Welcome to my asylum for ideas and thoughts on movies, politics, culture, and all things Bruce Springsteen.

Friday, February 06, 2009

What the Dream Means

I'm beginning to appreciate and love WOAD for what it is. I've also understood that the record is a good one for what it isn't.

This is a record by Bruce for Bruce. It's his Tunnel of Love without the midlife crisis. It's Sheryl Crow's Wildflower, a beautiful and deeply rewarding record that only diehard fans will love. The songs do not resonate with the listener. They are rich and melodic and in many of my listenings, I have found the desire to repeat the record after its completion. In many ways, it's a fantastic album by any artist at any point in one's career.

And yet, it's not a great BRUCE record. Lacking anthems, we fans are denied the big MESSAGE. No fist pumping. No references to the American masses, the down on their lucks, the scappy fighters. No characters to identify with. A personal record, WOAD seems to be Bruce making a record and forcing his fans to accept the fact that not every statement needs to be THE statement. That our heroes and gods sometimes have mundane thoughts. That our great leaders who inspire us by their words also like to just talk. WOAD is not a great record not for its own faults or strengths but in our own short-sided apotheosis of the man as musician. Bruce is Moses to so many but for this portion of the trip, we've got to simply keep walking through the desert without any guidance. Moses isn't in the mood to prophesy; he just wants to sing. Maybe if we let him, we'll find that we enjoy the songs.