Oct 072016

I don’t often go picking on something beloved without a perceived greater purpose, but I’m going to today. I don’t like Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road.” I never have, and I never will. Furthermore I don’t understand what is supposed to be so appealing about it. (There are lots of songs I don’t necessarily like but can appreciate.)

For years I thought it was a Springsteen smash I somehow kept missing, and then the first time I ever heard it and knew I was listening to it I was like “oh yeah, that song. Wait—that’s ‘Thunder Road’?”

Now I recognize that part of this is that I’ve never much connected with Bruce Springsteen anyway. I mean, I can hear that “Born to Run” is a good song, Born in the USA is a very well-crafted album, and so forth. I even dug “Atlantic City” on Nebraska. But it’s all just in RAM, you know? I’ve never been able to relate to people who can call forth endless gushing from their hard drives about what a masterful and inspiring artist he is. And I have to think it’s not just that my parents were white collar and I never lived anywhere truly economically depressed, either. I know lots of people like that who love Springsteen.

But with “Thunder Road,” I can’t even get to a spot where I can appreciate the lyrics about one more shot, and making it real, and so forth, because I think the song is a mess. The instrumentals that begin and end it are enjoyable, but is the song not borderline-incoherent in between? Is there enough melody to even whistle it? What the hell is the big deal here? Is this one of the greatest cases of The Emperor’s New Clothes in popular music ever?

I’m a fairly well-listened rock ‘n’ roll fan who can’t connect with “Thunder Road.” Explain it to me, Internets.

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 Posted by at 8:04 am

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