Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Boss and Me


When I was a kid, my older brother loved Bruce Springsteen. Old school Bruce -- like The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle and Greetings from Asbury Park Bruce.

I couldn't stand the sound coming out of his speakers and through his louvered bedroom door. That voice? It was horrible!

Like the rest of the world, I started to get on board around Born To Run (which isn't as bad as not getting on board until Born in the USA). By then, though, my brother was getting over Bruce. And when Darkness on the Edge of Town was released, he pretty much gave up. "He should put out a live album!" he demanded.

So Darkness was the first Springsteen album that was truly "mine." And as with every album or CD I've ever purchased, I played it over and over and over and over again, studying the liner notes, memorizing the lyrics, playing air guitar, etc.

I was reminded of it as I was packing up my old albums. Most of them I never replaced with CD or digital versions because, as I said, I pretty much played them out in my childhood and college years.

But that album really was special so I finally bought it the other day on iTunes. I've listened to it a bit and it is, obviously, a masterpiece. And timeless at that. (Old man wanna be rich/Rich man wanna be king/And the kind ain't satisfied/Until he rules over everything.)

Like my brother, I became a little less enchanted with Bruce. For me it was the douchebags in my college dorm who championed him during The River era and played (and sang to) Out in the Street ad nauseum. And then Bruce pumped his body up and took dancing lessons and his Born in the USA message was co-opted as a patriotic anthem ... bleh.

I've loved some songs since then, and even albums (especially Nebraska), but they were never quite the same as the two I started with.

I'm going to take it easy and not play Darkness 20 or 30 times in the next few days so maybe I can continue to enjoy it for years to come.

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