Retrospective

Variety does a two-part cover story on Bruce Springsteen.  And it’s worth a read, if you’re an uberfan.

And I guess I am.

Others are not – and among this blog’s audience, that’s in large part due to Springsteen’s limo-left politics.  I’ve always figured I care as much about musicians’ politics as I do about politicians’ iTunes playlists; I’ve also noted that if I limited my music by politics, I’d be listening to nothing but country-western and Ted Nugent.

But on the subject of politics:

I’m ambivalent about … sort of getting on a soapbox. I still believe people fundamentally come to music to be entertained — yes, to address their daily concerns, and yes, also to address political topics, I believe music can do that well. But I still believe fundamentally it’s an affair of the heart. People want you to go deeper than politics, they want you to reach inside to their most personal selves and their deepest struggles with their daily lives and reach that place; that’s the place I’m always trying to reach. I’d never make a record that’s just polemical, I wouldn’t release it if I did. To me, that’s just an abuse of your audience’s good graces. But if I’m moved, I’ll write, say, something like “American Skin” [inspired by the 1999 shooting death of Amadou Diallo by New York City Police officers — who were later acquitted]. That just rolled very naturally for me, and that’s as good a topical song as I’ve ever written. And when it comes up, I write ’em. If I felt that strongly, I’d do it now. But I watch myself, because I think you can weigh upon your audience’s indulgence in the wrong way.

Someone tell Katy Perry.  mu

Anyway – worth a read, if you’re a fan.

3 thoughts on “Retrospective

  1. I read it, and I think he’s more sensitive to politics now than he has been in the past. He used to do more out-and-out politics at concerts than artists of the same era, but it seems like now he’s going lower key. The cynic in me wonders if age and declining audiences with shifting political allegiances have anything to do with his new-found style. He may be rich, but he’s also addicted to the money he makes.

    … I’ve also noted that if I limited my music by politics, I’d be listening to nothing but country-western and Ted Nugent.

    Along those lines, how do I square the politics of Bach, Hayden, Corelli, Vivaldi, LaRocca, or even Benny Goodman with modern sensibilities? If I can even find them!

    Sorry, too much work to be politically correct on either side. I’ll listen to stuff I like until you try and shove politics down my throat in a way I can’t avoid, at which point I’ll still listen to stuff I like, it just won’t include your stuff anymore. I don’t listen to music to get a dose of politics.

  2. Learning about the political leanings of entertainers whose product I enjoy makes it hard for me to continue to appreciate their output. The best way to deal with it is to completely ignore their social media. That extends to interviews, publicity, etc. If I just watch their shows or listen to their music, I’m happy.

    Exceptions are those who go out of their way to directly bash those who may not see eye-to-eye with them. If someone has a song or a TV show that I like, and they make some blanket statement about all Republicans, then I am giving up on them.

    A few weeks ago I thought about listening to some contemporary classical music by American composers. One was named Elliott Carter, who was active since the 1940s and just died a few years ago. In one of his last interviews in 2012, he was asked about the election and outright called Mitt Romney a Nazi. It’s one thing to disagree with someone and hope he does not get elected, but comparing a mainstream moderate-conservative politician to Hitler & Co. is beyond the pale. I will never be able to listen to Mr. Carter’s music.

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