Rock legend Springsteen to perform in Indianapolis

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By: Renny Logan <rlogan@hilite.org>

Since his first album released in 1973, 35 years ago, Bruce Springsteen has enjoyed a long and truly impressive musical career. With both continual commercial and long-lasting success, Springsteen has little cause for complaint.

That’s not to say his career has been without drawbacks or struggles along the way, including a legal battle at the dawn of his career, but it has certainly been an admirable one. And on Thursday, Springsteen and the E Street Band are scheduled to play at Conseco Fieldhouse in support of his recent release “Magic.”

n 35 years, Springsteen produced more than 20 releases. Of those, his greatest commercial success was the lyrically misinterpreted “Born in the U.S.A.,” released in 1984. The confusion with “Born in the U.S.A.” was that many thought it was a wildly patriotic album, when the title track itself actually told the story of a Vietnam veteran and spoke out against war. However, it was “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” released six years prior to “U.S.A.,” that marked a turning point in his career.

Though Springsteen has often been lumped into the genre of folk-rock and once hailed as the next Bob Dylan, he is more properly placed within the general rock category. His first release “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.” was an entirely acoustic album, but throughout his career he broke away from this Bob Dylan-like style.

Vocally, Springsteen has a unique fullness to his voice, and his vocal intonations have an almost Elvis Presley-like quality. Despite his limited vocal range, Springsteen is able to diversify his singing through other methods, such as softening his voice at key moments in a song while singing more roughly at others. In this way, he saves himself from sounding monotonous, as many artists with limited range often sound.

Born in a working class family, Springsteen turned to music as an escape from his run-of-the-mill life. It is interesting that, once so desperate for a way out, Springsteen should refocus his attention on the lower class lifestyle of Americans.
Inspired by the works of Flannery O’Connor and the novel Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Springsteen focused on social and economic injustices in “Darkness.” Lyrically, he turned away from the content of mainstream music and instead vocalized the struggles of ordinary Americans.
In the song “Factory,” for example, Springsteen sings “End of the day, factory whistle cries/Men walk through these gates with death in their eyes… It’s the working, the working, just the working life.”

In music today, or even in the artists of yesteryear, lyrics didn’t have such a tendency to be sublime. From songs of glamorous lifestyles to gritty political statements, it always seems everyday struggles of ordinary Americans aren’t important enough.

In contrast, “Darkness on the Edge of Town” spins a rather comforting sound with empathetic lyrics. For once, there’s an artist who isn’t flashing golden jewelry or expensive clothing, but instead is commonly seen adorned with a white T-shirt and ragged jeans, singing, “I’ll be on that hill with everything I got/Lives on the line where dreams are found and lost/I’ll be there on time and I’ll pay the cost/For wanting things that can only be found/In the darkness on the edge of town.”

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