SAMLA Durham NC Nov.9-11/2012: Bruce Springsteen and the American Soul: Songs of Conscience on His Three Albums The Rising, Magi
As a voice for his baby boom generation Bruce Springsteen has been the conscience of Rock n' Roll for Forty Years, especially in three of his last four albums: The Rising (2002 is an expiatory reflection/meditation on the tragedy of 9/11; Magic (2007) is an indictment of the Bush Administration's rush to war and torture, and Wreckin' Ball (2012) is an angry denunciation of Wall Street Greed and indifference to working class Americans. Art, to be the most evocative for the audience, works best when it becomes a mirror in which an audience may become conscious of what their own feelings really are. These are impressionistic songs that were not didactic narratives of events but emotional outcomes of what the events meant to people. Springsteen synthesized diverse characterizations and emotions, not didactically, but as expressions of emotionally effusive outcomes of the inner thoughts he dramatized. The cumulative effect of these songs embraces the mystical unity of shared commiseration--the intuitive wish to feel that one is not alone but now and again integral to a larger spiritual realm that the Christian mystics called, the Vision of Agape, which is a love for all existence or as Schopenhauer said, who was the first Western philosopher to fully embrace Eastern mysticism: "Do no harm and compassion for all."
The songs will be analyzed to show how he achieved these effects.