Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Dr. Zoom, Apr 29, 2018.
He turned 40, re-married, had 3 kids. Priorities changed.
Mellencamp's commercial and popular-appeal decline is a curiosity. He is still "John Mellencamp," but his overall appeal and commercial presence definitely took a hit in the mid-2000's and never recovered. One could argue the same thing happened to Sting, he is still a big name, but his contemporary music is largely irrelevant and rarely if ever makes any sort of noteworthy commercial impact.
Well stated. He has somehow created a faction of fans that will summarily reject the slightest notion that anything he releases isn't pure gold. A lot of it is. But not all of it.
Rolling Stone always give him 5 star reviews, but he gets plenty of criticism elsewhere. Regarding his post 2000 work, The Rising, Devils and Dust, Magic, Seeger Sessions and (to a lesser extent) Wrecking Ball are all excellent albums. Working on a Dream and High Hopes much less so.
To me he has always been incredibly overrated by the critics and his fans are so devoted to him beyond all reason.
He is a good singer/songwriter with a handful of great albums.
But where some see him as this incredible dynamic performer I see a guy who doesn’t know when to end a freakin song.
Where some see him as some kind of working class messiah he just seems like a realatively average rock star from the same relatively average background.
I don’t get all the intense feelings people have for him at all and never did.
Rolling Stone is a subsidiary of the Springsteen PR dept. he could record himself brushing his teeth and they would give it 5 stars.
Springsteen was sensational, but you can only hold that amount of intensity for so long. There is nothing wrong with his later work, but you can't keep that fire in your belly indefinitely
That's not really true at all. Yes, some songs are extended but others are often thrashed out in very quick time. Check the recent Boston release from the Magic tour for evidence of this. Almost punkish intensity.
Post 99 stuff that is really great...
Most of the Rising (except a couple filler tracks)
Some of Devils and Dust (points deducted for the twangy voice)
Land of Hope and Dreams (live version, not the one on wrecking ball with all the thuds and exploding noises)
This stuff stands up very well to his classic stuff.
Surely like most artists Springsteen hit a purple patch reasonable early on. While liking some earlier and latter day stuff his
Born to Run - Tunnel of Love - is a magnificent run of albums. The only consistently strong album after this period is Magic (IMHO)
To be totally candid. One of the all time greats. My all time favourite artist on record and live. Biggest weaknesses, doesn't always recognise his best work, overthinks everything. His management botch up just about everything they touch.
Agreed. Sometimes he can't get out of his own way. His management too.
This is the guy who neutered the MC5, because he was clueless about the producing/recording process. Possibly his grand vision may be more like stumbling along the way, as Bruce relinquishes his distinctiveness for blandness and greater commercial appeal. Now Bruce is on the far side of where he began, beloved, but lacking a bit of artistic grit in the trade.
True. Landau also thought Livingston Taylor was a great artist who would one day rival Bob Dylan. Which is pretty hilarious.
I do not find any of those albums to be excellent. I think they are very uneven in terms of content and production. That is not to say that Springsteen has not written and recorded some very good songs over the past 15+ years, but in general, his writing is much less compelling than it once was. Brenden O'Brien was one of the worst things to happen to Springsteen's music, his production sucked the life out of the recordings and left behind sterile, sleek and loud mess. Aniello followed the same path with "Wrecking Ball," a project attempting to make big social and political statements, but without the lyrical skill, nuance and intrigue of previous works. I can probably pare all of Springsteen's output from the past 15 years down to a 12-14 song playlist. And that is disappointing because I consider myself a big fan. Don't get me wrong, I am happy that there are Springsteen enthusiasts who continue to be fulfilled and impressed with his contemporary body of work, but I just do not hear it. I think it is a considerable step down from this tremendous 1973 - 1987 run.
I agree with this. I like Darkness on the Edge of Town quite a bit, and of course Born to Run and Born in the USA both have a lot of good songs in there, but I a hard time listening to much else. And honestly the stuff I like, I almost never listen to.
57 Channels (And Nothin’ On) or Queen Of The Supermarket? Which is the better song?
I am not convinced Springsteen made the final call with "Born In The USA." I think Landau had a much greater hand in how "Born In The USA" evolved and with what was ultimately released. The sessions stretched out for a couple of years, and like "The River" before it, it became a real challenge to have clarity by the end of the session work. Landau orchestrated the "Born In The USA" sequencing, massive promotional and marketing campaign, and subsequent tour. He saw an opportunity to elevate Springsteen to the ultimate heights of the music industry, and pushed for a certain direction in terms of content and sound. And while Springsteen has often reflected on his ambivalence about how "Born In The USA" ultimately was presented, it is a project that is still paying dividends to this very day.
I would listen to "57 Channels" 10/10 times.
Mellencamp's loss of guitarist Larry Crane, over songwriting, I believe, was a huge, huge blow to Mellencamp's overall hookiness and tunefulness, Crane really brought the perfect mix of drive, jangle, and twang to John's songs. To John's credit his musical drive/imagination has enabled him to adapt through his 90s experimentation and current folk/country/blues troubadour status. However, John's over self regard (for himself) may have progressively isolated him in his own bubble. He could probably benefit from some Bruce humility lessons.
Larry Crane is one hell of a guitarist. And Wanchic is no slouch either.
For me, on the albums I've heard (everything up to Tunnel Of Love, bits & bats afterwards), there's always a handful of great songs but no single satisfying recrod. Born In The USA probably got closest but even that has its weak moments.
I struggle with the kitchen sink arrangements a lot of the time especially all that dreadful parping from Clarence Clemons (entirely prejudiced here. Can't stand the sax. I'd have told Gerry Rafferty to take it off Baker Street ). And it can get all too earnest & fraught vocally too.
However by cherry picking, I could probably come up with a very enjoyable double best-of.
Saw him live in 1985 (Roundhay Park, Leeds) & he was awesome. The intensity which can be a bit tiresome on record, elevated the concert to way above the norm.
Like Graham Parker, the UK 'angry man'. He got married had kids, got some good psych meds. The demons disappeared. The sheer unmuted joy that he showed when he performed has been replaced by occasional smiles and a gritty drive to put on a long, difficult show.
I like the songs "Lucky Town", "If I Should Fall Behind" and "Better Days" a lot, most of The Rising album OK and the title track to Wrecking Ball. Oh yeah and that "Red Headed Woman" song off the live one is OK, as is "Lift Me Up". Besides those, I stick to 1987 and before.
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