Mark Gauvreau Judge does not like Bruce Sprinsteen – at all. He explains why in a Wall Street Journal editorial:
- Back in 1984, when I was a college student, I panned the album “Born in the U.S.A.,” Bruce’s breakthrough (coming years after the early so-called triumph of “Born to Run”). The college paper ran an entire page of letters calling me a fool–one from my own brother. I was even warned about going to a certain bar favored by some of The Boss’s disciples.
Had I only realized then what I do now: There is no reasoning with Springsteen fans. They form their own religion, or rather their own cult. Bruce’s return is their Second Coming, and third and fourth, depending on how you count. Indeed, religion is the only way to explain the Pauline tone of the Return of the Boss.
“Bruce Springsteen has gathered many a superlative over the years,” Kurt Loder panted in a five-star Rolling Stone review. I had a flash of hope that a “but” was going to follow that clause, but then came the geyser of gush: “Even for him, though, ‘The Rising,’ with its bold thematic concentration and penetrating emotional focus, is a singular triumph. I can’t think of another album in which such an abundance of great songs might be said to seem the least of its achievements.”
While there is a strong element of hyperbole from those who revere the Boss, there is also equal and opposite hyperbole from those who don’t. To the latter group I can only say: see him live, dig the vibe, become a convert. Truthfully, the new records haven’t been all that stunning for the last 15 years or so, but neither have those of _____________ (insert favorite 60s-80s rock star name here). Bruce still earns his adulation with every show.