Bruce Springsteen
Born to Run


5.0
classic

Review

by Channing Freeman STAFF
June 22nd, 2011 | 260 replies


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist


We can compare modern “working-class” bands with Bruce Springsteen all we want, but the simple fact is that no one has ever done it better. Maybe no one besides him has ever done it, period. Today's bands of that ilk are really just the heartbroken songwriters of indie's milieu dressed in blue collars. They give the impression that somehow they are easier to relate to because their lyrical wheelhouse consists of small towns, of nondescript cars, and of bills to be paid. They take wrong turns when they presumptuously attempt to be the right band for a certain age. What they don't understand is that the age from which Springsteen sprung was the right age for him. It is not less noble for a band to take a look around them and hope to comment on or even combat events with their music. But it is better when music is written as a product of a microcosm (say, growing up in Asbury Park) and then naturally comes to embody a macrocosm (America in general). The idea is that listeners will see their own story in the songs instead of just hearing something with clever lyrics that they'd like to sing along to or remember to quote later on in conversation, which can create an illusion of familiarity.

It is this essential quality that sets him apart from everyone else even after all these years. His fictional characters are easier to relate to than any modern indie song sung in the first person. It has been interesting to watch this particular musical shift. How is it that a song rife with such nameless characters as the Magic Rat and the Barefoot Girl, with imagery of Exxon signs and ambulance lights and death in those lonely corridors of the city seems more homely than any song about the end of a relationship which, presumably, any listener would be able to relate to much more? It is as if the old rules have been transferred from stone tablets to pieces of notebook paper, frequently scratched out and rewritten to fit the latest trends. That storytelling trait has, with a few exceptions, long been absent from music and perhaps that is telling. What makes Springsteen's music so great is that his stories and characters made it all the more affecting when he did write something personal. When he personally wondered if love was real it sounded more genuine because of similar, prior sentiments from the lonesome, wandering denizens of Asbury Park. Story echoed real-life and vice versa, each lending weight to one another.

Springsteen's America seen through today's lens seems more modern than the vision being presented currently. It is a marvelous thing that none of Springsteen's songs seem quaint or outdated but it is not surprising in the least. He was able to both hearken to an earlier time by harnessing the power of music's golden age and to make an audience look to the future, to attempt to keep alive a sense of America's commoner nobility – the notion that there is nothing purer than trying to survive through means universal and familiar, through foot before foot and hand over hand. The notion that we could succeed or fail to walk like heroes but either way America, although perhaps dull-eyed and empty-faced, was nevertheless bound for a greater glory somewhere down the road.



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user ratings (770)
Chart.
4.5
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
fr33convict
June 23rd 2011


11705 Comments


neg.

good review.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2011


15082 Comments


reviews gay neggefd

Athom
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2011


17231 Comments


oh hey. rules

Satellite
June 23rd 2011


20826 Comments


review fucking rules.

didn't have this rated wtf. backstreets is one of the best songs fucking ever.

mallen-
June 23rd 2011


1235 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

fuck yeah



I've said this before, and I'll say it again: Thunder Road and Jungleland are the best opener/closer combo of all time

Digging: Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2011


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

roy bittan's piano playing here is just unreal

TheBoss88
June 23rd 2011


208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Agreed.

TheBoss88
June 23rd 2011


208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

To both of those. Especially the first one.

CrisStyles
June 23rd 2011


769 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

One of the greatest albums ever made, hands down.

pizzamachine
June 23rd 2011


12572 Comments


Nice reviewin'.

Spare
June 23rd 2011


5450 Comments


better than your last one by like 10000

Digging: Forth Wanderers - Tough Love

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2011


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

impossible

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2011


10583 Comments


how many reviews until downer quotes this review

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

bailar14
June 23rd 2011


1603 Comments


when he finally reviews an enrique album

WhiteNoise
June 23rd 2011


3254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review is alright, although it was more of a story than an actual review.

Album is genius.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
June 23rd 2011


50960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like a boss.

Digging: Friendzone - Collection 1

Activista anti-MTV
June 23rd 2011


3150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review from the wrong side of the tracks


Chrisjon89
June 23rd 2011


3833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think Roy Bittan played on some of Bowie's albums. I will listen to this album.

qwe3
June 23rd 2011


21368 Comments


I've said this before, and I'll say it again: Thunder Road and Jungleland are the best opener/closer combo of all time


marryme also fuck ya chansteen

MO
June 23rd 2011


19078 Comments


awesome review, love this album



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