Usually this weekly glimpse in the rearview mirror dredges up some ancient review I wrote, along with an introduction that involves varying degrees of current anguish over the wonky way I put the words together way back when. This time around, I’m going to opt for something a little different.
In honor of Bruce Springsteen receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, here is, as best as I can digitally collate, everything I’ve written about The Boss.
–One of the first time I put fingers to keys to reflect on Springsteen’s work, it was to level a negative assessment of the state of his career at that point. Spectrum Culture, the website I used to write for, inaugurated the List Inconsequential feature with “Great Musicians Who Haven’t Made a Great Album in At Least 10 Years.” In the fall of 2011, I felt that assessment applied to Springsteen. I stand by everything in that blurb — especially my contempt for the production style of Brendan O’Brien — but Springsteen would prove my dismissal premature just a few months later.
–In the spring of 2012, Springsteen released Wrecking Ball, and I reviewed it for Spectrum Culture. I still think it stands as his best record of new material since the mid-nineties.
–The performer’s next full-length was far less satisfying, in no small part because it comes across as guitarist Tom Morello’s weird fan fiction, like he wishcasted the Springsteen album he’d always wanted to hear. Freshly sprung from Spectrum Culture, High Hopes represented one of the first record reviews I posted on this site.
–At right around the same time, I had my first opportunity to write about one of Springsteen’s classic albums when I selectively started a new College Countdown at the point that would necessitate spinning out a few words about Darkness on the Edge of Town.
–I’ll finish with a piece that predates most of the above and was inspired by far sadder circumstances. Upon his death, I wrote a remembrance of Clarence Clemons that, as much as any of these others, really gets at how important, how moving, how thrilling Springsteen’s music has been to me over the years.