I gotta go get The Boss’s new album. It sounds fantastic.
Indeed, it is as angry a cry from the belly of a wounded America as has been heard since the dustbowl and Woody Guthrie, a thundering blow of New Jersey pig iron down on the heads of Wall Street and all who have sold his country down the swanny. Springsteen has gone to the great American canon for ammunition, borrowing from folk, civil war anthems, Irish rebel songs and gospel. The result is a howl of pain and disbelief as visceral as anything he has ever produced, that segues into a search for redemption: “Hold tight to your anger/ And don’t fall to your fears … Bring on your wrecking ball.”
“I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream,” Springsteen told the conference, where the album was aired for the first time. It was written, he claimed, not just out of fury but out of patriotism, a patriotism traduced.
“What was done to our country was wrong and unpatriotic and un-American and nobody has been held to account,” he later told the Guardian. “There is a real patriotism underneath the best of my music but it is a critical, questioning and often angry patriotism.”
Here’s his assessment of Obama:
Obama hasn’t done bad, Springsteen says. “He kept General Motors alive, he got through healthcare – though not the public system I would have wanted – he killed Osama Bin Laden, and he brought sanity to the top level of government. But big business still has too much say in government and there has not been as many middle- or working-class voices in the administration as I expected. I thought Guantanamo would have been closed but now, but he got us out of Iraq and I guess we will soon be out of Afghanistan.”
I’m reminded of my complaint during the transition that Obama was hiring almost exclusively Ivy Leaguers and people from Stanford and Berkeley. And, of course, his economic team did not put accountability anywhere near the top of their list when it came to fixing the economy. They’re getting around to it, but a lot of trust was lost and a lot of damage was done. So, I pretty much see eye-to-eye with Bruce on the Obama administration. I wanted a stronger health care plan; I wanted Gitmo closed, and I wanted a more populist tone. But I have to give them a high grade despite my disappointments. In fact, my biggest gripe is still civil liberties and how they’ve enshrined some of the dangerous practices of the Bush administration.