The title above is a line from Bruce Springsteen’s new single, “Radio Nowhere”. It’s a good song, if slightly overproduced.
However, I must admit I miss the rambling, ragged story songs of Springsteen’s early career, like the classic Racing In the Streets… the ones rich with visual imagery, with a hauntingly lyrical piano part for Danny Federici, and without that big singable chorus that repeats four times (“Everybody’s Got a Hungry Heart” … no, sorry, that doesn’t cut it for me).
If not Springsteen or Dylan, who’s singing those long story songs nowadays? Who’s writing and singing the ballad of Rocky Raccoon for this generation of kids? R. Kelly? Ugh! Good golly, Miss Molly!
The only time I saw Bruce and the E Street Band live was in 2004, when he was doing the Vote For Change Tour with a number of other left-ish music acts. I took a road trip to Detroit (I believe there was no Chicago date), to take advantage of my pal Glen’s brother Karl having an extra ticket. I picked Karl and our tickets up in Goshen, Indiana, and we drove up to his old hometown to see Bruce, John Fogerty, REM and some interesting youngsters like Bright Eyes try to oust the Bushies. It was a great show, a good conversation going up and back, a nice visit with Glen’s parents (whom I’ve known since I was about 19) — all that one could want a big road trip to be (and I didn’t even have to get drunk or do anything stupid).
Of course, Bush still got re-elected again a few months later, but that was John Kerry’s fault, not The Boss’s or my own. When it came to speaking in tongues –so as to be understood by just a handful of people– Kerry was and still is the master.
Anyway, the point is, unlike the majority of my over-40 peers, I still buy music with some consistency. I even buy new music by new artists, … like that amazing Snow Patrol disc Eyes Open. I even still buy CDs. Not that I can’t or won’t buy digital music over the internet. I just prefer something that’s been packaged with some nice photography, some song information, maybe some readable lyrics– the whole art of putting together an album or CD still matters to a few of us out here. *Are you listening, big record labels?*
Current or recent records I want to buy, but probably can’t afford ‘em all (take note, all you folks searching for Christmas gift ideas, especially if you know another White Male Over 40):
- Springsteen – Magic
- McCartney – Memory Almost Full
- Ben Harper – Lifeline
- Public Enemy – How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Souls???
- Robert Plant & Allison Krauss – Raising Sand (roots music covers and originals, all produced by T-Bone Burnett)
- Feist –The Reminder (catchy folk and Burt Bachrach-style ditties, especially 1234, the song featured on the current iPod Video Nano commercial with the tiny dancing girl in sequins)
- Steve Earle – Washington Square Serenade
- “Into the Wild” soundtrack – more or less an Eddie Vedder solo album
- James Blunt – All the Lost Souls
- Kanye West – Graduation