Born down in a dead man’s town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much
‘Til you spend half your life just covering up
Born in the U.S.A. is the seventh studio album by Bruce Springsteen, it was released on June 4, 1984. A critical and commercial triumph, it found Springsteen marking a departure in his sound.
While the predecessor, the dark and acoustic Nebraska featured songs of pessimism and isolation, Born in the U.S.A.’s lyrics expressed signs of hope in the daily fight of the standard American in following the American Dream, a new feeling complemented by synthesized arrangements and a pop-flavored, radio-oriented sound that helped Springsteen to extend his popularity and appeal to mainstream audiences.
Born in the USA (Live Paris, 1985):
Ronald Reagan, during his 1984 re-election campaign, tried to coast on the rising popularity of Bruce Springsteen and Born in the U.S.A. :
“America’s future rests in a thousand dreams inside our hearts,” Reagan said at a stump speech in Hammonton, New Jersey. “It rests in the message of hope in the songs of a man so many young Americans admire: New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen.”
Has a song ever been so misunderstood? Maybe if he heard the following version he would have hesitated…
Born in the USA (acoustic, slow bluesy):
Born in the U.S.A. is not so different from Nebraska, it told stories of the same struggle, but this time it was set to a faster rhythm and accompanied by electric guitars (and The E-Street Band in top form). I played it a lot when it came out, bought all the singles (7 of them reached top 10!). Got the Maxi- single vinyl box and then the CD. These days I’m streaming the album on Spotify but the music is the same and it reminds me of 1984 every time I play it. Maybe it’s the production (those terribly sharp drums) or maybe it’s just a strong 1984 reference for me.
It took a while before I understood the seriousness of the lyrics, the songs where so happy or anthemic. I understand why Reagen made his mistake.
I still like the album, but there are at least 4 Springsteen albums i rather choose to play. Not because it’s bad, but because radio (and MTV) played it literary, to death. When I do put in on the record player it always amazes me, the strong songs the playing and the full force rock’n roll.
Live , the songs shine even brighter!
They have been lifted up and sound thunderous in concert. Springsteen has embraced their anthemic nature and their happy feel live. He is not ashamed to give us a good time and to let us shout along .
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Perform Bobby Jean in London (2013):
My Hometown (1985?):
Today’s chosen album is Born in the U.S.A: