Much to my boyfriend's dismay, I am once again obsessed with that little slice of Americana that is Born in the USA.
I have a car, and my car has a tape deck. For most music fanatics, this would seem like a nightmare, but I quite enjoy it. I see the tape deck as a challenge and a chance to listen to things I normally would have forgotten all about. I actually really love having the deck. There's nothing like going through your parents' old tapes to find Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye, or my early childhood Holy Grail: Born In the USA.
Bruce Springsteen, my mother always taught me as a child of the early 80s, was the hardest working man in show business. (Tina Turner was her hardest working woman selection.) She would explain to me in all seriousness how he gave his all at his live shows and how hard he worked the crowd each and every night. This woman has never actually gone to a Boss concert, mind you, but hey, she's never been short on opinions! (I had to get it from somewhere, right?) Guess Mom musta watched that Dancing in the Dark video a few too many times! Anyway, Born in the USA was something we could all listen to together, my energy loving mom, my construction working dad, my annoying brother, and ME.
Much like other supremely enjoyable records, there isn't really a crappy track on the album. Sure, the production is insanely overdone, but Springsteen manages (unbelievably) to rise above even synths and all the 80s trappings to come out of it all seeming like someone we can all relate to: He misses those "Glory Days", he's had his "Downbound Train" bad times, he's a man "on fire." Even as a young child I hafta say the energy and earnestness of the music resonated with me. It sounds so triumphant sometimes and so resigned others. There was a nostalgia there but also, the record is FUN; I guess the record kinda takes you on a journey through a man's past musings and present confusion. I love it. Every time I put it on I am channeled back to my parents' green Mercury Zephyr station wagon, writhing from summer heat on plastic coated seats burning my legs and singing and badly harmonizing along with words I didn't yet quite understand:
Little girl sitting in the window Ain’t seen my buddy in seven days County man tells me the same thing He don’t work and he don’t get paid Little girl you’re so young and pretty Walk with me and you can have your way And we’ll leave this Darlington City For a ride down that Dixie highway Driving out of Darlington county My eyes seen the glory of the coming of the lord Driving out of Darlington county Seen Wayne handcuffed to the bumper of a state trooper’s ford Sha la la...It's so seemingly simple and yet so grand, Born in the USA. I love having the chance to revisit it every few years thanks to that sweet little analog tape and my retro ride. The older I get, the better it sounds. I'm such a nostalgia whore.
Here's Mom's inspirado: