is a great album, and most of his albums have at least one or two great songs. But even so, give me Mellencamp's The Lonesome Jubilee and Big Daddy over any Springsteen album besides Nebraska any day of the week.
Re: who's the boss?
July 04, 2005 03:35PM
Who's the boss? MOJO NIXON.
Re: who's the boss of RS?
July 04, 2005 04:01PM
breno, what a succinct and informed diatribe against the establishment icon. Whenever I pick up an issue of RS I wonder how much longer it will drag on. Who in hell actually reads that trash (or subscribes to it - surely not music fans)? RS is to music what 'Enquirer' is to news. In the electronic-media near-future will it simply disappear? Please apply your insight to RS [vis-a-vis B.S. and W.S.] to U2 and REM - I've been trying to put my thumb on it and feel you're very close. And thanx for spilling the beans on Clapton (who does remain a great live artist).

NP Echobelly-On

Post Edited (07-04-05 13:38)
Re: who's the boss?
July 04, 2005 05:52PM
the NYT book review yesterday had a roundup of springsteen tomes that mentioned an essay that accused Landau of (re)creating springsteen as his mythic sense of the american working man, equating that with white minstrelsy. I don't disagree. (Read Mansion on the Hill for indications of that.) Everything Springsteen has done since Born to Run looks and sounds to me like a willing lump of energetic clay assenting to the hyper-intellectual direction of a sophisticated critic/sculptor. Tom Joad? All the pretentious literary nonsense BS offers in interviews? Give me a fucking break. I can not shake (nor do i need to) the sensation of words being fed to him, ideas being briefed for him. To my mind, George Bush is Springsteen as politician, with Karl Rove as Jon Landau. Clearly, neither icon is capable of independently operating at the intellectual level they appear to, and each has an obvious string-puller at the ready, so draw your own conclusions. Springsteen has put in his sweat equity, no doubt about that, but he's exactly the super-size me concert attraction big-gulp-consuming americans demand, one whose real quality is irrelevant so long as it's big, bold and comes in a bucket, which 3 hours concerts surely do.
i feel sorry for springsteen in a way, although i would have to say he has acted as honorably and responsibly as any musical icon in history. but i keep waiting for the moment when he is finally unmasked as the front he so surely is.
Re: who's the boss?
July 04, 2005 08:01PM
Maybe Springsteen ought to remember the guy he used to be before Jon Landau got a ahold of him. He made okay records, namely, his first three albums, but he didn't seem like he was trying to be an icon of anything before all the hype after "Born to Run," the simultaneous covers on Time and Newsweek, in 1975, the puffery of Landau about how Springsteen was the next great thing. What was his comment at the time? "Something like "I have seen the future of rock 'n roll, and it's Bruce Springsteen." With all that hype, it seems that Springsteen is a victim of the press and handlers in a way reminiscent of Col. Tom Parker's control over Elvis Presley's career. At least Landau hasn't put him in any bad movies yet, and Springsteen hasn't turned into a fat, drug addicted glutton. I agree with the above remarks about Rolling Stone being out of touch. I feel the same way about SNL. When is that dog of a show going to be given a decent burial? It would be great to find a music magazine that is cutting edge like Creem and Trouser Press were back in the 70's. Maybe it wouldn't find an audience today in the era of Ipods and MYV bullshit.
Re: who's the boss?
July 05, 2005 02:02AM
To paraphrase Howie the Hamburger Dude, Paul Reubens character in Cheech & Chong's Nice Dreams:

"The future of rock 'n' roll...Bruce Springsteen's fuckin' it all up. New wave! New wave!"
Re: who's the boss?
July 05, 2005 02:02AM
Tis true, it is just as easy for any hard working American that listens to TODAY's TOP TEN HOT COUNTRY HITS (periodically even) to see that, uh, "Springsteen/Landau Formula" at work. TOBY KEITH anyone?
I'm getting sick...and damnit it's the 4th of July!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Re: who's the boss?
July 05, 2005 02:06AM
Mr Eberhard, I believe this is a trouser first. We share exact posting times. Great minds do think alike.
Re: who's the boss?
February 01, 2006 07:34PM
i hear that nebraska is a good springsteen album because it is poetic. i haven't heard it, though. was there a hope for him at this stage?
Re: who's the boss?
February 02, 2006 04:11PM
He's adopted the yodelling Guthrie-ite pose for a few albums besides Nebraska (Tom Joad, the most recent album, etc.). I find it no more convincing--and nearly as grating--as the all-peaks-no-valleys histrionics of the E Street Band. And I'm merely ambivalent about his Bossness; there are some genuine Brooce haters on this board for sure.

The "Nebraska is for those who don't even like Springsteen" platitude is in the same ballpark as the critical school-of-fish thinking that surrounds Pet Sounds (the Beach Boys made other great albums as well) and Trout Mask Replica (ditto).
Re: who's the boss?
February 02, 2006 04:43PM
I'd actually argue that "Trout Mask Replica" is about the LAST Beefheart album you'd want to recommend to a neophyte. I agree about "Nebraska" and "Pet Sounds" though and would put "Hot Rats" in the same category.
Re: who's the boss?
February 02, 2006 06:16PM
Yeah, Trout Mask gets its rep the hard way. I've never even owned it on CD.
I always preferred Safe as Milk but why the hell don't people talk about Doc at the Radar Station?! It's like it doesn't exist.

Fast 'n' Bulbous is my favorite tribute LP. (XTC and Sonic Youth doin' the Vliet!)

NP: Feelies - No One Knows

Re: who's the Captain?
February 02, 2006 07:55PM
Agree with Paganizer. I was a latecomer to Beefheart ... or then again, perhaps I wasn't really, since I first heard the good Captain and his Magic Band when I was 18. *Doc at the Radar Station* was his latest at that time, and he and the Magic Band were performing "Hothead" on SNL. I dug what they were doing ... and I dug the way the sorority girls at that party kept yelling the chorus, drunkenly, all night.

Anyway, *Shiny Beast*, *Doc at the Radar Station* and *Ice Cream for Crow* are my favorite Beefheart albums. *Trout Mask* is an interesting listen, but not among the ones I keep going back to.

Hmmm, according to the Web Domain search engine on Yahoo, theradarstation.com is available. Any Beefheart fan out there wanna nab it? Just think: You could be receiving email sent to doc@theradarstation.com!
Re: Where's the Beef(heart)?
February 02, 2006 11:37PM
I consistently go back to Safe as Milk. I really like the daring *idea* of Trout Mask...--and Safe as Milk can be traditional (bluesy, psychedelic) in a lot of ways--but "ideas" don't prompt me to paw through old records...good tunes do. And Safe as Milk has them.
Re: Where's the Beef(heart)?
February 03, 2006 01:58AM

Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band's influential double album, TROUT MASK REPLICA: "Ah, I am a prank, a humbug, a bluff, an inane critical pet...celebrated, but seldom listen'd to."

WARM VOICES REARRANGED is a hell of a great book, for anyone not familiar with it - record reviews composed of anagrams of album titles (sometimes with a little cheating involved, it must be said).

Some of the best:

Television - MARQUEE MOON: Memo - Quiet Verlaine soon!

Rollins Band - GET SOME, GO AGAIN: A solo male, no Greg Ginn...it's bad!

Lou Reed - MAGIC AND LOSS: O God, America...dullness!

Joy Division - CLOSER: Joyless, ironic void.

George Harrison - DARK HORSE: Horrid ogre goes Hare Krsna.

PAINT THE SKY WITH STARS: THE BEST OF ENYA: Frosty, petty twat. I think she's a banshee!
Re: who's the Anagram?
February 03, 2006 04:53AM
Shit Reno that's awesome!
A heathen writes, 'most so!'.
Re: who's the Anagram?
February 03, 2006 12:38PM

I've never been any good at constructing anagrams, so I'm in awe at anyone who can come up with a good one.
Re: who's the Anagram?
February 03, 2006 05:58PM
I've tried for minutes to struggle with Nirvana - Nevermind, and the best I could do was:

Mere vain diva nrnn
Re: who's the Anagram?
February 03, 2006 06:06PM
The problem for me is left over letters:

eg, Trouser Press = Truer prose [ss]
Re: who's the Anagram?
February 03, 2006 06:45PM
ATLAS WED, THEN TOILETS = TS Eliot The Wasteland

ta da!

this heat
Re: who's the Anagram?
February 03, 2006 06:49PM

byrds sweetheart of the rodeo

ta da!!!

Re: who's the Anagram?
February 03, 2006 06:54PM

The Beatles yesterday and today

ta da!

Re: who's the Anagram?
February 03, 2006 06:57PM

trouser press really rules

ta da!

viv stanshall
teddy boys don't knit
Re: who's the Anagram?
February 03, 2006 08:05PM


Re: who's the Boss of Michael?
February 07, 2006 10:40PM
Michael used to tell us he was Bad
All his funky records made us glad
But when I sawr his face I was sad
With his only friend a chimp you know it's mad
The cola-king could sit and count the cost
Thinking about the childhood he lost
You know he couldn't even give a toss
At least he's marginally better than The Boss!

from Neverland by The Damned

Post Edited (02-07-06 18:44)
Re: who's the boss?
February 03, 2006 07:07PM
Actualy, I think that, aside from some singles, Nebraska is the only Springsteen album to hit the mark. It may be because it's his least ambitious, or that it seems to take apart some of the American mythology he helped create.

Sorry, no anagram stuff from me. Still reeling from the STOTU drinking game...

Post Edited (02-03-06 15:09)
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login