audiotrack Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.

reviewed by Jill Hill

Published in Issue No. 15 ~ August, 1998

There is just some music everyone should own – and Springsteen’s Greetings from Asbury Park is that sort of music. First released in 1973, it is still fresh, and I’m not even a Springsteen fan. In fact, I hate all that Born in the USA crap, and his CD the ghost of tom joad underwhelmed me. But Greeting from Asbury Park is great. There is no other word to describe it. It is as if he had too many emotions to put words to and the best he could do was channel all his passion into the nine songs that make up the CD. The words roll out, and the music sort of keeps up with him.

This album is mostly about the words and the feelings they conjure. The music is there merely to service the magic. Beginning with “Blinded By the Light,” a song made popular by the Electric Light Orchestra, Bruce chronicles youth and summer and trying to find sense in a senseless world. (Incidently, the correct lyrics are, Cut looses like a deuce another/ runner in the night./ Blinded by the light/ She got down but never got/tight, but she’ll make it alright.) “Mary Queen of Arkansas” is a sad embattled love song, but the choice track has to be, “Spirit in the Night” with its deceptively upbeat sax and its harrowing lyrics of trying to find something to ease the hurt life randomly inflicts:

By the time we made it up to
Greasy Lake I had my head out
the window
and Janey’s fingers
were in my cake
. . . . I said, ‘I’m
hurt.’ She said,
‘Honey let me heal it.’
And we danced all night to a soul fairy band
and she kissed me just right
like only a lonely angel can.
She felt so nice, just as soft as a
spirit in the night.

It is the sort of song that makes a person understand why he became The Boss.

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Jill Hill lives with some kids, some dogs, writes, and manages a restaurant where she tries out her new CD's. She listens to a variety of music, from Classical to Blues, but tries to stay away from most rap. In her words: "I am always on the look out for a new band or singer/songwriter that I will like. I like a CD that does not grow old and weary sounding, which mean I don't want buy a CD that can be found on the used CD sale table a month later. One of my favorite CD's is Neal Young's Everyone Knows this is Nowhere. My favorite writer is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and my favorite novel of his Of Love and Other Demons. X-Files is about the only TV I watch. I do not watch sitcoms and do not like music inspired by sitcoms. I'd rather listen to a sampled rap version of the Jetsons theme song."