On December 14, 2017, I sat in the second row mezzanine at Walter Kerr Theatre, about 60 feet from Bruce Springsteen. It was the closest I’d ever been, and the clearest I’d heard him over ten concerts I’ve attended. Unfortunately, it was my least favorite of his shows.
As a performer being honored, essentially, for her empathy, it’s entirely appropriate for Streep to highlight a performance anathema to her life’s work. In context, she was saying “performers have great power and great responsibility.”
The song is so catchy, it makes you root for the guy who won’t take no for an answer. Our cultural norm, constantly reinforced in music and movies, is that a little resistance is good, but real men are persistent and get what they want in the end; furthermore, women like it that way.
If you want to introduce someone who doesn’t know Springsteen to his work, there’s now a definitive choice. Ten middle-set songs by a band playing as well as they ever would, among the best mixed and mastered material in the entire Springsteen archive.
I’m amazed, humbled, and grateful that you’ve found Moss Island and read what comes out of my head. Thank you. Here’s to the year ahead, and a glance behind at my favorite things in 2015.
Moss Island’s agonizingly whittled-down list of the greatest Christmas songs ever. The shortlist started at 40. These are the best.
A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records is a distillation of Phil Spector’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Wall of Sound, over-the-top but perfect as a Christmas confection.
Steven Van Zandt has long complained that Springsteen held back his best material. Considered with The Promise, The Ties That Bind proves the point.
Adele’s musical gift is her voice, a once-in-a-generation talent that wraps itself around notes with astonishing power and variety; her phrasing is always masterful, often surprising. As a songwriter, she favors a strong melody and elemental sentiments – her compositions are fresh but seem timeless.
The Angel is refreshingly unromantic and avoids cliche…the words work better when considered as a twilight reverie, without insisting on coherence. Musically, it’s an easily overlooked gem.