Wednesday, January 11, 2006
The Boss - and an IPOD Rush
So why does somebody post a 30-year old rock ballad/anthem with Dickensonian lyrics in the wee hours of Friday night/Saturday morning when he's really supposed to be funny and entertaining? Well, its because 1) its my favorite time of the week, 2) I've always been a Springsteen fan for as long as I can remember, and 3) I was on a roll with the IPOD that night.
IPOD owners may know what I'm talking about. Now, at best, I'm forty-ish, which means I grew up with the great big headphones and the wall of sound we called a stero system. When one wanted to get his groove on this primarily required standing before a cabinet of black metal, chrome and lights with headphones the size of desert saucers connected by a black umbilical cord that seemed to get caught into everything and was always kinked up and non-cooperative. Frankly thinking back it always seemed like I was on some great moonwalk or outside the space shuttle trying to fix a styrofoam tile. You're sort of disconnected from reality - and looked sort of goofy as well. And of course you could only really play what was on the album, eight-track, cassette tape, cd et al. Not much a random field here. So you always chose what you heard. That was fine and we liked it anyway.
Along comes the IPOD. Lightweight, comfy and transportable. Now when the need for speed hits me I can be standing in the kitchen, outside in the backyard or out in the streets chasing after the garbage trucks. I am autonomous. So that, in itself, is gold.
But what I really like is the shuffle feature - and I always have it on constant shuffle - so I'm going from Dylan to Aimee Mann to Stevie Ray to Kiss to whatever..... but I have also uploaded full albums and sometimes you find your self just flipping through tunes trying to find something that hits you - even over songs you really like because it just doesn't fit the moment.
But I was on a roll the other night where everything was just gold, and maybe from another time and place, and that's when Jungleland hit me - one of Bruce's charismatic urban melodrama's played above the clean lines of the E-Street Band - that builds and builds with gritty emotion - and then when he suddenly drops it down to a song break of starkness and sadness you can almost swear you can feel the windgusts of a cold Jersey night. This was of course off the Born to Run album released in '74/75 when it all really started. I must have listened to that song 10 times that night.
You see as much as I have been a huge fan, and as many times Bruce's words and music reflected alot of what was going on in my life - and kept me on the brink of sanity (like when I was working in Saudi Arabia in '85 and Born in the USA was one of a few things I clung to for Western sustenance) - I was fairly bummed about his visible participation in the last election. Without getting into politics and hyperbole, you just don't want to see "your" guy up there standing in front of those throngs in Madison, Wisconsin a week before the election with some guy from Massachusetts. If you want to do Live Aid concerts, great- you want to feed the world, great - but don't campaign for specific people - unless its for your church board. You're bound to piss half your fans off. And they won't reach for your music as quickly as before...the bloom fades - nah, it just pales.
But last Friday - with the aid of the IPOD - it was like playing that album in my bedroom as a 17-year old all over again . And a bunch of times later.
It was like old times.