Theoretically, smart, sophisticated fans of rock music are strongly opposed to crass commercial pop music.  The Monkees were widely denounced by all supposedly "cool" or "hip" music listeners- despite the fact that they made some really good records.  Nonetheless, they were an artificial construct put together by business interests just to [gasp!] make money.  The bastards!  A decade later, this anti-commercialism was codified by the punk rockers, as symbolized by their particularly virulent hatred of Rod Stewart- the disco sellout. 

Then there is Bruce Springsteen.

At one time, Bruce Springsteen was an important artist.  Born to Run and Greetings from Asbury Park are two of the best albums in the rock music tradition.

Glory days will pass you by, though.  By the time he got to the 1980s, the muse had left the one-time boss.  As the quality of his inspiration diminished, however, the pure commercial determination of the man took over.  The interesting artistic flourishes and colors of his early work got dumbed down- dumbed way the hell down.

Born in the USA was Springsteen's biggest album, and a huge corporate sellout.  By this, I mean that it was designed as a commercial product much more than as an artistic statement.  Instead of passionate individual artistic expression, the songs came out more like calculated Madison Avenue jingles.  The title song "Born in the USA" in particular is just a stupid politically correct liberal's version of the cheap jingoism of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA."  It's just a mindless and trite piece of [anti] American sloganeering.

Now generally, I don't mind crass commercialism.  Give me a good catchy pop song, and I'll cheerfully fork over the dough.  Hey, there's only so much of the intensity of Robert Johnson and Kurt Cobain one man can take before he needs a break. ABBA has gotten some of my money, and surely the Monkees, Duran Duran and Michael Jackson have gotten their fair share of my pocket change. I've got no problem with someone wanting to make a buck.

What I DO have a problem with though is dishonesty.  From The River on, Springsteen has devolved into the cheapest kind of lowest common denominator commercial calculation, while [here is the crappy part] pretending to be above all that.  He is an ARTIST, indeed the greatest working artist in pop music. 

The really contemptible part, though, is Springsteen's obvious dishonesty with HIMSELF.  He makes a big stupid commercial record- The River- then follows it up with a non-commercial throw-away like Nebraska.  See, he's an ARTIST, not a commercial whore.  Besides re-charging his credibility as a pure artist [a good commercial hook] unconcerned with the commercial consequences [cha, right!], he assuages his own liberal hypocrisy. Then he looks for another big lumbering stupid pop record, like Born in the USA.

Springsteen is a big brand name.  Problem was, by Y2K the lines on the graph were getting low.  How to make that comeback?  What would be the bold, visionary stroke to recapture the public imagination? 

Then a convenient unifying [if cataclysmic] moment came along which presented the trademarked Springsteen brand name a perfect and unique marketing opportunity. 9/11 was an absolutely GOLDEN opportunity, and the Boss wasn't about to let it get away from him. If there was anyone who could capture the pain of the common man, the everyday heroism of firemen brought to the fore, it was the self-appointed spokesman for The Working Man.  Catch The Rising pile of predictable pre-fabricated crap.

What a sniveling piece of shit Springsteen has devolved into.  He's using all the forces of the corporate world to harness the emotions of our great national tragedy for his personal glory, exploiting people's deepest feelings to sell a crappy album.  This is contemptible.  His cowardice to admit this even to himself is even worse.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN PHOTOS  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24

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Bruce Springsteen

Music Sustains the Soul

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