I was first exposed to Springsteen during the Born In The USA era, and he just didn’t land on me. The Rolling Stones were a similar experience for me, since I was first really exposed to them during the Dirty Work/Steel Wheels era. Some people may love those eras and albums, but to me it was just 80s pop excess and commercial garbage. Also, I was really into metal and rap, so there’s that.
I didn’t truly fall in love with the Stones until Guitar Hero (or maybe it was Rock Band) showed me the majesty of Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, and I went back into their early years to fall into Sticky Fingers and Let it Bleed. I was like How in the world is this the same band that did The Harlem Shuffle?
… and so it appears to be happening to me with Springsteen, right now, in real time. Nebraska is playing as I write this. I’ve never liked his music, but I think that’s because I wasn’t hearing albums of his that were right for me. Paul and Storm played Jungleland in the van when we went on tour together, and while that wasn’t enough to make me a fan, it took up some space in my head and sort of hung out there. So this morning, my random shuffle station of classic rock songs pulled Jungleland off the internet, and I thought, “I’ll give that album a listen.” A few clicks later, I put Born To Run on the Sonos, and holy shit what a record.
I was 3 in 1975, and my parents didn’t listen to cool music (they say that they did because they owned some Beatles and Boston records, but I swear to Christ it was all Joni Mitchell and Loggins and Messina and Yacht Rock and even though my mother still denies it, I endured an unreasonable amount of Barbara Streisand’s Woman In Love when I was a kid) so I didn’t grow up with this as background music the way my kids grew up with The Pixies and Nirvana and Radiohead (you’re welcome, Ryan and Nolan) … but if I’d been a teenager in 1975, this record would have spoken to me the way The Queen is Dead did, I think.
So I don’t think anyone cares, and this is one of those posts that doesn’t really say anything, but feels good to write for precisely that reason.
Anyway, I think I’m going to go buy two Springsteen records for the first time in my life.