Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Boss is back! (As if he ever left)

Bruce decided to take most of last week off and let us all catch our breath after his PR blitz leading up to the Super Bowl frenzy and the Crotch Heard Round the World (gonna be a long time before that one gets old) necessitated a massive recap of all his activities. He showed up for a minute to post his Super Bowl Journal on his official page, which alone is worth revisiting for its sheer brilliance (That's your cue to go check it out if you showed up late to the party. Don't worry, we'll still be here when you're done). Luckily, in the week since, The Boss has returned to his usual headline-grabbing, so we have a little bit more material to run through this week than a single-item recap, which I suppose wouldn't be much of a recap at all but more like a repost, which seems a bit redundant. What the hell was I talking about?

Is there anybody ALIVE out there???

Oh, right. Thanks, Boss. As I was attempting to say before I went all ADD, my Google reader was alive this week with all manner of Bruceness, so it is once again time to bring you the most fist-pumping feature in the history of these here interwebs and review the week that was in Bruce news. As per last time, we'll rate each item on a scale of one to five Rockin New Jersey Fist Pumps. Five Jersey Fists if the story makes you want to powerslide into someone's face, one Jersey Fist if the story is so miserable that you'd rather listen to Bon Jovi than read about it ::Imagines actually wanting to listen to Bon Jovi. Punches self in face with solitary Jersey Fist::
(Quick side note, I'm going to need a sweet name for these Jersey Fist Bruce Springsteen recaps if the guy is gonna keep making news. "Keeping Up With The Boss?" "Fist Week Ever?" Help me out here, people).

First things first, Pitchfork Media's interview series with up-and-coming, youngish artists about how Springsteen has influenced them has expanded and is now being hosted on Bruce's official site under the title "Hangin Out on E Street" (apparently I'm not the only one who needs help thinking of titles). Jersey guys the Gaslight Anthem, Ted Leo, Bouncing Souls and Schiff Happens inspiration Wyclef Jean - as well as some other folks who, though talented, can't say they hail from the great Garden State - talk about The Boss and then play a cover of one of his tunes. The point of the thing is to show how Bruce's influence has widened beyond the scope of mainstream rock. I've never been much for indie rock, but I'm all for this. It's just one more talking point for Springsteen fans when the non-Jersey people and the too-hip-for-you-old-man indie kids continue to fail or be unwilling to understand the magnitude of Springsteen's appeal, influence and legend. Face it, indie kids - The Hold Steady made it cool to dig Bruce, and if you don't like it, here's 3 Jersey Fists right in your face. Now wash your damn hair and put a smile on your face you miserable skinny jeans wearing fuck. (Scoring Note: This would have been a 4-Fister, but apparently doesn't have much of a budget for acoustics quality control).

Next on the Bruce Watch, Springsteen debuted his video for "The Wrestler" about 2 months too late to prevent the Oscars from snubbing him for Best Original Song. I still have yet to see the movie but I truly do dig this song, and not just because it's simple enough to play that even I can strum along with it on guitar, but because I can't help but get choked up by toned-down acoustic Bruce singing sad songs about one-legged dogs and melancholy characters searching for meaning in this lonely life when society has turned its back on you. I also get emotional for run-on sentences. The fact that the Oscars so obviously effed up by snubbing Bruce and only nominating three songs is made all the more hilarious by Peter Gabriel's refusal to perform his “Down To Earth” from Wall-E in protest of the ceremony's 65-second-per-song rule. Now the Oscars are left with only a pair of Slumdog Millionaire tunes and are so desperate for performers that they've begged offered to let new mum M.I.A. perform Slumdog's "O Saya" from "some sort of fabulous bed on stage." An outdated awards show blatantly effs up and Bruce has the last laugh? That'll get you 4 Jersey Fists every time.

Meanwhile, while we were watching "The Wrestler" video, Bonnaroo posted live Springsteen videos on its web site - "Thunder Road" from Live in New York City and "Promised Land" from Live in Barcelona. There's absolutely nothing here that can't be purchased from your local public television station for a recession-friendly donation of only $200 - hey, at least it's a tax write-off - but it validates this pipe dream that I had that Bruce Springsteen and the legendary E Street Band were headlining freakin' Bonnaroo (BOSSaroo? BonnaRUUCE?) this summer! New Jersey 'Roo domination is the ultimate hype generator around here, so for that we give this one 3 Jersey Fists (if only because the videos themselves really are nothing new) as we are compelled to ask again, "Who's comin with me?"

Finally, Point Blank alerted us to upcoming albums that feature The Boss, which wouldn't necessarily matter one way or another except that one of those albums belongs to none other than Bernie Williams! Before Bernie became a superstar musician, he patrolled centerfield for the Dynasty Yankees, and his penchant for clutch hits launched a new era of awful John Sterling home run call nicknames. Bernie's new album "Moving Forward," due out April 14, includes a live version of "Glory Days" recorded with The Boss himself at Joe Torre's Safe At Home benefit in November 2007. Bruce and Bernie, the Bombers and The Boss together? Are there any 2 more dominating, legendary figures in their respective fields than Springsteen and the Yankees? More importantly, is there any combination more apt to stir Schiff Happens into a screaming, fist-pumping lather? Bruce cedes the floor to that other Boss, as this one gets an obvious 5 Jersey Fists.

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