Category Archives: Listening Post

Thirty Records About America—A Mixtape

I used to post quite a bit about music here on the Where The Blog Has No Name, so please excuse the interruption of blogs on education and politics.

I’ve slowly been working my way through Bob Dylan’s Complete Album Collection Vol. 1 the past year while reading Bob Dylan: Writings 1968-2010 by Greil Marcus. This is not a project I want to rush.

Marcus’ book includes a particularly inspired piece from the May 28, 1998 Rolling Stone, “Thirty Records About America.” Below is a link to a Rdio playlist based on the article (minus a great record by Fastbacks “In America” that is not available).

And, if you’re not into the old stuff, here’s a link to my favourite non-Dylan tunes released in 2014:

Wayne’s Faves for 2013

Back in the day, when I first started blogging at Where The Blog Has No Name, I wrote quite a bit about music, something I’ve not done in recent years. Thought I’d share my favourite tunes of 2013, which includes some blues, R&B, Americana, folk, pop, rock, post-rock, electronica, and a bit of hip hop. [Unfortunately Rdio doesn’t have some of faves from the year, including tracks from Steven Wilson, Paul Burch, and Guided by Voices.]

The year in music—My favorite albums of 2010

I used to post much more often about music here at WTBHNN, but I thought I would at least continue the tradition of my yearly favorites list. See my annual reviews dating back to 1998 here.

Before I get to the list, some observations about purchasing, streaming, and sharing music.

For many years I purchased around 100 albums years, give or take 10 or so. With the “digital revolution” my album purchases have trended upward, for example: 110 (2007); 158 (2008); 149 (2009); and 188 (2010). (Unlike my teenage son, I rarely buy single tracks. Although I did buy two 7″ vinyl releases from Robert Pollard this year).

Only 73 of my 188 album purchases were actual cds, so I’m downloading over 70% of the music I buy (and the majority of that is from eMusic).

I’m streaming music more than ever. I have a subscription to Napster and stream their 2.5 million tune catalog and internet radio throughout my home. I’ve also recently subscribed to Sirius radio. I continue to share music among friends, but even taking all that into account, I’m spending more than ever on recorded music. Hmmm…

View my 2010 cd collection here. You’ll see I did a little back catalog purchasing of Rolling Stones releases (particularly the 1994 Virgin cds, since the 2010 remasters don’t sound nearly as good.)

E. Wayne’s Favorite Albums of 2010
(I don’t claim these are the best albums of the year, but they’re the ones kept going back to. And I know there are many albums I picked up this year that just haven’t gotten the attention they deserve, so I reserve the right to change my mind in the future.)

The Top Ten
1. Bettye LaVetteInterpretations: The British Rock Songbook
2. Danger Mouse & SparklehorseDark Night of the Soul
3. Robert Plant Band of Joy
4. JJ Grey & MofroGeorgia Warhorse
5. Solomon BurkeNothing’s Impossible
6. Sharon Jones & The Dap KingsI Learned the Hard Way
7. Broken Bells Broken Bells
8. Boston SpaceshipsOur Cubehouse Still Rocks
9. The Black KeysBrothers
10. Shelby LynneTears, Lies, and Alibis

Honorable Mentions
Los LobosTin Can Trust
Massive AttackHeligoland
GalacticYa-Ka-May
Charlie MusselwhiteThe Well
Porcupine TreeThe Incident (released in 2009, but PT was my most listened to band of the year)

The 2010 Mixtapes

Wayne’s 2010 Faves – Rock/Post-Rock

  1. Silk Rotor – Robert Pollard
  2. Breakdown Into The Resolve – Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
  3. We Used to Wait – Arcade Fire
  4. Tender Heart – Alejandro Escovedo
  5. Angel Dance – Robert Plant
  6. Vaporize – Broken Bells
  7. Revenge (feat. The Flaming Lips) – Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse
  8. Paradise Circus – Massive Attack
  9. The Blind House – Porcupine Tree
  10. Written In Reverse – Spoon
  11. 27 Spanishes – Los Lobos
  12. I Believe In You – Black Dub
  13. Kong – Bonobo
  14. Hunted By A Freak – Mogwai
  15. John the Dwarf Wants to Become an Angel – Boston Spaceships
  16. The Money Shuffle – Richard Thompson
  17. Stereo (Remastered) – Pavement
  18. Feeling In the Dark – Dwight Twilley Band
  19. Valleys of Neptune – Jimi Hendrix

Wayne’s 2010 Faves – Rhythm

  1. The Word – Bettye LaVette
  2. The Game Gets Old – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
  3. I’m Leavin’ It Up To You – Jimmie Vaughan (w Lou Ann Barton)
  4. Heart Of Steel – Galactic, Feat. Irma Thomas
  5. Nothing’s Impossible – Solomon Burke
  6. Harlem River Blues – Justin Townes Earle
  7. Testify (Parts 1 & 2) – The Isley Brothers (that’s Jimi on guitar)
  8. Only In Amerika – Dr. John & The Lower 911
  9. Everybody Thinks You’re an Angel – Mose Allison
  10. Have Blues, Will Travel – Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King
  11. Everlasting Light – The Black Keys
  12. The Sweetest Thing – JJ Grey And Mofro
  13. Sad and Beautiful World – Charlie Musselwhite
  14. Tramp – Steve Miller Band
  15. Too Hard To Love You – Guitar Shorty
  16. Season Man – Tony Joe White
  17. Tragedy – Peter Wolf (w Shelby Lynne)
  18. Rains Came-  Shelby Lynne
  19. Mixtape – Tift Merritt
  20. Porter Wagoner’s Grave – Marty Stuart
  21. Me And The Devil – Gil Scott-Heron

White Stripes Protest Super Bowl Ad for Air Force Reserve

From RockRap.com:

White Stripes Protest Super Bowl Ad for Air Force Reserve

By DAVE ITZKOFF
In song, at least, the band the White Stripes has boasted that it can hold off a seven-nation army. But now that rock group is taking on an entire branch of the United States Armed Forces, contending that it misused one of the band’s songs in a commercial that was promoted as a Super Bowl Sunday ad.

At issue is a commercial for the Air Force Reserve, set to an instrumental track that the White Stripes say is an unauthorized version of their song “Fell in Love With a Girl.” To make the point, at the Web site of its record label, Third Man Records, the band has juxtaposed the video for that song with a link to the Air Force Reserve commercial, inviting listeners to judge for themselves. (Update: the commercial appears to have been pulled from the Air Force Reserve Web site.)

In a statement posted Monday evening on the Third Man Records site, the White Stripes wrote:

We believe our song was re-recorded and used without permission of the White Stripes, our publishers, label or management.

The White Stripes take strong insult and objection to the Air Force Reserve presenting this advertisement with the implication that we licensed one of our songs to encourage recruitment during a war that we do not support.

The White Stripes support this nation’s military, at home and during times when our country needs and depends on them. We simply don’t want to be a cog in the wheel of the current conflict, and hope for a safe and speedy return home for our troops.

We have not licensed this song to the Air Force Reserve and plan to take strong action to stop the ad containing this music.

Playlists of 2009—Part 3: Favorites of the decade that was

Here’s the last of the mix tapes I put together for 2009. My buddy Perry down on the Edge of the Continent threw down the gauntlet with a challenge to select my “best of the decade” tunes and put them on one disc. Well, I’m not discerning enough to get my best of the year on to one disc (as I demonstrate yearly).

So to go along with my new music and reissues/covers/live mix tapes of 2009. Here’s my double gatefold mix tape of favorite tunes of the past decade. (Actually its technically not a list of my favorite tunes of the decade, rather it’s a list of favorite tracks from some of my most favorite albums of the past decade. Also, I followed the rule of one entry per artists, though I did give Robert Pollard two tracks, one under the GBV heading and one from Boston Spaceships.)

E. Waynes Faves of the Decade

(Track, Artists, Album, Release Year)

Mass Romantic New Pornographers Mass Romantic 2000
Optimistic Radiohead Kid A 2000
Your Lies Shelby Lynne I Am Shelby Lynne 2000
The Galway Girl Steve Earle Transcendental Blues 2000
Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House Yo La Tengo And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out 2000
Heartattack And Vine John Hammond, Jr. Wicked Grin 2001
Telephone Road Rodney Crowell The Houston Kid 2001
The Zephyr Song Red Hot Chili Peppers By The Way 2002
None Of Us Are Free Solomon Burke Don’t Give Up On Me 2002
Hey Julie Fountains of Wayne Welcome Interstate Managers 2003
The Best Of Jill Hives Guided By Voices Earthquake Glue 2003
Is There Life After Breakfast Ray Davies Other People’s Lives 2003
Disorder In The House Warren Zevon The Wind 2003
Seven Nation Army The White Stripes Elephant 2003
Surf’s Up Brian Wilson Smile 2004
Portland Oregon (With Jack White) Loretta Lynn Van Lear Rose 2004
Qué Onda Guero Beck Guero 2005
Intentional Heartache Dwight Yoakam Blame The Vain 2005
Sweethearts On Parade M. Ward Transistor Radio 2005
Wordless Chorus My Morning Jacket Z 2005
Poor Man’s Shangri-La Ry Cooder Chávez Ravine 2005
Chicago Sufjan Stevens Illinoise 2005
Workingman’s Blues #2 Bob Dylan Modern Times 2006
2:19 Tom Waits Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards [Disc 1] 2006
Keep The Car Running The Arcade Fire Neon Bible 2007
Paper Planes M.I.A. Kala 2007
I’ll Never Give Up Richard Thompson Sweet Warrior 2007
Hollywood Hills Alejandro Escovedo Real Animal 2008
I Get So Weary B.B. King One Kind Favor (Bonus Track Version) 2008
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! 2008
Potholes Randy Newman Harps And Angels 2008
Let Us Down Easy Ryan Adams & The Cardinals Cardinology 2008
Let It Rest For A Little While Boston Spaceships Zero To 99 2009
  1. Mass Romantic, New PornographersMass Romantic [2000]
  2. Optimistic, Radiohead, Kid A [2000]
  3. Your Lies, Shelby LynneI Am Shelby Lynne, [2000]
  4. The Galway Girl, Steve EarleTranscendental Blues, [2000]
  5. Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House, Yo La Tengo, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out [2000]
  6. Heartattack And Vine, John Hammond, Jr., Wicked Grin [2001]
  7. Telephone Road, Rodney Crowell, The Houston Kid [2001]
  8. The Zephyr Song, Red Hot Chili Peppers, By The Way, [2002]
  9. None Of Us Are Free, Solomon Burke, Don’t Give Up On Me [2002]
  10. Hey Julie, Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers [2003]
  11. The Best Of Jill Hives, Guided By Voices, Earthquake Glue [2003]
  12. Is There Life After Breakfast, Ray Davies, Other People’s Lives [2003]
  13. Disorder In The House, Warren Zevon, The Wind [2003]
  14. Seven Nation Army, The White Stripes, Elephant [2003]
  15. Surf’s Up, Brian Wilson, Smile [2004]
  16. Portland Oregon (With Jack White), Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose [2004]
  17. Qué Onda Guero, Beck, Guero [2005]
  18. Intentional Heartache, Dwight Yoakam, Blame The Vain [2005]
  19. Sweethearts On Parade, M. Ward, Transistor Radio [2005]
  20. Wordless Chorus, My Morning Jacket, Z [2005]
  21. Poor Man’s Shangri-La, Ry Cooder, Chávez Ravine [2005]
  22. Chicago, Sufjan Stevens, Illinoise [2005]
  23. Workingman’s Blues #2, Bob Dylan, Modern Times [2006]
  24. 2:19, Tom Waits, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards [2006]
  25. Keep The Car Running, The Arcade Fire, Neon Bible [2007]
  26. Paper Planes, M.I.A., Kala [2007]
  27. I’ll Never Give Up, Richard Thompson, Sweet Warrior [2007]
  28. Hollywood Hills, Alejandro Escovedo, Real Animal [2008]
  29. I Get So Weary, B.B. King, One Kind Favor [2008]
  30. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! [2008]
  31. Potholes, Randy Newman, Harps And Angels [2008]
  32. Let Us Down Easy, Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Cardinology [2008]
  33. Let It Rest For A Little While, Boston Spaceships Zero To 99 [2009]

Playlists of 2009—Part 2: Reissues, covers, and live tracks

recently posted a listing of top ten favorite  cds (both new music and reissues/covers/live) released in 2009 and a mix tape playlist of my favorite new music.

Below is a playlist culled from reissued cds, box sets, covers, and live versions of previously released tunes released in 2009.

E. Wayne’s Faves of 2009 (Reissues, covers, live tracks)

(Track, Artist, Album)

Riot On Sunset Strip The Standells Where The Action Is!: Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968 [Disc 1]
Back Of A Car Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs Under The Covers Vol. 2 (Deluxe Edition)
Hey Ya Booker T. Potato Hole
Cinnamon Girl Neil Young Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Things We Said Today The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night [2009 Stereo Remaster]
September Gurls Big Star Keep An Eye On The Sky – Disc 2
When I Write The Book Nick Lowe Quiet Please… The New Best Of Nick Lowe
Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go Buddy Miller The Best of the HighTone Years
Girl from the North Country Rosanne Cash The List
Frank’s Tavern – Calexico Calexico Chris Gaffney Tribute: The Man of Somebody’s Dreams
Delta Momma Blues Steve Earle Townes
Tear The Fascists Down Woody Guthrie My Dusty Road
All Things Must Pass Yim Yames Tribute To
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Live At Madison Square Garden) George Harrison Let It Roll – Songs of George Harrison (Remastered)
Hard On Me [Live] Richard Thompson Walking On A Wire: 1968-2009 [Disc 4]
The Trooper [Live] Iron Maiden Flight 666 [Live] [Disc 1]
  1. Riot On Sunset Strip, The Standells, Where The Action Is!: Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968
  2. Back Of A Car, Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs, Under The Covers Vol. 2 (Deluxe Edition)
  3. Hey Ya, Booker T., Potato Hole
  4. Cinnamon Girl, Neil YoungEverybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  5. Things We Said Today, The BeatlesA Hard Day’s Night [2009 Stereo Remaster]
  6. September Gurls, Big Star, Keep An Eye On The Sky
  7. When I Write The Book, Nick Lowe, Quiet Please… The New Best Of Nick Lowe
  8. Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go, Buddy Miller, The Best of the HighTone Years
  9. Girl from the North Country, Rosanne Cash, The List
  10. Frank’s Tavern, Calexico, Chris Gaffney Tribute: The Man of Somebody’s Dreams
  11. Delta Momma Blues, Steve Earle, Townes
  12. Tear The Fascists Down, Woody Guthrie, My Dusty Road
  13. All Things Must Pass, Yim Yames, Tribute To
  14. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Live At Madison Square Garden), George Harrison, Let It Roll – Songs of George Harrison (Remastered)
  15. Hard On Me [Live], Richard Thompson, Walking On A Wire: 1968-2009
  16. The Trooper [Live], Iron Maiden, Flight 666

Playlists of 2009—Part 1: New music favorites

I recently posted some comments on my year in music with a listing of top ten favorites (both new music and reissues/covers/live) cds released in 2009.

For years I’ve been making mix tapes of favorite tunes from my favorite albums of the year, here is my playlist of new music favorites from 2009:

E. Wayne’s Faves of 2009 (New Music)

(Track, Artist, Album)

  1. Trashed Aricraft Baby, Boston Spaceships, Zero To 99
  2. Party Time, Iggy Pop, Préliminaires
  3. Scumbag Blues, Them Crooked Vultures, Them Crooked Vultures
  4. What We Know, Sonic Youth, The Eternal
  5. You Never Know, Wilco, Wilco (The Album)
  6. We Let Her Down, Chris Isaak, Mr. Lucky
  7. Never Had Nobody Like You (Featuring Zooey Deschanel), M. Ward, Hold Time
  8. Move Along Train, Levon Helm, Electric Dirt
  9. Like A Train, Paul Burch, Still Your Man
  10. Say Please, Monsters of Folk, Monsters of Folk
  11. Avalon Or Someone Very Similar, Yo La Tengo, Popular Songs
  12. This Tornado Loves You, Neko Case, Middle Cyclone
  13. All of My Days and All of My Days Off, A.C. Newman, Get Guilty
  14. Looking Out, Brandi Carlile, Give Up the Ghost
  15. Someone Told Me, Marshall Crenshaw, Jaggedland
  16. Beyond Here Lies Nothin’, Bob Dylan, Together Through Life
  17. Sounds Like the Devil, Shemekia Copeland, Never Going Back
  18. Back Where I Started, Derek Trucks Band, Already Free
  19. Dearest Foresaken, Iron & Wine, Around the Well
  20. Where The Sun Don’t Shine, J. J. Cale, Roll On
  21. Fork In The Road, Neil Young, Fork In The Road

My year in music—E Wayne’s Faves of 2009

portable-wildcat-gold

I used to post about music much more often to WTBHNN, don’t really know why I haven’t done so lately, but thought I write up a my thoughts about what I spent my time listening to in 2009.

I continued the 2008 trend of listening to internet radio, particularly SOMA FM‘s Groove Salad (almost nightly), but also like DI.fm Ambient, SOMA FM Space Station, the Atlanta Blues Society’s Bluescast as well as traditional radio from Alberta (the always interesting mix of roots, blues, folk, soul and agricultural reporting from CKUA), Louisville, Kentucky’s WFPK (singer-songwriters, pop, blues, world rhythms, jazz, americana), and classic rhythm and blues and soul from Orlando’s Star 94.5 (the latter a carry over from our time in north central Florida back in the 1990s).

I also continue to believe that a subscription to NAPSTER is one of the all time great deals in music, particularly if you have a way to stream digital music throughout your house (like SONOS).

But even with internet radio and Napster, I found it necessary to keep buying cds (check out my 2009 collection here). I still buy by the album (as opposed to solo tracks), but this year I definitely downloaded more music than I purchased on cd (mainly eMusic, but also iTunes). A total of 149 or 9 fewer than in 2008.

My listening seemed to be more retrospective than past years—I never tried to duplicate my my LPs or cassettes in the digital format—but there was a plethora of great reissues this year including: (The Beatles, Big Star, Richard Thompson, Neil Young, Nick Lowe, etc.). And my continuing obsession with Robert Pollard‘s music moved me to buy a lot his back catalogue that I didn’t have previously. Plus the latest edition of Rhino’s Nuggets series: Where The Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968.

There were definitely some trends in my own listening. Pollard/Guided By Voices/Boston Spaceships dominated my time, as usual, with three complete albums from Spaceships and two longer players from Pollard solo, plus one from the Circus Devils and GBV’s Suitcase 3 (4 cd box set).

The Beatles stereo box is amazing (and turned Colin on to music of my youth, which is cool). I was impressed by how much better the remasters sound compared to what I listened to on my GE Wildcat portable stereo (see photo above). Let It Roll, is a fabulous single disc collection of George Harrison’s work and I also like Yim Yames’ (aka Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk) ep Tribute To Harrison.

And, one of the power pop progengy of Beatles For Sale, Big Star, got the deluxe box treatment too—Keep An Eye on the Sky is so good that even the music snobs at Pitchfork gave it a 9.3! Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs’ Under The Covers Vol 2 is not particularly innovative, but it’s lots of fun and their cover of Big Star’s “Back of the Car” is first rate.

On the new music front, Boston Spaceships tops my list with the second of their 2009 releases, Zero to 99, closely followed by Iggy Pop’s fabulous jazz album Préliminaires.

“Supergroup” Monsters of Folk (Jim James, M. Ward, Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis) eponymous release and M. Ward’s work solo and with actress Zooey Deschanel (She & Him) are outstanding alternative/pop/indie rock albums. In a similar vein, Iron & Wine, Neko Case, A. C. Newman (the latter two of The New Pornographers) all checked in with notable albums.

Speaking of supergroups, what sounds like the guy from Queens of the Stone Age singing and playing guitar with the bass player from Led Zeppelin and the drummer from Nirvana? Them Crooked Vultures.

My country/americana yearnings were deeply satisfied by Levon Helm, Paul Burch (I worked with Burch’s parents at SUNY Binghamton :), Rosanne Cash, Brandi Carlile, Dave Alvin and Todd Snider. The four disc box My Dusty Road reveals Woody Guthrie with a clarity not heard before, plus a several never released tunes.

Blusey releases by Shemekia Copeland, J. J. Cale, Derek Trucks Band (particularly the track with Susan Tedeschi singing the lead), Booker T., and Robert Cray hit the spot.

Old standbys delivering in 2009 included: Bob Dylan (who also had the best new xmas tune of the year), Wilco, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Chris Isaak, Marshall Crenshaw.

Lastly, I’m not a huge metal fan, but I loved the dvd documentary of Iron Maiden‘s world tour, Flight 666. And the cd soundtrack of the live shows was another good bit of fun for 2009.

E Wayne’s Faves of 2009 (New Music)

  1. Zero to 99, Boston Spaceships
  2. Préliminaire, Iggy Pop
  3. Together Through Life, Bob Dylan
  4. Electric Dirt, Levon Helm
  5. Popular Songs, Yo La Tengo
  6. Monsters of Folk, Monsters of Folk
  7. Them Crooked Vultures, Them Crooked Vultures
  8. The Eternal, Sonic Youth
  9. Middle Cyclone, Neko Case
  10. Still Your Man, Paul Burch

E Wayne’s Fave Reissues/Boxes 2009

  1. The Beatles stereo box
  2. Walking On A Wire: 1968-2009, Richard Thompson
  3. Keep An Eye On The Sky, Big Star
  4. Quiet Please: The New Best of Nick Lowe
  5. Let It Roll – Songs of George Harrison (Remastered)
  6. My Dusty Road, Woody Guthrie
  7. Chris Gaffney Tribute: The Man of Somebody’s Dreams, Various Artists
  8. Flight 666, Iron Maiden
  9. Best of the Hightone Years, Buddy Miller
  10. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Neil Young

Rock & Rap Confidential … just exactly why do we need the music industry?

From Rock & Rap Confidential:

JUST EXACTLY WHY DO WE NEED THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?… Fred Wilhelms writes: I have a good friend, Jon Newton, who for the past couple years, has graciously provided me, through his website p2pnet.net a place to stand and swing at the evils of the music business.  Jon has teamed up with Billy Bragg (who recently engaged in a discussion with Jon on the p2pnet messageboard) to form a2f2a.com (Artist2Fan2Artist) as a place for artists and their fans to discuss issues like filesharing and copyright without having the “industry” get in the way.  It’s an effort to define what we all know is the common interest in seeing that artists are compensated by the people willing to support their work, without the middlemen as far as possible.  Jon is looking for artists to join in the discussion, which has been extraordinarily civil as these things go, because, up to now, Billy has been holding down the fort by himself (admirably, I must say, even if he remains resistant to the overwhelming logic of my own opinions.)  [Fred Wilhelms is an attorney in Nashville]

Power, class, and warfare: Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” turns 25

Christian Christensen explores the quarter-century long misunderstanding of Bruce Springsteen’s most famous song in a short, but incisive critique published in yesterday’s edition of CounterPunch.

Born in the USA is one of a small number of songs, films or television programmes (produced in large part in the United States) that can generate near-physical negative reactions with a mere mention of the title. (Films like Rambo and TV shows like The Jerry Springer Show fall into this category.) When the song was released, my own response to Springsteen’s creation, as a 15-year-old American boy living in the United Kingdom, was in line with those of many of my British friends: bemusement and indignation toward what appeared to be little more than a mindless anthem trumpeting the virtues of patriotism and American egomania. The song was brash, bragging and – to the irritation of people who despised the politics of Thatcher and Reagan – amazingly popular.

The song was embraced by the right as an anthem of triumphant nationalism in the 1980s, despite it’s critical lyrics. Springsteen’s politics in the eighties where not so well known and allowed listener’s to easily construct contradictory meanings.

In a 2004 interview in Rolling Stone magazine, Springsteen was philosophical about the relationship between himself and his fans, noting that audiences often engage in selective listening, suggesting that the meaning of popular music is as much the creation of the fan as it is of the band or the musician. Perhaps he was thinking of the various interpretations of Born in the USA when he said: “Pop musicians live in the world of symbology. You live and die by the symbol in many ways. You serve at the behest of your audience’s imagination. It’s a complicated relationship”.

Despite the right’s co-optation of Born in the USA, Christensen argues “the song continues to provide listeners with a reminder of the relationship between power, class and warfare.” And I agree. Indeed the same could be said of the majority of Springsteen’s oeuvre. But Christensen argues there is huge gap between image and reality when it comes to Springsteen work these days and points to the contradictions of his musical themes and images against his exclusive distribution deal with Wal-Mart, playing the Bridgestone/Firestone Super Bowl Half Time Show, etc.

The singer noted that when an artist’s work meets reality, the results can be painful for fans. “The audience and the artist are valuable to one another as long as you can look out there and see yourself, and they look back and see themselves,” he said. “When that bond is broken, by your own individual beliefs, personal thoughts or personal actions, it can make people angry. As simple as that.”