Bruce Springsteen must be the only artist in music that I’ve never seen criticised. It seems to be universally agreed that the man is a living legend, and that his music is faultless. Hmmm. Time for me to check him out, then.
Before taking the plunge and buying Born To Run, the album generally accepted to be Bruce’s best, the most vivid image I have of ‘The Boss’ is of him dad-dancing on stage to the turgid ‘Born In the USA’. Not exactly the epitome of cool, but I suppose I have to grudgingly respect him for just getting up there and doing whatever the hell he fancies. Dad-dancing aside, then, is ol’ Bruce worthy of his ‘legend’ status. Based on Born To Run, I have to say ‘no’.
I have listened to this album more than any of the others I have reviewed this year, convinced I simply had to be missing something. After all, this is described by many as ‘simply the greatest album ever’. If I were a working class American and not a lower-middle class Englishman, perhaps my perceptions would be different. The lyrics might draw paralells with my own life, and I might be truly inspired by this music. As it is, I found Born To Run, dare I say it, bland. With the exception of the title track, which truly is magnificent, I would happily never listen to any of these songs again.
Springsteen himself is excellent, I will concede. The sheer passion and muscle in his voice is something to admire, and his performances render all of the songs listenable, at least. I just wish he’d had some better tunes to compliment his vocal.
A very average album that fails to live up to its hype.