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Counting Down Bruce Springsteen
His 100 Finest Songs

by Jim Beviglia

 

 

 

 

America's George M. Cohan, Woodie Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. What do these timeless songsters have in common? Each has created important American anthems that entertain while capturing a Nation’s moods; ebbs and flow. And two of the music makers have a song-by-song biographer in author Jim Beviglia.

Here, in his latest Counting Down (his last was Dylan) he talks about one hundred of Springsteen’s songs with researched knowledge. Unlike, say, that crapfest on Clash songs were the writer just opinionated to and fro spewing words like one of those spinning paint machine a child uses to create “art”.

There are 100 songs, from little known (en masse) to the radio toppers. And, for the sake of being to the point, there are two that can give a fan reason enough to covet this book: The Wrestler, and Born in the USA.

Beviglia, as with each title, shares insight into the song, and his opinion. Here, in The Wrestler, song-wise is the visceral process the movie-soundtrack author goes through. Getting into the character's mind-state, defeated life. Yet, he must be likeable and familiar. Springsteen managed it. Then, Beviglia gets personal as the song was not nominated for an Oscar: “Springsteen’s song undoubtedly stands high above most…integrity, truth, and raw power…” Here, the fan shines through. He’s right, it’s just adorable how tantrum-y he gets, while still being spot on about the song, along with Mickey Rourke, not being honored or even acknowledged....

And, in Born in the USA (where Beviglia is able to work in the word kerfuffle!) we are reminded that beneath the now-anthem, was a Vietnam veterans’ return and war’s emotional impact…people still miss that. Instead, being blissfully happy to go arms aloft with a can-o-beer towards the volume 11 speaker to toast being an American.

The book is about the songs. But, you learn a lot about Bruce through the lyrics and their use or analysis of course. And, Counting Down Springsteen is fun to read for people who love music; it is equivalent to well-read gallery essays on say Van Gogh. But, it is simply a must have for Springsteen fans. You may debate, adore or dislike Beviglia's views, but still relish in the study of each work.

 

 

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