And while Carlin avoids falling victim to a trait too often seen in music-related works, he isn't immune from seemingly strained descriptions of the music. For example, he describes one tune with phrases like "organ swoops," "honk-and-scream" saxophone, "spider-finger blues" on piano and "speed freak fills" on the drums—all in one sentence. Admittedly, what struck me as most lacking may perhaps simply be personal preference. Springsteen attended Catholic school. He is frequently seen wearing crucifixes, although that may simply be style. His concerts evoke the atmosphere of a tent revival meeting. His songs are replete with references to sin and redemption. So although it seems an obvious avenue to explore, there is virtually nothing in the book about the role or impact, if any, of religion, in Springsteen's music or life.
There seems to be a constant stream of music memoirs and biographies as this year draws to a close. Unlike some of the others, Bruce provides a wide enough scope and deep enough examination of Springsteen to make it a work that should entice and educate any Springsteen fan. Hell, any music fan.