Heretic! Heretic!

As Gordon-Loebl says, Bruce Springsteen couldn’t be more straight. But that doesn’t mean his songs can’t reflect other people’s experiences too.

And so dies the idea that only trans can play trans, gay, gay, and so on and on. Only blacks may write about being black, only Asians may cook stir fry and all the other lunacies of our age.

17 thoughts on “Heretic! Heretic!”

  1. like many people, I misinterpreted Born in the USA as a tub-thumping, chest-beating, USA! USA! USA! anthem and didn’t investigate further

    FFS. Imagine being too stupid to listen.

    Do you like Huey Lewis and The News?

    Their early work was a little too new wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in ’83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He’s been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor.

    In ’87, Huey released this, Fore, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is “Hip to be Square”, a song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself.

    [raises axe above head]

  2. Dennis, He Who Is Bored of and by LGBT+ Whining

    It took me a very long time to realise how good Bruce Springsteen is: like many people, I misinterpreted Born in the USA as a tub-thumping, chest-beating, USA! USA! USA! anthem and didn’t investigate further.

    “Born In The USA” became a tub-thumping, chest-beating USA! USA! USA! anthem because Bruce Springsteen was stupid enough to bellow it out. People took that bellowing to be defiance… which completely undermined the point he was trying to make. Where I come from we call that “complete failure”. Why’d he sing it that way? Because that’s about the only way he can sing anything.

    About the only thing Springsteen did that was worth a shit was “Nebraska”, and it was no accident that “Nebraska” wasn’t recorded as an album, it was just some demo tapes he’d put together and was ready to cast off. The rest of his output is the musical equivalent of a Quentin Tarantino movie… pablum that flatters stupid people enough that they think they’re smart for “getting it”.

    It’s no accident that Carrie Marshall has picked up on him.

  3. Oh the joy of being sufficiently personally diverse that, come Wokeistan, I will be allowed to cook a Full English Jollof Curry Currywurst. I’ll let you know if it tastes any good.

  4. I used to laugh at Springsteen and his fans. The only half decent song he ever did was Born to Run and it bemused me that he could fill stadia singing this tripe. My guess was that his concerts were like Ken Dodd’s – they went on for hours and so one got one’s money’s worth.”Take sandwiches.” Was my advice to anyone going to see him.

    Then, a few years ago, I did some translation work for the film Springsteen and I, where people were encouraged to send in home videos about their Springsteenian experiences. I realised then the truth. They are all fucking loonies.

  5. Steve,

    It’s anorak time. I’m sure you knew that Hugh (not yet Huey) Lewis and his colleagues were the backing musicians on Elvis Costellos first album.

    I saw Hugh’s band, Clover, in 1977 or 78 when they were supporting Graham Parker and the Rumour. They were OK but no more. I agree with you though that, like Bill and Ted, they got much better.

  6. Steve

    Do you like Phil Collins? I’ve been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn’t understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins’ presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group’s undisputed masterpiece. It’s an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums……

    …Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument.

    …..In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of profession Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I’ve heard in rock

  7. @edwardLud – i’d hope so, but people actually paid to listen to that tosh and buy the records. No accounting for middle age dementia.

  8. Forget who but someone pointed out that if you just take his acoustic and blues albums he’s one of the most successful folk singers in USA.
    Did enjoy his broadway thing where he talked about his background and music

  9. The only even slightly good thing Collins ever did was “In the Air Tonight” (even then it is a stupid name which sounds like some fool compelled to talk about his own farts).

    But that song was cool only because it formed the soundtrack to the Miami Vice scene. Where Don Johnson and his mate Turds (or whatever) are driving some super-car at 200 mph through the sultry Miami night. While loading up a selection of firearms in anticipation of a horrific shoot-out to follow shortly. And who hasn’t wanted to play that scene?

    Even then they spoil it by 1-having Johnson stop at a phone booth (no mobiles then) to ask his ex-wife if their marriage had had some good points. Presumably during the actual marriage he was too pissed to remember. And 2- having the druglord fly off in a seaplane–so no shoot out. And after the Vice burned enough rubber to have made johhnys sufficient to stave off the entire AIDS epidemic.

    Ah 1985.

  10. The born in the USA thing – is the war film paradox in song. As Seb Junger pointed out in Jarhead many of the Great war films intend to be anti war, but young men interpret the film maker’s art in a completely different way. Being 50 and suddenly saying hey you know what i don’t think Full Metal Jacket glorifies war, is sad irrelevance.

  11. “…Bruce Springsteen couldn’t be more straight”. Come off it, he’s a middle-class boy who’s never had a manual job in his life but has successfully created this working-class persona. He’s about as macho as Cliff Richard. Same with Little Steve, putting that oh-so-serious look on his face while earnestly claiming solidarity with oppressed farm labourers in “Bitter Fruit” (great song, though).
    Worth a read:

  12. Hallowed Be, Zulu is another example. Stan Baker was a massive socialist (knighted by crook Wilson) as was Cy Enfield, who was blacklisted in Hollywood.
    But for sheer action and stiff upper lippedness it is nearly everyones’ favourite.

  13. Ooh that one is good, and the general rule arises i’d venture because the more you show the adversity and horror of war the more you’re forced to admire the spirit. On the strength of that film I wanted men of halech for a certain service, only to be told no by the appalled vicar because it wasn’t a hymn.

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