Thursday, November 16, 2006
Bruce Springsteen: Nebraska
Kitsch and I got in a brief and recurring argument at work to day over Springsteen's Nebraska. He says he wants to feel like hes getting, and I paraphrase, oiled up for some dirty and manly and grunting sex. but Nebraska doesn't do that for him. I thought that Springsteen only did that to dirty, oily, manly New Jersy-ites. I suppose a state's border does not necessarily divide the genes that would lead one to plant one's home beneath a cloud of stench bigger than the one that followed Marlon Brando in his fat, final days.
Actually, New Jersey is very pretty, and my immediate, typical, writerly response to any mention of it was to be rude to it for being industrial and gritty when, in places, it is lush and leagreen. This, my dear Alex Kitsch, is why I love Nebraska over Springsteen's other work: it is not about the New Jersey we all hate like an annoying cousin.
Nebraska is about New Jersey in the off-the-turnpike places. The places that aren't covered in brown. The people that aren't covered in Axe body spray and pookah shells (jab number 2). But theres grit there, its the tinysoft Tallahasee kind of grit; the stuff that gets in your hair and won't come out in the shower.
Its about as blue collar that the boss gets. stripped of a band and a recording studio. recorded in his basement. Softstrummed with a sense of urgency.
I can't really think of an album that has the same reddish feel to it. Gang of Four captured the grit a few times, but they're an entirely different genre (freakin' entirely). Sometimes Will Oldham comes close in his many iterations, but his flavor of intensity leans more towards soothing and underhanded. Smog comes pretty close in his earlier, lo-fi kind of stuff, but he doesn't have the same blue-collared feel to it.
Regardless of pointless and failed allusions to others, I've found that Nebraska beats out most albums on the record player. Something about listening to it with as many pops and sizzles as possible (I have an old copy) makes it that much more attractive of an album.
Anyway I'm not about to go put Nebraska on when I feel like getting all sexed up, I have Purple Rain for that. I will, however, put Nebraska on when I want to have a gritty, sloppy, but endearing make out session with a lady. The kind where my fingers get tangled in the bra strap and we both giggle in appreciation. The kind that actually is more appropriate in the back seat of a car looking over top of an oil refinery, or in a New Brunswick parking lot.