I know I’m going to get absolutely creamed over this but I suspect I’m a masochist behind my back. The thing is that I’m not a Springsteen fan. The way I understand it, this puts me in a relatively small group, along with married couples who don’t want kids and left-handed accordian players.
My lack of love for Bruce has never been a secret (you read this blog – do I look like I have any secrets?). I eventually learned to temper my negative exuberance over him in the presence of others. After all, they look at me strangely enough as it is – why give them more ammunition?
What don’t I like about Bruce Springsteen? Let me count the points.. No, wait, let me take the shorter route by stating what I like about him: he has a lot of charisma.
For the most part, I prefer my music with acrobatic guitar work. If not acrobatic or pyrotechnic, incredibly tasty and well-played. There is a significant dearth of this type of guitar work throughout the Springsteen archives. I’m not saying he or his sidemen can’t play; I’m saying they generally don’t.
Side note: my wife couldn’t believe it when I pointed out that the guy with the shellac’d hair (rug) on the Sopranos is Steve Van Zandt.
Hooks are important for hits but Bruce doesn’t grab me here either. Another thing I go for is really talented singers with a lot of soul, like Joe Cocker, Delbert McClinton, or Gregg Allman. Nope, not here either.
I’m generally not a lyrics guy, at least on first listening. If the words are significantly interesting, I may eventually catch on and appreciate the hell out of them but there are many songs that I can play note-for-note and don’t know the words.
Tonight I attempted to learn a Springsteen song from start to finish. Sometimes to assist in learning the song, I listen through, then listen a second time to type out the lyrics. This helps if I’m not terribly familiar with the song or it is a more complex ditty. The Song of the Evening<tm> was Rosalita.
To digress (as that is what I do), I have been doing song parodies since I was in kindergarden, way back when radios started to go solid state and FM radio hadn’t developed much of an audience yet. You know that I eventually had to come up with a Bruce impression, simply because he was so popular. It frequently revolved around, well, constipation. To me, Bruce occasionally sounds like he’s straining when he tries to sing, so I incorporated this into the parodies, like Ex-Lax commercials and others….
In any case, there I was, writing down the lyrics to Rosalita. I guess most people my age have heard the song… I recognize the chorus so it’s not a total mystery. Listening through headphones, I got to concentrate on phrasing and tone, which quite frankly scared me in places. There’s one line about entertaining the cats that sounds like they punched in a random instance of someone saying CATS with no regard to context. There are many other garbled phrases, most of which I eventually figured out.
The most off-putting part of the experience had to come about two verses into the song, when I realized that the words had the emotional depth of a thirteen year old boy. I can’t even tell you where that concept came from but it popped out when I really read the lyrics. Baby I’m gonna come save you from yer momma and daddy…. – I think not.
Honestly, I’m sure he’s a great guy and we’d probably get along well but I’m just not a fan. I’m even from his general New Jersey neighborhood (if you repeat this I shall deny I ever stated it).
Stay tuned as I go after George Washington, apple pie (I’m allergic to apples), and Frank Sinatra.