Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dear Bruce Springsteen

Dear Bruce Springsteen,

This is an open letter from Alien Corpse, intergalactic music snob and fellow prophet to the masses. I recently encountered an over-priced copy of your latest souped-up CD "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions" during a recent invasion of Starbucks (which must to my surprise is now posing as a music store and movie production company). I would like to share with you my initial reaction to your start-studded cover album of Pete Seeger classics.

First, thanks for introducing your listeners to the real roots of folksy protest music. In the wake of the latest war, 18-35 year-olds across the country have strummed their guitars in coffee houses singing whiny-though-intended-to-be-wise lyrics satirizing Bush. You have reminded us that Peter Seeger, Woody Guthrie and pre-electric Bob Dylan perfected this politically-charged genre as an actual art-form. May the corduroyed bards of our day take note. Perhaps your covers of Seeger will serve as a gateway drug to the classics of folk music.

Second, beware of turning backwards. Bruce, you are already established as a rock legend. Reaching back to pre-rock roots reminds us just how old you are. Yet you have so recently shown that your music can forge ahead. Cover-albums of classics are a common sign of decline for an established artist. As you enter the pantheon of rock, you have a choice before you. Do you want to go the way of Rod Stewart, who wastes his cock-rock chops on the "Great American Songbook"? Or do you want to go glory route of Johnny Cash, who under Rick Rubin's guidance covered contemporary songs in his third and final comeback? I suggest the latter as befiting your greatness, but this latest record runs the risk of ending up like the former.

Third, shame on you for allowing your CD to be processed in a composite DVD format that does not play on many CD players. This kind of packaging, which has little to do with offering a mutli-media product and more to do with preventing piracy, betrays everything that leftist folk music stands for. Thus the form of this record betrays the content to the disappointment of many who try to enjoy your music in a '91 Volvo.

Sincerely,
Alien Corpse

5 comments:

Samuel Bills said...

P.S.
I echo many of alien's sentiments. I am willing to give some grace because Devils and Dust was that amazing. Though I also question some of the publicity and packaging of this album - I mean you played Good Morning America on the release day - I want to think that was ironic - I appreciate the irony of a lot of your art - but I am confused.
Dear aliencorpse -
Wait a minute I liked Cash's album and thought it had a cool handing it off to a new generation feel to it.

ALIEN CORPSE said...

sam,
I was speaking positively of Cash's album, contrasting it with Rod Stewart as a sort of fork in the road, saying that Bruce ought to choose the Cash road not the Rod road.

maybe I'll edit my letter to make that clearer

j

Tim said...

Though I am writing this comment as a dispassionate observer, I would have to agree with ALIEN's sentiment in this matter. Springsteen is on real thin ice with this one.

There is one important distinction to make, though. I don't think Springsteen is in any danger of covering standards and appearing as a guest vocal coach on American Idol, a la Rod Stewart. Springsteen is a consummate "rocker," a rebel constantly seeking a cause...desperately seeking, oh please, someone give me a cause.

danszombathy said...

I think it's hilarious that Springsteen put together a whole album covering songs written by a communist. :)

Vote for Change!

Tim said...

maybe I need to correct myself as Springsteen gave permission for "Taylor" to sing "dancing in the dark" on American Idol tonight...say hello to the new Rod Stewart!