Bruce Springsteen

Episode 428: Bruce Springsteen's 'Western Stars'

Episode 428: Bruce Springsteen's 'Western Stars'

On his nineteenth album (and first in five years) rock and roll legend / Broadway star Bruce Springsteen is turning his gaze to the “West,” and the results are a totally unique, if not polarizing, new entry into his lauded body of work. Western Stars utilizes the sounds of late 60’s Capitol Records (Glen Campbell, The Wrecking Crew, Phil Spector) to color the stories of men on the frontier, not just of America, but the edges of their lives.

Is Western Stars a fine return to form for the Boss or a stylistic bridge too far? Tune in to an all-new episode of Discologist as we tackle these questions and much, much more.

Episode 427: Bruce Springsteen's 'Born In The U.S.A.' at 35

Episode 427: Bruce Springsteen's 'Born In The U.S.A.' at 35

Whether you see Born In The U.S.A. as Springsteen’s most significant achievement as an artist or just a strange, 80’s sounding outlier in an otherwise muscular catalog, it remains to this day one of the most potent statements about the down-and-out in America ever made.

Despite its rock ‘n’ roll sheen, misunderstood rallying cries, and anthems to nostalgia, Born In The U.S.A. was a hopelessly bleak look at what it meant to be an American in the wake of the Vietnam War that, thirty-five years later, still resonates across generations, class, and race. A monument to the ‘everyman,’ it marked the end of an era for Springsteen that, despite its darkness, finally launched him into the pop stratosphere that he and the E Street Band had been chasing for more than a decade.

On an all-new Discologist, we’re dissecting this classic to get to the heart of its persistent relevance today, how it shapes the long-view of Springsteen’s career and a particularly “moist” song that also happens to be particularly great.

Episode 339: Love Hz (A Valentine's Day Special)

Episode 339: Love Hz (A Valentine's Day Special)

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, we thought it was high time to explore the dumber side of love. Throughout history, men have been writing songs about love in a quest to continually pitch their woo, but sometimes - pretty much every time - it just comes out wrong.

Join Kevin, Carrie, Marcus, and Ian as they embark on a journey into the heart of derpness and laugh their way through some of the most egregiously awkward "love" songs that missed their mark, and then some. 

Episode 278: PODJAM with Naseem Khuri (Kingsley Flood) and Sam McCormally (Fellow Creatures)

Episode 278: PODJAM with Naseem Khuri (Kingsley Flood) and Sam McCormally (Fellow Creatures)

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A podcast host, production/songwriting wizard, and a socially-conscious Americana singer walk into a basement...

For our latest episode Sam McCormally (Fellow Creatures, Ugly Purple Sweater) and Naseem Khuri (Kingsley Flood) are joining Kevin in the basement to talk about the songs that hooked them on music for life and they're downing some whiskey in the process.

In other words: Strap in kids, cuz this is gonna be one amazing podjam.

ROCKTOBER 2012: 2002 - Searching For A Radio Cure

The musical landscape in 2002 cannot be written about without considering the effects of 9/11 and their immediate aftermath. The lingering shock of those tragic events influenced both artists and listeners, changing the artistic environment of the country as surely (if less importantly) as it did the political landscape. It would be overly simplistic (and inaccurate) to say that every album released in 2002 dealt directly with the events of September 11th, yet it is impossible to view theses releases even ten years later without contemplating the effects of the terrorist attacks on the American psyche.

Some artists dealt with the fear and anxiety of the post-9/11 state directly. Most of the more direct tracks released in the months immediately following the tragedy were, predictably, not very good (fortunately, since Paul McCartney, Alan Jackson, and Toby Keith were kind enough to release their singles in 2001, they need not be addressed here). However, many albums released the following year addressed facets of the attacks and the subsequent social and political climate of the country in thoughtful and moving ways.

Notably, many of the songs on Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising were written as a direct response to the events of September 11th. Indeed, a possibly apocryphal story has it that Springsteen was inspired to write the album when a stranger rolled down his car window days after the attack and said “we need you now.” Regardless of the veracity of that anecdote, the sentiment proved to be true for many as The Rising became Springsteen’s highest charting album of new material since 1987.

ROCKTOBER 2012: 1973: Ride A Space Whale To The Dark Side Of The Moon

Where 1970 was the bud on a young tree full of endless possibilities, 1973 was the year that that saplings fruit began to ripen to the sound of dueling banjos  To be sure,  the previous three years of the grooviest decade on record saw their fair share of tragedies, both actual (the deaths of Hendrix and Joplin) and sociological (The Beatles breaking up,) but on the whole, the music world stayed true to the course it set back in 1970 and continued to push on towards greater undiscovered countries. Arguably some should have stayed that way, but for better or for worse, 1973 was a time of expansion of the mind and the soul, huge debuts, a record that would change the face of music forever, and a narrowly avoided crisis (that wasn’t avoided at all) that threatened to destroy the universe as we knew it. Before we get to that though, let’s take a look at the new kids on the block.

Before 1973 names like Aerosmith, Springsteen, Waits, New York Dolls, Lynrd Skynyrd, were all just ideas floating in the ether/bong water. Not only did 1973 introduce us to these artists we now know consider legends but it gave us some of their best work to date. Closing Time, (Pronounced 'Leh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd, Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ. – all masterpieces and all almost instant classics found their way onto turntables en masse over the course of the year and simply never left them.

But it wasn’t all about the new guys. No, future heavy hitters like The Eagles, The Faces, Chicago (EVERY DAMN YEAR THESE GUYS), Steely Dan all loosed their latest opus upon the world – and trust me folks, Desperado is TRULY an opus – leaving a long lasting mark on what we hear on the radio today. Hell, even the ex-Beatles got into the act with John Lennon releasing his Mind Games up against Paul McCartney’s Wings’ Band on the Run. These were big albums, but we still haven’t made it to the biggest.

LIVE MUSIC: Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band @ The Verizon Center - 4/1/12

Photos courtesy of Springsteen SUPERFAN Stephanie Germeraad

At some point during every Bruce Springsteen tour, there is a breaking point; a moment in which the Boss decides to stop tirelessly promoting  his newest album, and just plays what everyone really wants to hear—classics and deep cuts.  Lucky for those at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, April 1st was that night. 

After beginning with “We Take Care of our Own,” and “Wrecking Ball,”—the single and title track from his new album, respectively—the band launched into Born to Run’s “Night,” signaling to fans that they were in for a good show.  Springsteen reinforced the promise of the evening by taking a moment to acknowledge that although the composition of the E Street band has changed, “the mission remains the same: we want to wake you up and shake you up and we want to take you to higher ground.  We want to sing you home with your hands hurting and your voice hurting!”   The band delivered on their guarantee—anyone who didn’t leave that show with arms sore from fist pumping and a voice coarse from singing along from the depths of their soul was assuredly doing something wrong.

ChunkyGlasses THE PODCAST: Episode 3 - Squirrel Cape

ChunkyGlasses THE PODCAST: Episode 3 - Squirrel Cape

In which a lady joins the crew, Andre dons a cape, and we talk about new releases from Andrew Bird, Yellow Ostrich, Whirr, Pond and THE BOSS. 

So grab a seat, grab a beer and strap in because honestly, what could be better than listening to a bunch of morons sit around and talk about music for an hour or so?

REVIEW: Wrecking Ball - Bruce Springsteen

"... Wrecking Ball is a musically-solid albeit lyrically/morally inconsistent album from the late-career Boss."

Before launching into this review of Bruce Springsteen’s new album, let me make this clear: I love the Boss. I’ve seen him in concert at least ten times, have pilgrimaged to Asbury Park and his childhood home, and know every word to every song he’s ever written. I cry when I watch Wings for Wheels, the documentary about the making of Born to Run, and, I believe in the promised land.

All that is to say that the hypocrisy of his latest album, Wrecking Ball, cuts deep.