Bruce? Couldn’t You Make Bail? *Updated w/Link to New Single

This is the cover of the new Bruce Springsteen album, due out in early October. 

What is he trying to say?

Is he very sad? 

Did we wake him?  

Actually, excerpt for the styled hair, it looks like a mug shot.  Like he’s channeling James Brown:

 or Glen Campbell:

And don’t his eyes look a little…unfocused? Like one is looking over here and the other is looking over there?

This is supposed to be a rockin’ fun album with a lot of the E Street Band.  The cover does not convey that.

*Update:  Here’s a link to his new single, “Radio Nowhere.”  It’s…ok.  Melodically a little monotonous.  He’s mining the same territory as Tom Petty’s “The Last DJ,” complaining about the complete loss of any personality in radio. 

I was tryin’ to find my way home
But all I heard was a drone
Bouncing off a satellite
Crushin’ the last lone American night
This is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?
This is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?

I was spinnin’ ’round a dead dial
Just another lost number in a file

Except Tom Petty wrote about this problem five years ago. 

It should go without saying that the worm has turned a little.  After all, Bruce, you released the single on the Internet.  Where there is a ton of great music, infinitely more than even during the great years of classic rock radio.   I can make my own 1,300-song playlist now, include as much old and new music as my mp3 player will hold, put it on random play, and it’s like the best, most eclectic underground radio station ever. 

Bruce could probably afford an even bigger mp3 device. He is The Boss, after all.

I try to do as little old-guy complaining about changes in the world as I can.  I’ve been rebuked for doing it by a good friend on this site!  Even Tony Soprano said, “‘Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation.”  So while I think Bruce is going to get attention for this Major Statement, it’s pretty empty if you ask me.

The reality is, the radio industry’s changes reflect the Paradise Lost of our popular culture.   In the glory days after the Beatles’ arrival on Ed Sullivan until the mid-70s, the culture united around an inclusive idea of pop music, when radio stations would play the Rolling Stones followed by Aretha Franklin followed by Frank Sinatra followed by “The Ballad of the Green Berets” or a song by a French nun.   

By the time Bruce Springsteen came onto the scene, those days were about gone, which is why he got so little airplay until he was able to figure out how to use TV in the mid-80s.  I was a huge fan back then, and I felt like a disciple, telling people about this great rock hero many of them had never heard of.  

I don’t see anyone bringing those days back.  Pop’s biggest star right now is Justin Timberlake.  I cannot hum a single one of his tunes.  And one of the reasons why is I never listen to top-40 radio anymore.  I am now in charge of what I want to hear.  About half of my personal Top 10 are technically dead, but they live on in the music I carry around with me.  And, Bruce, old as we are, I think that’s a good thing.


3 thoughts on “Bruce? Couldn’t You Make Bail? *Updated w/Link to New Single

  1. I don’t think Bruce is talking about commercial radio. I think his song is about politics and the disconnect between people and what’s happening in their country. I think radio is a metaphor.

  2. Really? The full lyrics (at the link) are pretty much all musical allusions. Bruce is talking about how music connects us, or used to.

    I want a thousand guitars
    I want pounding drums
    I want a million different voices speaking in tongues

    It’s a song designed to go over big on stage, like “Badlands,” to get the crowd pumping its fists and feeling as if we’re all one. Maybe it will do just that.

    Don’t get me wrong, though; I love Bruce Springsteen, for everything he’s ever meant to me in the past — between 1974 and 2002 I saw him live about 10 times, which is the most I’ve seen any rock performer — and for bravely continuing now. I hope the album’s great.

  3. Metaphor or not, it seems to me that the two are basically suffering from the same problem: the increasing balkanization, victimization and infantilization of society.

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