by Alex Gilman, Music Department Manager at Bookmans Flagstaff
I grew up knowing musical artists before I knew their work. Because of that, I had certain ideas about their work before I ever listened to their music. Bruce Springsteen is one example, but in many ways, the perfect one. My introduction to The Boss was a cultural one. Hearing his name on TV or the radio and seeing the context in which he was portrayed, built this image of the rock ‘n’ roll legend people believe him to be. I knew Born in the USA and I could maybe pick out the odd song on the radio, but I had never gone through a full album. I never looked for it. Bruce is a cultural icon for rock, noted and filed. No more thought needed or given. Then one day, I listened. I popped a greatest hits CD into my computer that day. As the music played, my disappointment grew. The Boss didn’t meet my expectations for what he was supposed to sound like. The sound was too clean, too soft to be the guy who represents the hard working American. The mental images evoked when thinking of Springsteen’s music are of oil smeared mechanics and coal dusted miners working hard for their piece of the American Dream. The mental image evoked when I actually listen to his music clashes with the legend.