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Friday, March 30, 2012

Springsteen's Rock with a Message. . .

Rolling Stone published an interview with Bruce Springsteen conducted by Jon Stewart in its March 29, 2012 edition.  Springsteen spoke of his new album (Wrecking Ball) and of a number of his classic recordings that reflect his own social values and his vision for and concern about America.  His language is the language of community, fairness, compassion and collective will, as well as responsibility.  Here are some of his comments:

The first cut, "We Take Care of Our Own," is where I set out the questions that I'm going to try to answer.  The song's chorus is posed as a challenge and a question.  Do we take care of our own?  What happened to that social contract?  Where did that go over the past 30 years?  How has it been eroded so terribly?  And how is it that the outrage about that erosion is just beginning to be voiced right now?  I've written about this stuff for those 30 years, from Darkness on the Edge of Town to The Ghost of Tom Joad through to today. . . .

So these are issues and things that occur over and over again in history and land on the backs of the same people.  In my music--if it has a purpose beyond dancing and fun and vacuuming your floor to it--I always try to gauge the distance between American reality and the American dream.  The mantra that I go into in the last verse of "We Take Care of Our Own"--"Where are the eyes, where are the hearts?"--it's really:  Where are those things now, what happened to those things over the past 30 years?  What happened to the social fabric of the world that we're living in? What's the price that people pay for it on a daily basis?"  Which is something that I lived with intensely as a child, and is probably the prime motivation for the subjects I've written about since I was very, very young. . . .

You cannot have a social contract with the enormous income disparity--you're gong to slice the country down the middle.  Without jobs, without helping folks with foreclosures, without regulating the banks, without some sort of tax reform. . . .Without addressing those issues in some way, I don't think the country is going to hold together.  . . .at the end of the day, you can't have a society and you can't have a civilization without a reasonable amount of economic fairness, full employment, purpose and civic responsibility. (page 41)

"Bruce Springsteen's State of the Union"
Rolling Stone
Issue 1153, March 29, 2012

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

BRUUUCE!

is a brilliant musician, songwriter and social observer. He's written so much social commentary in his music. His song Into the Fire is about the first responders on 9/11. I think it speaks volumes to the kind of community and relationships he frequently talks about. It's theme of sacrifice as an example to others reminds me of Jesus, and I don't think that's an accident, since Bruce has often demonstrated a more nuanced and serious understanding of Christianity than most Christians.

INTO THE FIRE

The sky was falling and streaked with blood
I heard you calling me, then you disappeared into the dust
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

You gave your love to see, in fields of red and autumn brown
You gave your love to me and lay your young body down
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need you near, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

It was dark, too dark to see, you held me in the light you gave
You lay your hand on me
Then walked into the darkness of your smoky grave
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love bring us love...

May your love bring us love

Anonymous said...

Interesting words coming from a tax dodger -- http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brent-bozell/2012/03/17/bozell-column-hard-rocking-hypocrisy