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Monday 2 March 2009

When paths diverge

I knew this would happen at some point, in fact it happened years ago. But I still held onto it, hope that things would re-align themselves and the glory days would roll back.

It's never going to happen, so I've got to consign my favourite musical act to the memory banks and move on. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the music of my teens. Many happy hours spent listening to him weave tales of midnight car chases, pretty girls and what growing up was all about.

The disparity in our ages didn't seem a big thing, I got into his music when a classmate gave me the river on tape. A few months later Born in the USA hit and the world went Springsteen mental. But that was really his peak, Tunnel of Love was emo before emo hit mainstream. But old man emo, bitter and full of regrets, probably because he was recently divorced.

Human Touch and Lucky Town were OK ish, but without the band something was lacking. When I married my wife we had a song from one of those albums as our first dance. Then after that dear god it got bad, reallllllll bad. He went into folk, now there's nothing wrong with folk music in it's own right. But for a proper rock n roller to do brown jug ballads was like him taking a dump in my heart.

I saw the shows a couple of times, he didn't have the vocal range for it.

Then he went back to the well with two attempts at being more like his old self, again they felt hollow and contrived to me.

Now this new album "working on a dream", it's got some decent song ideas in it. But it's aimed firmly at the retiree age bracket, with songs about wrinkled folk still in love and the dreadful unrequited love of a guy and the "Queen of the supermarket". Which is frankly stalkeresque in nature.

Him and the band are headlining Glastonbury this year and *will* rock it out. Until he hits anything done since 93, then it'll be not as fulfilling. Even at the 02 he can pull off a cracking live set, but the folksy brown jug stuff leaves me cold.

It's the last record he's put out that I'll be buying and thats sad. The music from your teens is always special, but watching the guy who encapsulated so many ideas grow old and become out of touch (to be fair with my reality) is heartbreaking to watch.

The strange thing is, he released on a few cracking songs in the time I was a fan. All the stuff I loved was from donkeys years ago, even when I first got into his music. So I'm a bit baffled at myself having such an investment in his music, when the stuff I got excited about being released always ended up a bit of a letdown.

We used to moan of the four year gap between albums, he was too good, why so picky etc... I yearn for that level of quality control now.

At least a line has been drawn, I'll wave him off to the musician nursing home knowing that the good times on record have gone. If I can catch him live I will, but no more taking the day off work to listen to a new release.


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