Holy hell, yesterday was so much fun that I’ve decided to do a double shot (as KZEL-FM in Eugene would have put it back when I was in high school) of On The Fence madness.
Today, I dare to question one of rock’s holy scriptures, Born To Run. Not an album I grew up with, or ever really lived around, the importance of this LP has always eluded me. I’ve heard it in fits and starts over the years, and listened to many people expound on its brilliance, but it still just… well… read on…
THUMBS UP: Forget my faint praise, AllMusic.com says “Born to Run was an intentional masterpiece. It declared its own greatness with songs and a sound that lived up to Springsteen’s promise.” Pitchforkmedia.com says “Born to Run lies entirely on the dreamy and reckless side of maturity and is all the better for it.” Rolling Stone named it the 18th greatest album of all-time, and said that “In his determination to make a great album, Springsteen produced a timeless, inspiring record about the labors and glories of aspring to greatness.” Amazon.com editor Daniel Durchholz wrote that “When Born to Run was released in 1975, it earned then-unknown Springsteen the rare honor of simultaneous covers on both Time and Newsweek. The attention was warranted then, and it still is now.”
THUMBS DOWN: I have a ton of respect for Bruce Springsteen as an artist, and I dearly want to enjoy Born To Run as much as everybody tells me I should. I actually get jealous when people tell me how much this album means to them, because I love music, and love finding albums that are meaningful. But Born To Run is partly undone for me by its breathless reviews – no album could possibly live up to the hype that’s been bestowed on this. And more importantly, this album has always sounded overwrought to my ears – like bad high school drama. If such thoughts make me a heretic, then so be it, but every time I listen to Born To Run, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m hearing a pretty good bar band taking 8 minutes to play 3 minute tunes.
[This is the place where I would normally invite you to share your opinion, but today I’m not even going to bother. The mob of angry Springsteen fans is already forming outside my front door…]
August 25th, 1975
Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, and Mike Appel
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Born To Run
She’s The One
Meeting Across The River