Posts Tagged ‘bruce springsteen’

In this week’s New Yorker

August 1, 2012


An engrossing issue to read on a three-hour plane ride. Having spent a good chunk of the weekend watching the Olympics, I enjoyed the cover, along with a string of engrossing articles I might not otherwise have devoured quite so closely:

Ryan Lizza’s informative and characteristically in-depth profile of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, he of the ostensibly sensible budget that barely conceals all kinds of ideological landmines. Obama’s budget director, as Lizza puts it, “dismantled Ryan’s plan, point by point.” Ryan’s proposal would turn Medicare “into a voucher program, so that individuals are on their own in the health-care market,” he said. Over time, the program wouldn’t keep pace with rising medical costs, so seniors would have to pay thousands of dollars more a year for health care. The Roadmap would revive Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security and “provide large tax benefits to upper-income households . . . while shifting the burden onto middle- and lower-income households. It is a dramatically different approach in which much more risk is loaded onto individuals.”

Lauren Collins’ piece on conceptual artist Tino Sehgal, whose work involves no objects whatsoever but focuses on personal interaction;

Mark Singer’s absolutely riveting story about a Michigan dentist who went to incredibly arduous lengths to present himself as a marathon champion without ever actually completing a race and in some cases inventing them (and their websites) from scratch — which falls into the Department of Ugly Truths, or How Fucked-Up Human Beings Can Be. It is essentially a sleuth job on a pathological liar, a mysterious breed of personality;

Evan Osnos on the curious case of Myanmar’s bloodless regime change; and

— a curious little previously unpublished story, “Thank You for the Light,” recently discovered among the papers of F. Scott Fitzgerald, which you can read in its (brief) entirety here. The evocative illustration (below) is by Owen Freeman.


While I’m at it, let me put in a word for two must-reads in the previous issue (cover date July 30): the long and terrific profile of Bruce Springsteen, all the more impressive for being written by New Yorker editor-in-chief David Remnick, who often surprises me with his choice of subjects; and Zadie Smith’s delightful story, “Permission to Enter,” an excerpt from her forthcoming novel NW.

Quote of the day: ROCK MUSIC

July 25, 2012

ROCK MUSIC

For an adult, the world is constantly trying to clamp down on itself. Routine, responsibility, decay of institutions, corruption: this is all the world closing in. Music, when it’s really great, pries that shit back open and lets people back in, it lets light in, and air in, and energy in, and sends people home with that and sends me back to the hotel with it. People carry that with them sometimes for a very long period of time….

T-Bone Burnett said that rock and roll is all about “Daaaaddy!” It’s one embarrassing scream of “Daaaaddy!” It’s just fathers and sons, and you’re out there proving something to somebody in the most intense way possible. It’s, like, “Hey, I was worth a little more attention than I got! You blew that one, big guy!”

— Bruce Springsteen, interviewed by David Remnick in the New Yorker

Performance diary: Jackson Browne at the Beacon Theatre

September 15, 2010

September 14 – Tom’s sister-in-law gave him some tickets to the Jackson Browne concert at the Beacon Theatre, and he invited me. I hadn’t seen the Beacon since they spruced it up several years ago – wow! It’s beautiful now. And it was definitely a trip down memory lane to see Jackson Browne again. He was an important singer-songwriter in my college days, and his first three albums figure heavily in my pantheon. I saw him a few times back in those days, but I don’t think I’d laid eyes on him for years til I watched the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony last year, where he looked pretty good (for a guy in his sixties!), much better than Crosby, Stills, Nash, or Young. And his voice has held up pretty well, too. He’s not anywhere near as great a songwriter as, say, Joni Mitchell or Laura Nyro – the rolling shapelessness of his compositions is both endearingly particular to him and a little monotonous – but as a lyricist he’s unafraid to explore emotional depths that are unusually nuanced, especially for men. In songs like “My Opening Farewell,” “Fountain of Sorrow,” and “Late for the Sky,” he zeroes in on the loneliness that erupts surprisingly in the middle of an intimate relationship. Hearing him sing “Fountain of Sorrow” in concert brought tears to my eyes, especially the verse that goes

When you see through love’s illusions, there lies the danger
And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool
So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger

While the loneliness seems to spring from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

He did a few recent songs I didn’t recognize, but I was surprised and pleased that he did a lot of his early (and best) songs: “For Everyman,” “For a Dancer,” “Rock Me on the Water,” and of course crowd-pleasers like “Running on Empty,” “The Pretender,” and “Doctor My Eyes.” For me the highlight was his stripped-down, almost solo piano rendition of “Late for the Sky,” which Tom had never heard and also liked.

There wasn’t exactly an opening act, but Browne came out with his wizardly guitarist and longtime buddy David Lindley to play a bunch of acoustic duets, including songs by Warren Zevon, Danny O’Keefe, and Bruce Springsteen. The Springsteen was a song I don’t remember hearing before, “Brothers Under the Bridge,” about homeless vets. A moving song, beautifully constructed with a Springsteen twist – after several verses of rhymed couplets ending in the title phrase, the song ends up in the air like this:

Come Veterans’ Day I sat in the stands in my dress blues
I held your mother’s hand
When they passed with the red, white and blue
One minute you’re right there … and something slips…

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