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Working man’s dream

You’ll have to forgive Bruce Springsteen if it sounds like all he’s talked about over the last eight years is George W. Bush.

You’ll have to forgive Bruce Springsteen if it sounds like all he’s talked about over the last eight years is George W. Bush. It’s no secret that he detested the ex-president’s policies and he campaigned vigorously for Barack Obama.

While some people might be turned off by the Boss’ politics, if anyone knows what middle-class America needs, it’s this rugged rock star. The legendary guitar slinger has penned a plethora of tunes from the point of view of the down-on-your luck dude, or the guy traipsing along the open road. One of his earliest hits, Born To Run, was about disillusioned 20-something’s in search of the American dream, while Outlaw Pete, the first track off his new album, Working on a Dream, talks about a run-down character who can’t escape his past.

Throughout his 35-year career, Springsteen’s championing of the little guy hasn’t wavered. Though, with Obama now in office, it sounds like life for Springsteen’s America could get a little easier.

“You spend 35 years singing your songs about a place. And you see that place in things that people are doing in their communities from city to city on a local basis. But you don’t see it on a national level,” he told the Guardian recently. “So you work under the assumption that you have some small thing that you can do about it … And then something happens that you didn’t think you might see in your lifetime, which is that that country actually shows its face one night, on election night.”

Getting to this point, where he can feel good about the state of his country, has been a tough slog. Not only has America come a long way, but his own career has too. After struggling to obtain commercial success in the early 70s, the Boss had huge hits with a number of albums, including The River and Born In the U.S.A.

Near the end of 80s and the early 90s, however, he divorced his wife, hooked up with current partner and bandmate Patti Scialfa, dissolved the E Street Band to scorn from fans, and two albums, Human Touch and Lucky Town, failed to resonate with his followers.

Although he won a Grammy for Streets of Philadelphia in 1994, a changing musical landscape and a growing family — he has two sons and a daughter — took Springsteen out of the spotlight for a number of years.

But no one can keep the Boss down, especially when America’s hurting. In 2002 he teamed up with his old band and released The Rising, a raw collection of tunes that centred around the aftermath of 9/11.

He followed that up with Magic, a scathing indictment of the Bush administration. Both albums were big hits, proving that you should never piss off Bruce Springsteen.

Now, though, with his country’s future seemingly on the right track, he is noticeably more optimistic on Working on a Dream. Some might miss the angry Springsteen, but as he nears 60, it’s probably a good time for him to finally relax too.

The new Boss
Springsteen’s new album Working On A Dream is available in stores starting today.

 
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