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Hundred Six karats, total, nah thats per wrist Tryina comfirm this, my chains to yo chains

Posted on 2009.06.22 at 00:39
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Green Day - ¡Viva la Gloria!

Recently there was a discussion comparing Bruce Springsteen to Billy Joel.  This discussion took place on the internet among strangers so of course a massive pissing contest ensued.  A Joel supporter made an interesting point that I felt I could expand on, or at least attempt to expand on. 

The argument made by said Joel supporter is that Springsteen is out of touch and is no longer relatable to his fans.  Bruce is known mostly for his “Working Man” anthems and attitude.  Greetings from Asbury Park came out in 1973, so he’s been doing this act for about 36 years.  In those 36 years, he’s sold 120 million albums, had a shit ton of hits, played in front of millions of people and even played the Super Bowl.  So yeah, he’s not exactly living the life of a tin knocker from Paramus.  But he still writes those Working Man songs.  Because it’s all he can do.  Allow me a bit of a digression here.

This got me thinking about rap music and how it works for them.  Let’s use Jay Z as the example here.  He is one successful dude.  Same as the boss, he came up from a less than wonderful situation and has gone on to sell lots of albums, tour around the world, marry beyonce and own the Nets.  So yeah, he’s not exactly slinging crack on the corners of Bedford anymore. 

Here’s where it’s better to be a rapper than a rock singer.  Rappers can rap about being broke and selling drugs and robbing liquor stores when that’s what they’re doing.  It works for the first album or until they get big.  But then when they make it and have millions of dollars and iced out chains and all that good stuff, they can’t rap about being broke anymore.  But it doesn’t matter.  Because they rap, they can make the next album about how much money they have and their cars and shit.  And that’s fine because rap is allowed to be about that for some reason. 

Don’t get me wrong, the rappers will reminisce about their past in a song, but it’s never fond memories.  It’s always something along the lines of “Hey, remember that shit we used to do?  I’m sure glad I don’t have to do that anymore.”  And the next verse is about rims or something.

So I’m back to Bruce.  At one point, he was the working man playing bar gigs on the shore at night.  So that’s what the songs were about.  But he got successful and went on to become Bruce Springsteen, the man who could sell out Giants Stadium wiping his ass. 

But in rock, you aren’t allowed to brag.  You aren’t allowed to make an album about how much money you have or how many supermodels you’ve banged.  It’s not allowed.  The only songs you’re allowed to write about your career from this point on are those “It’s so hard being a rock star” or “Touring is lonely” type songs.  And those songs always suck.  Has anyone ever actually enjoyed hearing Bob Seger’s 1972 “woe is me” pussy boy anthem “Turn the Page”?  No, but that’s all Bob was allowed to write.  Any time a rock band makes it, their next album will contain at least one song about how hard it is to be famous.  This is universal. 

Look, when it comes to Springsteen, I’m a casual fan.  I haven’t heard much of his new stuff.  I assume it’s more of the same.  And who can blame him?  It’s what works.  He goes to that Working Man well pretty often, but the well never seems to go dry for him. 

So maybe he is pandering at this point.  But I suppose it’s better than having him whine about his life he used to have than hearing him whine about the life he has now.   Maybe he’s one of the very few famous musicians who remember what it’s like to not have money and to not be famous.  So maybe he’s still relating to the fans by singing about their shitty lives instead of singing about his.  It’s that or bitch about being on tour because he’s not allowed to sing about how he played the Super Bowl like Nelly did and he’s not allowed to go by the nickname “iceberg” because of all the diamonds he has.  He can’t be miserable without looking like he’s pandering and he can’t be too happy without looking like an asshole.  So here he is, 36 years later, still singing about how they closed down the auto plant in Mahwah.  Because that’s what he’s allowed to do.  A-woah-woah-woah.



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