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Springsteen Album-By-Album Discussion/Costume Party

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Dr. Zoom, May 31, 2019.

  1. Davido

    Davido Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    RE: Dylan
    You don't really believe this, do you? Dylan wanted to be a rock star from the start, pure and simple, and he did not want to be the "voice" of the new generation either. He was just looking for the right time to "escape" and the folk music scene, like every other scene before or since, had probably run its peak commercial course by the end of '63. Kennedy was killed, the Vietnam war escalated, and there's was a lot to unpack socially as the rest of the 1960s unfolded. Dylan and others rode the wave well.
     
  2. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    True, but he was good at that folk singin' thing.
     
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  3. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Do I really believe he became a folk singer because it was a hot, booming opportunity and he jumped on it? Absolutely. He did. Do I believe his going electric and leaving behind agitprop folk was a major nail in the coffin of the folk boom that had been underway since '57 or '58? Yeah, though not the only nail. Do I think Dylan had aspirations to the the "voice of his generation"? No. He was ambitious. But I don't think that was one of his ambitions.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
    Davido likes this.
  4. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Well, yeah, and no doubt he had real feeling for and interest in the music too. That's the thing. I don't think these artists are mercenary hacks. But they are performing artists trying to make a living with their art and craft.
     
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  5. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    It’s far less common, yes.
     
  6. graveyardboots

    graveyardboots Resident Patient

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    In the late spring of 2000, toward the tail end of the E Street reunion tour, I attended back-to-back Springsteen concerts in Atlanta with my brother who was visiting for a few days. I recall being astounded that Springsteen played a set that was 50% different the second night (12 of each night's 24 songs were in common) but my brother, who had recently attended a multi-night Pearl Jam stand, lamented the fact that Bruce didn't change up the setlist more from night to night.

    I thought about it at the time and, aside from a small number of songs that you might expect him to perform every night, it seems he really could swap out a great number of tracks from night to night in order to present nearly completely different setlists...particularly when performing multi-night stands in the same city. "Thunder Road" one night, "Jungleland" or "Backstreets" the next. "Dancing in the Dark" one night, "Glory Days" the next. "The Promised Land" one night, "Badlands" the next.

    But I suppose Springsteen's desire to continue to be an arena act in the States is what keeps him locked into a large number of "must-play" songs every night.

    I'm nearly certain I mentioned it previously but one of my memories from the reunion tour was walking out of the venue in New Orleans and overhearing a fan lament the absence of "Born in the USA" in the setlist when, in fact, it was performed. It's just that Bruce had opted to play the solo acoustic version of the track just like he did on the prior Tom Joad tour and not the well known album- and single-version. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say I resented that fan but it did frustrate me that some attendees just aren't committed to the performance. Then again, to your point, as long as Springsteen insists upon being an arena act, he's going to have to cater the setlists to the casual crowd, which makes up the dominant portion of the audience each night.

    It's doubtful that the shut-the-f@!&-up proclamation would fly in an arena setting for an E Street tour but I empathize with your frustration on this point. At the Charlotte concert just a few days after Danny Federici's passing, Bruce busted out "Wild Billy's Circus Story," which was the first time I had ever heard the song performed at a concert I personally attended and it was the last song from the Wild & Innocent album that I had not yet heard live. It's also a terrific track and Springsteen was dedicating the performance to Danny. That's a moment I should have remembered fondly but, instead, my memory is marred by the numerous groups of individuals surrounding me that were engaged in assorted, loud conversations amongst themselves, all of which was completely unrelated to the performance at hand. It was almost as if they were saying, "can you keep it down Bruce? We're trying to talk about my daughter's soccer game here and you're busy playing boring nonsense instead of "Glory Days!").
     
  7. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midway, KY
    Well hell, you guys/girls are flat burning up this thread. I listened to Magic twice through today. Yes, the sound is crushed or compressed or however you describe it. But after years of loud music, I do have a bit of tinnitus and some music doesn't sound as good as maybe it used to? Again, no separation in the instruments to my ears. I think Radio Nowhere is slightly generic, as some folks have said, it's rock as craft. It does sound pretty cool live and I can see why it's on the album. I believe the next three songs are great. I like the baroque pop (as someone described it) of Your Own Worst Enemy and Girls In Their Summer Clothes very, very much. I call them his Left Bank songs I also like I'll Work For Your Love - great Catholic lyrics! The song Magic is OK and but not very memorable for me. I think the record starts to drop off towards the end and his attempts at political commentary don't quite hit the mark for me this go 'round. Oh, and I think You'll Be Comin' Down is kind of an update of Point Blank.

    A remix would be welcome!
     
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  8. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I agree with this, but also would say that Dylan clearly had a real affinity for that music. Woody Guthrie was his idol and he was in thrall to folk singers of all kinds. Springsteen, too, loved the music. So it’s not like these were purely cynical moves or an act. And where was “rock and roll” in 1961? It was widely seen as an exhausted form.
     
  9. adm62

    adm62 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Only 1 song needs to be played every night? You may be able to make a case for around 10 on any particular tour. And I have been at Springsteen shows where he didn't play Hungry Heart, The River, Dancing in the Dark, Cover Me, Streets of Philadelphia etc. These were all big hits. He plays Born to Run and Badlands every night, probably The Rising too these days. Not too sure there are too many others that appear very single night over multiple tours. And if he plays more than 1 night in one place he mixes it up more except at the start of a tour where they are still probably promoting a certain album and they want to make a case for it.
     
  10. blair207

    blair207 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fife, Scotland
    Springsteen is a bit of a hostage to his fan base in a way that Dylan and Young aren't. He has spoken of shelving the album with loops and samples because of audience expectations. He has never been a ground breaking artist. I do believe that his working class persona is his creation though. The lyrical content of Darkness through to BITUSA, hardly ever strays from working class characters and that was entirely his artistic choice.
     
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  11. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I’ll amend what I wrote to say that BTR is the only song audiences expect to hear him play at every show. In addition to that, he should play several songs from his latest album (although not necessarily the same ones) at every show. I want to hear the new material more than the older stuff. Beyond that, I don’t think there are any “must plays” in his catalog. Certainly not “Badlands”, which wasn’t even a hit and bogs down every concert I’ve ever seen it played in.
     
  12. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Not even close.
    I can think of several politicians and public figures --and without breaking a sweat--in three seconds who are worshipped as deities by the type of people we are talking about.
     
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  13. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    I don't agree, but if Springsteen feels like he can't release whatever music he wants to (when he wants to) --as Dylan and Young have always done--that's more a reflection of him than on his fans.
     
  14. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Again, this conversation is pointless without examples and specifics. The only examples I can think of in the realm you've mentioned would simply support my previous comment, and I'm not interested enough in debating this topic to drag down the thread by listing their names.
     
  15. John C Bradley Jr

    John C Bradley Jr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    I guess we are at a point in this thread where I really don't revisit any of these records all that much. I would still say that I am a huge Springsteen fan, and any year I listen to a ton of Springsteen (yes, I keep track of the music I listen to during the year, I can't help it...). But I guess right now I would be more of a "historical" Springsteen fan - none of the records from say Human Touch/Luck Town are records that would be my first, second, or third choices when I am in the mood for some Springsteen.

    Still, I would have to say that post reunion, I probably like Magic the best - it probably has a slight edge over both The Rising and Letter to You. The title track - "Magic" is one of my favorite post reunion songs. Its actually the reason I bought this album - I was eating dinner in a restaurant a few months after its release and I heard the song and it just clicked. There is a whole series of what I would describe as "quiet" songs - "Streets of Philadelphia" would be another one of these - there are several others on The Rising that I really, really like. I would say generally I prefer these songs to songs like "Radio Nowhere" that are written to be big, anthemic, rock songs. I don't think Bruce writes those types of songs nearly as well as he used to. I think Magic overall is a bit uneven, but the songs I like pull the rest of the album up for me.

    I saw a couple of shows on this tour and liked them both. I took my wife, who I was dating then, to Charlotte and was able to get really good seats for us. She had listened to a lot of Springsteen being with me but had never seen him and she came away a dedicated fan. That was really cool and one of my favorite Springsteen experiences (she would reciprocate by getting us Broadway tickets later, but that's a bit down the road in this thread).
     
  16. Davido

    Davido Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    To me, Bruce became politically active in 1979 at the "No Nukes" concert. That was a strong statement. Didn't he appear on the cover of Rolling Stone with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor (?) and others. Certainly the 1984 U.S. presidential campaign took it to a whole new level, even if he tried to remain neutral by not allowing Reagan or Mondale to use his songs.
     
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  17. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Well it's going in circles, that's for sure.
    You ask me for examples knowing full well that I won't give them.

    So I'm moving on.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
  18. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    Location:
    The Southwest
    And that is why he can't play nearly two completely different set-lists night after night, i.e. omitting a large number of hits or staples. Yes, some of his fans travel and follow him on tour and catch several shows, but most of his arena audiences are there for one night. They want to hear Born To Run, Hungry Heart, Dancing In The Dark, Born In The USA, etc., and if he omits too many of those songs, he will have disappointed patrons. He knows it. I think he has a nice balance where he can switch out 50% of the set keeping it relatively fresh, and retain enough staples to keep the casual concert-goers happy.
     
  19. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Well, Young and Dylan could have held themselves hostage to their audiences, but chose not to. The result has been alienating fans sometimes, going gone up and down in popularity and ability to sell stadiums and make money in a way maybe, it sounds like, Springsteen wasn't willing to do. But they went ahead and did it anyway. Even Taylor Swift has done that -- abandoning a very successful country career for a shot at something even bigger, then going for kind of alt folk pop with members of the National and Bon Iver (she's managed to do it AND still be very successful AND earn acclaim for it too). Springsteen's more of an artisan than artist, and maybe more of a careerist than a muse-follower. I don't blame him. It's a reasonable choice for someone to make, but the contrast ist that Dylan and Young have both been willing to be unpopular with old fans. Ironically of course, as we've seen in this thread, trying not to alienate fans, if that's really what he's done, hasn't exactly kept a lot of his fan base from disparaging a lot of his work. He's found a way to be very successful, through a lot of hard work, and maybe he's risk averse when it comes to that. Or maybe he's outsmarting himself and selling his fans short, I mean, once he was willing to put out Nebraska. Or, maybe he's making excuses for experiments he tried that he thinks didn't work out all that well.
     
  20. Dr. Zoom

    Dr. Zoom Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Monmouth County NJ
    Good idea, these guys have been sharpening their knives all day.

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. BeatleBruceMayer

    BeatleBruceMayer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    Steve made a point not to talk about Trump when promoting Soulfire. He was happy to let the music do the talking.
     
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  22. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Good. I didn't "ask" for examples and, given some of your prior posts, I'm rather surprised that you decided not to provide any. Pleasantly so.
     
  23. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I'd probably put Taylor Swift more in the craftsman, artisan camp alongside Springsteen than characterizing her as a Dylanesque iconoclast. Yes, she's switched gears a few times but not nearly as radically as even Springsteen has. Her country was always more pop than country, so it wasn't a huge stretch for her to go full pop. Her latest switch has resulted in perhaps her best work but it's still not miles removed from pop. It's hardly the sharp left turn that, say, Nebraska was. She does seem to care about maintaining her popularity at a high level in a manner similar to Springsteen and which Dylan and Young could seemingly care little about.
     
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  24. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I agree with your observations. I think she and Springsteen -- two of my favorite songwriters, FWIW -- work in very similar ways. They're romantics, they write about the power of memory and adolescence, they write narratively, they work by mixing very specific, cinematic detail and archetypical scene and setting and action. They also both seem to be riding and driving in cars a lot in their songs.
     
  25. GMfan87'

    GMfan87' Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT.
    He does play more than several of new songs off new album at least since The Rising tour. (Have a feeling he probably always did. Nassau Night , 80' River show he played 12 off that album)
    But as the tour goes on he drops some off set list and adds older tunes and some rarities. That's the only reason I went to one of the WBall shows.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
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