Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The magic is back
My friend Dan introduced me to Bruce Springsteen's music in college in the late '70s and I grew to love it. I can't quite explain it, but somehow lyrics like "Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny" really spoke to me.
This was the Bruce of "Born to Run," "The River," "Darkness on the Edge of Town" and "Born in the U.S.A." In fact, I even had a poster in my dorm room of Bruce in t-shirt and jeans, guitar in hand, against an American flag backdrop. And I saw him in concert twice - in Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y.
(Contrary to the totally exaggerated story some of my friends tell, I did not rush the stage in Syracuse. We were seated on the floor, about midway back, and I merely walked up several rows toward the front at one point to get a better view. Honest.)
One of the things I've always liked about Springsteen is the storytelling aspect of his songs, the specific images they evoke. Listen to "Glory Days," or "The River" or "Badlands"and you get a sense that he's writing about real working people, their lives and their frustrations.
But over the years, my passion dissipated and while I still dutifully bought every album, and then CD, as it came out, I did it more out of a sense of obligation than anything else. Somehow, the music stopped meaning what it meant to me in my twenties. It just didn't excite me as much anymore.
So, when Bruce's latest, "Magic," was released earlier this month, I didn't rush out to buy it. But with an older, pensive, somewhat mournful and weathered face staring out at me from the cover, I knew I wouldn't be able to resist for long. And I'm glad I didn't.
I love hearing Bruce rockin' again with The E Street Band. Many of the songs, like "Long Walk Home," sound as if they could have come from those earlier albums that I loved. I'll still have to take this CD out for a few more spins. Maybe it's simply an exercise in nostalgia. But right now, I'm inclined to say that "Magic" reminds me of those glory days.