Saturday 4 February 2012

He ain't The Boss of me

For a while when I was at primary school, if you were made to look like a chump (it happened a lot to me) it was called being 'gunked' e.g. folks would derisively sneer, "Ha!'re gunked!". For years I've told anyone who's asked that I don't understand the appeal of Bruce Springsteen's music. That I just don't enjoy all the straining, the bulging neck veins, the internal organ rupturing drums and the chunky muscularity of his ubiquitous 80s hits.  When The Observer gave away a book of his lyrics it kicked around for a while unopened before being tossed in the recycling.  Then, a couple of years back, I giddily played Chromatics' "I'm On Fire" down the phone to J thinking it was a spooky/creepy Chromatics original only to be put straight with a chuckle.  Gunked!  On a recent trip to London I picked up a copy of Eux Autres' "Broken Bows" (Where It's At Is Where You Are/Bon Mots) cd.  From the first spin the track which made me sit up and really take notice was this*:

And, wouldn't you know it, it's another Springsteen cover. Gunked again!  It's nice to have my opinions challenged but my antipathy for Springsteen's music has been so long-lasting that I didn't expect it to ever be called into question.  This morning Janice Forsyth (whose show is shamefully facing the axe this summer) on Radio Scotland played Bruce's new single.  I listened with keen ears, eager to hear what I've been missing all these years. And...nothing,  No gunk this time.  Sure, there were some pretty melodies in the mix, some nice guitar parts, some pretty glockenspiel etc. but as a whole it was stodgy and a bit sickly.  Bruce's voice is a little more weather worn than I've heard it which takes the edge of his shoutiness but I still can't love it which is a shame as I'm sure he has interesting things to say.  Maybe in a few years when I've forgotten all about it some Swedish girl group will tackle it for a b-side and I'll turn cartwheels for it and be gunked all over again.

* - The rest of the cd is smashing and the Springsteen cover is by no means the only reason to enjoy it.

PS This Springsteen song does have its Merritts.

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