Bruce doomed his reputation in Australia with the release of an album (and song) titled "Born in the USA". As Amerian audiences mistook it for another opportunity to be patriotic, Australian audiences saw it as an affirmation of their belief that "the bloody yanks are up themselves".
What they missed was one of the most vital rock songs of the 80's. Lyrically, it was the tale of one man being screwed by his country. Sonically, it was the scream of a man who's had enough but can't do a thing about it.
Over the course of that album, Springsteen pulled together the themes that had dominated his work for over ten years into the most accessible album of his career. With the subsequent live set, he confirmed that yes, he was one of the best rock performers in the world.
What the public missed was the depth of his talent. As they screamed for more in stadiums around the world, it was forgotten that his previous album, the stark acoustic Nebraska had been ignored by the very same people. They would have been surprised to learn that the title track of "Born in the USA" was recorded before the release of Nebraska.
Since the live box set, Springsteen has turned introspective, honing his considerable songwriting skills in the search for the meaning behind everything he created in the preceding years. Those who remember "Streets of Philadelphia" as a gentle, touching song should have his Tunnel of Love album as well.
Like all of his previous albums, Tunnel of Love enjoyed substantial praise from the critics. It stands as my favourite Springsteen album. It is subtle and thoughtful and moving - worlds away from the dynamite of "Born in the USA". It is one of the few albums that touches me on an emotional level.
Anyway, enough of my rambling. I'm just trying to change the perception people have of this performer.
Back to David's Bruce Springsteen page