Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Me and Bruce

People who have gotten close to me soon realize that I'm a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. As in HUGE. I have all his albums on CD, even those rare to find ones including "Before the Fame" and Winterland Night and Missing Tracks bootlegs.

I had been reading about Bruce on various Jingle magazines long before I became a fan. Back then I thought he was just another rocker who sang bullshit songs, posed angry, took drugs and took home groupies.
The first song of Bruce I ever heard was "Dancing in The Dark" back in the summer of 1984. There was something about the song, something about Bruce's voice that hit me really hard. I became a fan, and I realize now 18 years later, that I have become a fan for life. I bought the vinyl record of "Born in the USA" as soon as it came out and devoured it, day in day out, while I drafted my architectural plates for school, while I ate my pizza and drank my coke, while I washed the dishes and while I took a bath.

Bruce sings songs about the ordinary people and their relationships with each other. He sings about the hardships of everday life and what people do just to survive and see another day. He sings about relationships failed and happy, sad and angry. He sings songs about the guy and girl next door. He sings songs about me. That is perhaps why I, and a lot of people connect with Bruce and his music. His songs may not be hit material, but they hit harder than any song you will ever hear. To this day he's never had a #1 hit single. But Bruce was never about hits. He was never about making it big, rich and famous. He was about making songs that mattered. Perhaps this is why I never tire of hearing his songs, even though I've heard them hundreds of times. This is perhaps why a song like "Bobby Jean" can still make me cry even though I had been listening to it for nearly 20 years.

Contrary to what first impression one may have about a song called "Born In The USA", it is not a song of patriotism and flag waving. It's a song torn from the heart of a bloodied but unbowed human being, telling us what it is like to live in the USA. Bruce's music doesn't have the quality of being appealing right away. I have not liked many of his songs at first listen. But after listening to them a bit more, they turn into mini masterpieces that makes me wonder why I didn't see how marvelous that music was in the first place. This is perhaps why these songs stick so long with me.

While other rockers continue to make rock music into their old age, Bruce grows with his music. His songs mature as he gets older, and as I grow older along with him, I connect with his music even more. While music that I had grown to like and love gets tucked away one after the other in my closet as I get tired of them, Bruce's music is always there.

I had the opportunity to to watch Bruce and his band LIVE in Detroit back in 1999, after I had attended the Comics Convention in San Diego. I had a ticket reserved for me, and I had already booked my hotel. My ticket ensured that I would be right next to the stage. I'd see Bruce and the band up close. This was perhaps a moment that I had been waiting nearly 20 years for. I imagined being in that stadium as Bruce walks in and hits that first chord. I had thought I would cheer, but I found myself shedding tears I could not explain why. That's how much weight and impact his music has with me. Unfortunately, the concert was postponed, and I was crushed. But I still had the music, and it was all right.

This July 30, 2002, Bruce Springsteen and the band will be releasing a new album called "The Rising". It's their first studio album together as a group since 1984. In this album, I hear Bruce will be singing about America after September 11. Bruce can do no less. I've already listened to at least 3 songs via Real Audio from the official site. I didn't like them at first listen, but now I'm playing them all the time, as often as my Internet connection would allow. Yes he sings about America recovering, but his songs transcend even further and have found a connection with me again.


Go to the site above and give a listen to a couple of songs available. Who knows, you may end up liking it.

I will be going to America again next year to attend a Comics Convention in San Diego. This time, I'm making a promise to myself to see and hear Bruce and the Band, wherever they may be touring at that time. If I miss them again, well, at least I still have the music. Thanks Bruce for all of it!