E Wurtzel on B Springsteen: Married in the USA
BY NOW, no doubt, all of the five million or so people who wanted to buy Bruce Springsteen’s new album, Tunnel of Love, have already done so and formulated their own opinions about it. I don’t need to add mine, especially since anything I could say about this lush, polished and beautiful album would only add to the mania. I don’t want to encourage a new plucking of parvenus to roll onto the Springsteen juggernaut, a movement that in the last few years has already picked up every eight-year-old and his grandmother.
But, to be fair, I will say that this album is good–real good. Even great. Great in a peaceful, easy way. Not in the blockbuster, gangbuster, rootin’-tootin’, anthemic terms of Born In The U.S.A, terms that defy even the terms that I’ve just used. That album was larger than life, larger than Springsteen, and therefore it made Springsteen larger than himself.
If anyone doubted that the Bruce icon had become more puffed up than the well-muscled man behind it, they need only have recalled the comic-relief point of the 1984 presidential campaign when Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan quibbled over which side of the ballot the Boss was on. (Springsteen, to his credit, refused to comment). And when the message of the title song got jumbled from vehement Vietnam-vet outrage to raucous jingoism, it was clear that enough was enough.
And it was clear that Bruce had to tone down the hysteria with his next step. He needed to release an album that was more absurdly anti-commercial than Nebraska to alienate some of the excess audience.
But that’s not what happened. What happened was Live 1975-85, last year’s most given Christmas album. I don’t own a copy of the collection because it makes me sick to think that Columbia has the audacity to release a five-record set of live material that any true fan already owned on bootleg. But clearly, good taste was not the point. The project was so profitable that it merited an article in Time Magazine’s Economy and Business section.
For More of the article check Wurtzel in Full at The Harvard Crimson: