The Friday Morning Listen: Bruce Springsteen – Born In The U.S.A. (1984)

The problem with the wide range and ubiquity of our networks is that we’re aware so much of society’s goings on…maybe too much. On any given day, it’s easy to succumb to the steady flow of cynicism that emanates from modern society. Things that used to be a mystery get rehashed on the Interwebs, with the cyber vultures picking at the bones. No matter how cool and/or interesting a particular phenomenon is, there are always going to be the detractors. Surely this has always been the case, though with digital media, it’s a lot easier for anyone to play that game.

I bring all of this up not because it needs to be rehashed (far from it, as the topic has become its own special brand of dead horse) but because I need to highlight a particular counterexample.

It’s looking like this current version of Springsteen’s E Street Band is heading toward a well-deserved rest. What we’ve had ever since the release of Wrecking Ball is a world tour that’s gone from U.S. dates to Europe to Australia, New Zealand, and back. All the while, the naysayers have been bitching. They are are minority, but a vocal one. Bruce’s songwriting has gotten lazy; he’s mailing in the shows; he’s releasing crap records (High Hopes); he’s playing too many cover songs; Patti is a useless bitch; and for the love of god, why the hell does he continue to play Waitin’ On A Sunny Day?!

If you read enough of this stuff, you might begin to wonder if it’s possible that anybody can just enjoy a bit of music.

Enter Alex and Tommy Flores.

The two brothers were in the pit at the recent Houston show and, on the strength of their sign — “Busted my lil brother out of class to sing with The Boss. Can we sing?” — Bruce brought them up on stage. What followed was one of the most genuine and inspiring concert moments I’ve ever had the joy to witness…even if it was though a tiny camera via YouTube.

“No Surrender” has garnered a lot of complaints over the years on the fan boards. For whatever reason, it’s just a song that people love to hate. With the Flores brothers — blood brothers — at his side, Springsteen shows the rest of the world why we’re so invested in this music. “We learned more from a 20-minute record then than we ever learned in school” — it’s a cliche…but it’s also a philosophy, one that has more meaning than you might think.

Thanks Flores brothers. Thanks Bruce.


Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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