Bruce Springsteen (on being born a 99% American)

Springsteen is singing in my living room. The album art is very 1980s, and Bruce looks like a boy, but he was writing and shouting like a man. It’s a pop-cult quote o’ the day!

Five years in China was five years removed from my modest collection of vinyl records and my turntable. Even on summers home, which gave me access to Hewitt’s Dairy and good chocolate and real hamburgers, yes, and libraries and bookstores, too, there was no listening to the old records because our home was rented out. I don’t have much of the collection that I had as a kid and as a young man, and (mainly) thank goodness and improving taste for that. (Divorce helped, too.) No John Denver, no Grand Funk Railroad, no diminishing returns of obsessively buying every progressively more disappointing Chicago album and only belatedly accepting that they’d left their soul in the ’60s.

I play through what’s left, though, and I’m about three quarters of the way through listening to the whole cabinet. After bouts of Talking Heads and Steely Dan, and a week of playing The Atlantic Family Live at Montreux – the Average White Band and a host of other jazz players blowing their brains out, fine stuff that doesn’t age for me at all – I flipped this morning to what is probably one of my bride’s earliest LP purchases, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. The title song slays me.

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