It's Time to Fire the Boss By JT Ramsay Wed, 07 Jan 2009 16:29:45 GMT Everyone loves Bruce Springsteen. Well, maybe not everyone, but a lot of people do, and with good reason. He became the voice of the post-Vietnam generation. His music spoke to the hardworking men and women trying to get by as a new day dawned in Reagan's America. He took the world by storm with a string of critically acclaimed records from his 1973 debut to his masterpiece, "Born in the U.S.A." At his creative and commercial peak, he rebuked Ronald Reagan. It was the courageous and right thing to do. But, oh, how the mighty have fallen. He may still rank right up there with Dylan as a great American songwriter for his past work, but unlike Dylan, he's no longer making music that means anything, maybe not even to himself. The Boss has become a populist caricature, unable to speak cogently about the problems Americans face today. Listen to his new music and tell me he's not simply going through the motions. It may not look like it, but Bruce Springsteen is a man undone by his own success. No, his isn't the cliched story of so many rock stars, brought low by partying to excess. For Bruce, it was something more personal. He threw away his identity, his most prized possession, the thing that made it possible for people to believe in him. It all ended when he walked away from the E Street Band, married an actress, divorced her, and moved to Hollywood, then moved back, hoping that his problems were simply a matter of geography. What we see now is a shell of his former self. There's no denying that his tours still sell out to a throng of absolutely rabid fans, but they don't go to hear his new music. They want to hear the songs he wrote twenty to thirty years ago. He may still be an electrifying performer, but he's clutching to his audience's nostalgia now. It may be a living, but what has he done lately that's really moved you? Isn't that what made his music so special? Once the voice of the working man, Bruce is now selling his Greatest Hits at Wal-Mart. His new album, "Working on a Dream," will be as forgettable as his last, although "The Wrestler" has its moments. Instead of being an exciting musician, he's become the Willie Loman of Americana, covering the same ground joylessly with every successive album. Whatever fire was in his belly when he wrote "Born to Run" burnt out long ago. Sad though it may be, it's time for change: we need to fire the Boss.