Allow me to go on a rant for a moment or two. I’ve reached the point of my adult life where other people’s Bruce Springsteen fandom has started to drive me up the wall. Be it co-workers, friends, family members or strangers in a coffee shop, his legion of die hard fanatics are imbedded throughout what seems like the fabric of America. I am not really sure why either. Springsteen has not released a proper studio album in over five years. It has probably been a solid two plus decades since he made anything truly relevant creatively or culturally. I blame a lot of this “in your face fandom” on his recent Broadway show run. I know a lot of people who have attended (for vast sums of money) and let you know over and over how magical the experience was. I’m sure it was a good time. I personally am not spending that type of money (upwards of $500+ a ticket) to hear songs from 30-40 years ago. An acoustic guitar, piano and some rehearsed storytelling won’t change my mind either on that front.
It is not just the Broadway residency. His fans are constantly promoting and telling you how extraordinary of an artist and performer he is. I’ve seen him live once back in 2012. It was a 3 hour plus show. He played a bunch of hits. I had a good time. Nothing more, nothing less. He ended the night with a cover of “Twist & Shout” which I thought was not necessary when he has a very deep catalogue of his own to pull from. Be that as it may, I wouldn’t go around fawning over a guy in his mid 60s playing to a stadium full of retiring baby boomers. Perhaps I am missing something? I do like a handful of his albums, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., Born in the U.S.A. and my personal favorite of the bunch, Nebraska. Those are some damn fine albums. Sprinkle in some other standout tracks in his career like “Badlands”, “Hungry Heart” and “Born To Run” and you can see why people are so passionate about him. A lot of that ended in the 1980s though as Bruce has slowly drifted into legacy act status. Oh sure he’s pounded out a good tune here and there, songs like “Streets of Philadelphia”, “Missing”, “The Fuse” and “The Wrestler” spring to mind. I’d even say I like the poppy “Radio Nowhere”. Yet so many of his legions of fans think and believe his recent album output ranks up there with his late 70s to early 80s run. That simply isn’t the case, at least in my eyes. It has been very uneven and basically Dad Rock.
Springsteen fans remind me of that classic Onion article from 2001. The one with the teenage kid “discovering” Led Zeppelin and has to let everyone know how amazing and cool they are throughout every facet of his day to day life. That to me is the type of Bruce Springsteen fan I’ve been running into more and more over the last decade or so. Springsteen is a classic American rock God. No one would ever dispute that claim but do I need to hear it all the time as if he is still 28 years old pumping out legendary albums on a continuous basis? I think not. Maybe dial back the outward enthusiasm by 20 to 30 percent. I say this as a man who was born in Freehold, New Jersey, Bruce’s hometown. Hey, maybe that is the reason for this rant. I just run into too many of his disciples growing up in his backyard. Whatever the reason, enough is enough. It is almost Billy Joel fan annoying but that is another story all together….