Thursday, November 30, 2017

Book Review: Born to Run

When Bruce Springsteen released "Born in the USA," I remember as a teenager how much I liked that album. Every song struck a different chord, and that's when I knew Springsteen was in fact a musical artist aside from his fame as an entertainment juggernaut. In college, "Born to Run" became a theme song for me, especially with the line: "We're gonna get to that place that we really want to go and we'll walk in the sun..." Springsteen forges deep connections through his songs. For readers, Springsteen's autobiography is nothing short of taking an incredible vacation with a terrific talent.
To start, Springsteen invites readers into his childhood of growing up in low-income housing with people in New Jersey who impressed him as interesting characters. He tells readers that from an early age, he was drawn to music and the stage. I admire his significant level of thinking when he was barely finished with high school. At 18, I would be lucky enough to dance and enjoy myself in the company of friends while sometimes singing along with the band on my best nights. Springsteen, at the age of 18, paid very close attention to the instrumentation and musical intelligence on display at local shows. He marveled at some acts and personally critiqued others. He always was, as he humbly says, a natural.

Throughout this story of his life, Springsteen reveals himself to be a conflicted man. He feels life deeply and absorbs everything around him. Having grown a great heart for people who struggle to survive like all those he came to know and love in New Jersey, he initially rejects his fame and fortune. In this book, we learn how Springsteen produces music to capture stories and themes, culture and characters, mixed emotions and unsettling conclusions. Overall, Springsteen's autobiography invites readers into an accessible contemplation of how music can beautifully and brutally express the human condition. And through it all, Springsteen overcomes adversity. He sees life honestly and moves through its murky depths with hope and love and heartbreak and passion, all with never-ending determination.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run."

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