The Biannual Online-Journal of Springsteen Studies https://boss.mcgill.ca/ <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">MISSION STATEMENT: </span></strong></p> <p><em>BOSS</em>: The <em>Biannual Online-Journal of Springsteen Studies</em> aims to publish scholarly, peer-reviewed essays pertaining to Bruce Springsteen. This open-access journal seeks to encourage consideration of Springsteen’s body of work primarily through the political, economic, and socio-cultural factors that have influenced his music and shaped its reception. <em>BOSS</em> welcomes broad interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches to Springsteen’s songwriting and performance. The journal aims to secure a place for Springsteen Studies in the contemporary academy.</p> <p>Contact: Please address all queries to Caroline Madden (Managing Editor) at <a href="mailto:Springsteenstudies@gmail.com">Springsteenstudies@gmail.com</a>.</p> McGill University Library en-US The Biannual Online-Journal of Springsteen Studies 2368-4712 Reviews https://boss.mcgill.ca/article/view/56 <p>Review of <em>Long Walk Home: Reflections on Bruce Springsteen</em> edited by Jonathan D. Cohen and June Skinner Sawyers, by Prudence Jones </p> BOSS Journal Copyright (c) 2021 2021-02-26 2021-02-26 4 129 133 Front Matter and Table of Contents https://boss.mcgill.ca/article/view/50 <p>Title page, submission instructions, and table of contents</p> BOSS Journal Copyright (c) 2021 2021-02-26 2021-02-26 4 1 5 Contributors to BOSS https://boss.mcgill.ca/article/view/51 <p>Contributors to&nbsp;<em>BOSS</em></p> BOSS Journal Copyright (c) 2021 2021-02-26 2021-02-26 4 6 7 Introduction to Vol. 4 https://boss.mcgill.ca/article/view/52 <p>Introduction to Vol. 4</p> Caroline Madden Copyright (c) 2021 2021-02-26 2021-02-26 4 8 8 Everyday People: Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, and the Gospel Tradition https://boss.mcgill.ca/article/view/53 <p style="text-align: justify; line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Book Antiqua',serif;">Bruce Springsteen has often referred to Elvis Presley as the primary inspiration in his own vocational journey. This essay considers Elvis’ complex significance over the long course of Springsteen’s career. Elvis has been Springsteen’s most important point of entry into older populist traditions, including the blues, country, and gospel. He has also been, in his later isolation and self-destruction, Springsteen’s main cautionary tale. More recently, Springsteen has seen Elvis as the originator of a version of Rock and Roll that draws directly from gospel—particularly from the interactions between the minister, the choir, and the congregation—to create a “front man” who moves the audience toward a collective experience of restoration and hope. Along with Elvis’ populist eclecticism and his crossing of racial boundaries, this dynamic of gospel redemption has played a central role in Springsteen’s music, from the late 1960s, when he set out on his own career in the midst of the racial uprisings in Newark and Asbury Park, through his most recent albums and some of his most powerful recordings and performances, including “Land of Hope and Dreams.” Throughout, the gospel tradition has shaped Springsteen’s understanding of an American identity with a need for collective redemption grounded in the music and the religious faith of “everyday people.” </span></p> Brian Conniff Copyright (c) 2021 2021-02-26 2021-02-26 4 9 49 Signifying (and Psychoanalyzing) National Identity in Rock: Bruce Springsteen and The Tragically Hip https://boss.mcgill.ca/article/view/54 <p style="text-align: justify; line-height: 150%;"><span style="font-size: 11.5pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Book Antiqua',serif;">This article addresses the broader issues of national identity in popular music, while focusing on Bruce Springsteen as an icon of "American- ness." Springsteen's ideas about American identity—and especially how identity is tied to place, and to abstract notions like the American Dream—are addressed through an analysis of the song "Born to Run.” This analysis examines how the elusiveness of American identity and the American Dream are embedded in the musical features of the song itself, including aspirational melodic structures and successions of non- resolving chords that signify a sort of never-ending pursuit. Springsteen and his music are also juxtaposed here with the music of the Canadian band The Tragically Hip, who are widely considered "Canada's band" by the Canadian media, and whose music is reputed to capture the essence of the Canadian identity; however, as in Springsteen's music, the articulation and expression of national identity proves problematic, and "The Hip" often resort to musical processes—especially harmonic stasis— that suggest not only the vast emptiness of the Canadian landscape, but also a kind of fruitless encircling of "Canadian-ness" as something that can never be fully grasped or realized. </span></p> Alexander Carpenter Ian Skinner Copyright (c) 2021 2021-02-26 2021-02-26 4 50 87 Bruce Springsteen’s “Land of Hope and Dreams”: Towards Articulating and Assessing Its Inclusiveness https://boss.mcgill.ca/article/view/55 <p>I focus on two things that are well known about Bruce Springsteen’s song, “Land of Hope and Dreams.” First, it has decisive roots in earlier American songs employing ‘the moving train’ as analogue to God’s Church and His eternal plan for humanity. In this respect, ‘the moving train’ carries its passengers, who prominently embrace a normative moral imperative, from an imperfectly happy place in this world to a completely happy destination beyond this world. The influencing songs apparently include: “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield, “This Train”/”This Train Is Bound For Glory” by each of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Bill Broonzy, and Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash’s “This Train is Bound For Glory’ (a.k.a. “The Bible Train”) and Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming.” Secondly, and more importantly, it is also agreed that <em>Lohad </em>is distinguished from its influences by presenting an ‘inclusive’ message. This has two principal components. In the first place, it is that God’s Love ultimately guides all persons towards, within, and to the end goal of his eternal community of Love, to the ‘Land of Hope and Dreams,’ that is formally established in the afterworld. Secondly, everyone in this world (both ‘saints and sinners’ and ‘whores and gamblers’) shares in this goal. Therefore, Springsteen’s train, unlike his predecessors’ trains’, proclaims the redemption and redeeming of all rather than the redemption and redeeming of some. According to LOHAD, everyone, whether they know it or not, is on God’s train.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Barry David Copyright (c) 2021 2021-02-26 2021-02-26 4 88 128