Saturday, September 26, 2009

474. Tunnel of Love- It’s not you, it’s me.

Album: Tunnel of Love.

Artist: Bruce Springsteen.

Year: 1987

Genre: Rock/pop


1. Aint got you

2. Tougher than the rest

3. All that Heaven will allow

4. Spare parts

5. Cautious man.

6. Walk like a man.

7. Tunnel of Love

8. Two faces.

9. Brilliant disguise.

10. One step up.

11. When you're alone.

12. Valentine's day.

The world of rock and roll contains a handful of artists that I respect, admire and completely fail to understand the appeal of. Musicians who have a dedicated fanbase, critical acclaim, massive album sales and nothing that I can latch onto. I appreciate that they’re talented and creative people and rather than looking down my nose at their fans I envy their ability to appreciate someone who is just beyond me. Several of these artists are on this list. One of them is Bruce Springsteen.

He might be referred to as The Boss but I just can’t count myself amongst his workforce. I’ve tried to like him and in fact I struggle to find anything to not like. His voice has a fantastic quality, there’s just something about it that suggests pre-depression hardship and trial. He sings like a guy who doesn’t belong in a high fidelity recording studio as much as out somewhere in a field. Springsteen records should come with built-in scratches. His lyrics show he’s a thoughtful guy with a sense of social justice, and he can definitely write a song. So why can’t I get into him? What is it about Tunnel of Love that leaves me cold and unaffected? I didn’t hate it, I wouldn’t howl if forced to listen to it on a car trip or at a friends place, but I could never imagine putting it on by choice. It must be a genetic thing- there’s a Bruce Gene and I don’t have it. Or perhaps Springsteen fandom is an infection and I’m somehow immune. Either way I’m laying the blame at my feet and not his.

Tunnel of Love contains more synthesizers than guitars but if I was to blame them I’d be making excuses rather than finding the real cause of my problem. True, the outro of Two Faces sounds like its being played on a child’s toy organ but I can't say it ruined a song I was otherwise really enjoying. I listened to this album four times over the last two days but I can’t recall a single song (except for Brilliant Disguise). None of them have stayed in my head. It just doesn’t make an impression.

Brilliant Disguise has stayed with me because of one of those lyrical mis-hearings that you get in rock from time to time. When Bruce sings the title, the double L in the middle of "Brilliant" has a harder edge to it which makes the line sound like: “Is that you baby or just a Brick in disguise.” I thought that the entire track was about building materials that had managed to sneak their way into Bruce’s marriage due to a cunning use of false moustaches. Bloody hell, I thought, that’s a very unusual and specific problem. When he later reversed the perspective and asked how his wife knew that he wasn’t just a brick in disguise I had a vision of two separate bricks wearing make up and wigs each convinced the other was Mr or Mrs Springsteen. Imagine the surprise when they found out: “You’re a brick as well! What a cleverly disguised fool I’ve been.”

Tunnel of love made for a really frustrating listen. I wanted to like it. I wanted to think it was great. I just couldn’t get involved. From what I’ve read it’s not typical Springsteen but then I get the impression he doesn’t really do typical. I’ll encounter further Bruce later in the countdown and when I do I promise I’ll take to it with an open ear. If I enjoy it more I’ll revisit Tunnel of Love and see if I’ve sorted out what my Bruce issue is. Stay tuned

Highlight: Brilliant Disguise.

Lowlight: Two Faces.

Influenced by: Marital problems.

Influenced: Badly drawn boy.

Favourite Amazon customer review quote:Just was listening to Bruce Springsteen in my car stereo and then realized how crappy his voice is and the way his songs were.I think he screams and he sounds more like a duck. I was a fan to him for several years and still cant remember then either. my dad loves bruce and he buys his albums while he only likes all these pop singers such as Sheryl crow, bob seger, Bruce springsteen and the crappy Rolling stones. All four of them are overrated and pretty much suck. Why cant he like Metallica who were miles better and heavier except their debut sucked. I just kinda wish that Bob Seger, Rolling stones, Sheryl Crow, and Bruce springsteen would all fade out as they are all just for adults. I am still a kid and I like what i listen to.Gimme one break from this guy.I could only remember 1 song he did good that could have been title Tunnel Of Love which I think even Dire Straits made a different song titled that but earlier and I like them better. Take my advice, go with Metallica(Ride The Lightning till Load), and Green Day (Nimrod till American Idiot) or Foreigner CD with Waiting For A Girl Like You which all those albums were much,much better than just a stupid pop singer..dont listen to San Francisco's KFOG because they may play this crap!!

-That’s magnificent. There’s everything in that review: strange comparisons (a duck?), parental resentment, further band-bashing, inappropriate recommendations and seriously strange sentences (“I was a fan to him for several years and still cant remember then either.” –what the hell does that mean?)

So do you respect Bruce as your boss or is he more of a David Brent in your life? Let me know below.

1 comment:

  1. I'm keen to hear your next reveiw on Springsteen.