BROOOOOOCE performing at the Grammy Awards (AP)
Coming off an invigorating performance to kickoff the Grammy Awards,
Bruce BROOOOOCE Springsteen was in Paris this week to formally introduce his new album, Wrecking Ball, for a select group of reporters. Springsteen gave over much of the press conference to discussing the current state of American politics, and how his “angry patriotism” was reflected in the new music: “Previous to Occupy Wall Street, there was no push back at all saying this was outrageous—a basic theft that struck at the heart of what America was about, a complete disregard for the American sense of history and community.”
Springsteen expects some people may misunderstand the politically charged songs—a mix of folk music, gospel music and the E-Street Band sound—on the new album, just as Ronald Reagan misunderstood “Born In The USA” almost 30 years ago. That’s especially true for the rousing first single “We Take Care Of Our Own,” an ironic song that sums up the broken promises of the country as far as Springsteen sees it. “I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream…What was done to our country was wrong and unpatriotic and un-American and nobody has been held to account,” he later told the Guardian. “There is a real patriotism underneath the best of my music but it is a critical, questioning and often angry patriotism.”
He had particular praise for OWS: “The temper has changed. And people on the streets did it. Occupy Wall Street changed the national conversation—the Tea Party had set it for a while. The first three years of Obama were under them.” And he thinks OWS is directly responsible for certain Tiffanys-loving politicians talking about economic equality for the first time: “Nobody had talked about income inequality in America for decades—apart from John Edwards—but no one was listening. But now you have Newt Gingrich talking about ‘vulture capitalism’—Newt Gingrich!—that would not have happened without Occupy Wall Street.”
Although he said he wouldn’t campaign for Obama this election—”the Bush years were so horrific you could not just sit around” he remarked about campaigning in 2004 and 2008— Springsteen did have praise for what Bam has been able to do in office:
He kept General Motors alive, he got through healthcare—though not the public system I would have wanted—he killed Osama Bin Laden, and he brought sanity to the top level of government. But big business still has too much say in government and there has not been as many middle- or working-class voices in the administration as I expected. I thought Guantanamo would have been closed but now, but he got us out of Iraq and I guess we will soon be out of Afghanistan.
But the day wasn’t all about politics—Springsteen also spoke about Clarence Clemons, the longtime E-Street Band saxophonist who passed away last year. This album will feature his last recorded performances with the group: “Losing Clarence is like losing something elemental, like the rain…When the sax comes up on ‘Land of Hope and Dreams,’ it’s a lovely moment for me.” He also took time to sign autographs!