Book Trailer The Noble Train

Monday, March 12, 2012

Can a Rich Man (Springsteen) sing about hard times?

Intellectually we want to say that a rich man can sing about hard times. A man who is as rich as The  Boss should still be able to reach back and touch his old hard scrabble New Jersey roots, but the reality is no. He can't. You forfeit something with fame and success and money. You still have your talent and that is a constant but you have changed. You are simply rich and you know other peoples struggles by proxy, by looking over a fence that now keeps your mansion on one side and the rest of the world on the other. It is a sad fact but even The Boss loses his ability to empathize with the plight of the working man.

And he did have it at one time. Just go back and listen to Born To Run (meeting across, the river, jungle land, backstreets) but these were songs of a hungry Springsteen with nothing to lose who was literally Born to Run and who had to keep running. Or The River with it's title track..."but lately there aint been much work on account of the economy..." These songs nailed what it was like to struggle and Bruce was struggling and....he was young and struggling. It makes a difference.

Wrecking Ball is a rich man looking at struggle through the prism of a hell of a lot of money. The songs are uninspired, not much Bruce but a lot of production value. And you cant really blame him for trying. What does a man do who has built his career on being the voice of the outsider when he is one of the insiders simply because of the economics of fame and fortune? To become that voice again Bruce would have to become poor and starting running again..

Not so sure he is up for that. Not now.

Books by William Hazelgrove