I love reading. I especially love reading biographies and have done ever since I was a child (or at least a teenager). So when I browsed the local library a few weeks ago, and spotted Bruce, I borrowed it and brought it home to read.
And what a book! It’s a well written biography, and despite the enormous amount of facts present in the book, it’s a joy to read, and doesn’t feel as information-laden as it actually is. But what really made me enjoy this book was Bruce himself. What a story. What a character. And jeez, what a skilled person, in his craft. Gifted musician, extremely (!!!) productive composer, and a very special singer, with a distinct voice.
Born to run is an album my older brother introduced me to when I was a kid, which was my entryway to Bruce Springsteen, and in a sense, I never got past it. I still think it’s the best he’s done, and Jungleland is, to this day, one of my absolute favorite songs. In my teens I listened to it over and over, drawn to the drama of the story, the varying sounds and atmospheres, and the powerful feeling of the entire song. But it’s been a while since I listened to it, so when I came upon the part of the book telling the story of the creation of that specific album, I immediately found it on Spotify, and started to listen. And did so with a new sensation, a deeper background, an understanding making me hear more in each song, picking up on the feeling behind, that which is sensed rather than heard.
While reading this book, a feeling grew stronger and stronger within me:
People are not what they seem to be. There’s so much more to each and every one of us, than what is apparent on the outside.
Even though this is not an autobiography, I got many glimpses of the person behind the public figure of Bruce Springsteen aka The Boss. And my reverie grew, page after page. For Bruce. His father, mother, grandparents. For people who tries to make the best of what they got, even when their best is far from sufficient… For the talented people walking alongside Bruce throughout his career. And for the audience, the listeners, the fans.
As I read, my reverie grew for human beings. We do try to make the best of what we get, and sometimes, it turns out absolutely magnificent. Sometimes, we end up with total rubbish, disaster, chaos and dread. Sometimes, the distance between a point of magnificence and a point of disaster is mere millimeters or seconds apart. The high’s and low’s of life. That’s what it is to be human. That is the Human Experience. And no one escapes it. Not me. Not you. Not Bruce. There’s no protection from it, thank God. Because without it, life would not be worth living. Life is made up of moments of high’s and low’s. And every single human being on Earth lives life according to this basic premise.
Outside the street’s on fire
In a real death waltz
Between what’s flesh and what’s fantasy
And the poets down here
Don’t write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be
And in the quick of the night
They reach for their moment
And try to make an honest stand
But they wind up wounded
Not even dead
Tonight in Jungleland
First published on my blog on September 8th, 2016: https://helenaroth.com/bruce-more-than-meets-the-ear-and-eye/
Audio production: Caspian Almerud
Photography: Anders Roos http://www.andersroos.nu/
Soundtrack: Olof Jennfors Ljudtjänst http://jennforsljud.se/