Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Critic: Theon Weber
Publication: Stylus, 2007
Writing Disorders: Purple Hemorrhage
Theon, you don’t start well. I suppose maybe 30 dudes who wear women’s jeans won’t count themselves among the snubbed, but you don’t exactly reel in the readers with your intro:
“Cliché is Bruce Springsteen’s métier.”
Okay, I understand that the common cretin can’t pierce the nuances of music like you can, but could you at least have STARTED your review with something that doesn’t require a French dictionary to decipher? Then there’s this:
“The Boss has always understood the diners and motorcycles and dotted yellow lines that others who cram them into verse have heads stuffed too full of tarot, dharma, and Zarathustra to really touch.”
That was your second sentence. You managed to appeal to the Springsteen-wise psychic, Hindu, and Nietzsche-reading audience. Way to go. The rest of us have no clue what the hell you’re getting at.
And onward came the scorn. Here’s my favorite:
“but a second later the song’s just words and fuzz and 4/4”
Theon, most rock music is 4/4 or 3/4. Deal with it. When a band writes a song in 7/4, that doesn’t automatically make it vastly superior to a song in 4 bar blues. It’s just that some bands say, “I don’t want to sound like Dream Theater.” It’s fine if you want to tout your knowledge of time signatures. In other reviews maybe you even mention modes. But it’s a dumb argument to say that anything in old-fashioned blues or country is SOoooOOOoooOOO passé. It’s a dumb argument.
Yet all of this was really small in comparison to something I discovered about your writing. Here’s an example I yanked from your review to illustrate:
“Other tracks sound like piles of debris, gathered-up mounds of roadside weeds, this from Route 61 and this from the 405 and this from Bruce’s driveway, and if those have nothing in common save asphalt that’s the only thing these songs manage to describe.”
Let’s keep what you wrote and just alter the formatting, shall we?
Sound like piles of debris,
Gathered up mounds of roadside weeds;
This from Route 61,
And this from the 405,
And this from Bruce’s driveway.
And if those have nothing in common –
Save asphalt –
That’s the only thing
These songs manage to describe.”
See what happened there? I turned your metaphor-heavy, long-ass sentence into verse simply by changing the formatting and punctuation. You write in verse. Whether or not you want to admit it, you’re a poet at your core. Funny that you give another dude’s verse a rating of decent (C). Maybe you should send the Boss your writing, Bard. I’m sure he’ll see just where he went wrong.