Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Springsteen connection

Reading this blog post about Ryan Van Winkle last week, I was interested to see that he's clearly a Bruce Springsteen fan (if you follow the links, you'll see he's also a huge fan of the late, great Warren Zevon).

Just a day or two earlier, I'd noticed that Birmingham poet Joel Lane also has a mild Springsteen fixation. In his (excellent) latest collection, The Autumn Myth, there's a poem that references him, and his previous book of poetry was even called Trouble In The Heartland, which all those Bruce fans out there will recognise as a line from his song Badlands.

Two things intrigue me. One is that, not so long ago, admitting to liking New Jersey's favourite son was very definitely a totally uncool thing to do. Maybe it still is, but in that case it's nice to see these two poets caring not a fig for cultural fashion.

Secondly, both seem to centre their references on Springsteen's 1978 album Darkness On The Edge Of Town (of course, that's based on a very limited reading of both). It was a stripped-down, raw-edged record, in which the romance of the early albums was largely abandoned in favour of gritty realism. Perhaps it's the economic climate we're living in that makes it a touchstone again - perhaps it's just coincidence.

Anyway, I'm happy to admit to being a long-time Springsteen fan, although I do think his output has been extremely uneven over the years. Darkness... would probably be my second-favourite of his albums - my number one would be his (largely uncharacteristic) second album, The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle, which above all sounds like a band having a lot of fun.

No comments: