Sunday, February 19, 2012


Bruce Springsteen kicked off the Grammys, and now he's kicking off a new album. The album is political and fiery, and so is Springsteen in recent interviews.

"Previous to Occupy Wall Street," he said to the Guardian, "there was no push back at all saying this was outrageous—a basic theft that struck at the heart of what America was about, a complete disregard for the American sense of history and community."

As usual, some won't get it. Back in the eighties, Ronald Reagan misunderstood "Born In The USA" and tried to use it politically, but Springsteen shut that down. Throughout his career, he's performed songs about the promise of America, pulling up the ghost of Tom Joad and the rebel spirit of early rock and roll.

The first single on the new album, "We Take Care Of Our Own," ironically recounts the broken promises of the USA, and it might be misinterpreted by people who don't pay attention. Reagan is gone, but his right wing legions of billionaire apologists are prowling the country in sweatervests, looking for an "in" to the common man they've lost touch with--and they might see this as a rallying cry. Of course, Bruce won't let them. He turned down Ronnie, and he'll turn down the current crop of Republicans--and he will continue to reject their narrowly-defined America and wrestle it back for the rest of us.

"I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream," he told the Guardian. "What was done to our country was wrong and unpatriotic and un-American and nobody has been held to account. There is a real patriotism underneath the best of my music but it is a critical, questioning and often angry patriotism."

Springsteen gave OWS credit: "The temper has changed. And people on the streets did it. Occupy Wall Street changed the national conversation—the Tea Party had set it for a while. The first three years of Obama were under them. Nobody had talked about income inequality in America for decades—apart from John Edwards—but no one was listening. But now you have Newt Gingrich talking about 'vulture capitalism'—Newt Gingrich!—that would not have happened without Occupy Wall Street."

What did he say about Obama? "He kept General Motors alive, he got through healthcare—though not the public system I would have wanted—he killed Osama Bin Laden, and he brought sanity to the top level of government. But big business still has too much say in government and there has not been as many middle- or working-class voices in the administration as I expected. I thought Guantanamo would have been closed but now, but he got us out of Iraq and I guess we will soon be out of Afghanistan."

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