Runaway Dream: Born to Run and Bruce Springsteen's American Vision
Louis P. Masur. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, $23 (244pp) ISBN 978-1-59691-692-0
Nearly 35 years on, Bruce Springsteen's album Born to Run shows little sign of flagging popularity; National Public Radio has hailed the 1975 album, a poetic explosion of frustration and freedom, among the 100 most important musical works of the 20th century, and it has made it into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. Though he admits that he wants the album played at his funeral, author and American studies professor Masur (The Soiling of Old Glory) remains surprisingly objective while examining the iconic album and its effect on the New Jersey troubadour and American culture at large. Only one chapter is dedicated to the actual making of Born to Run; the rest details Springsteen's career before and after its release, critical reaction, and the album's long-smoldering influence. Although Springsteen was not interviewed, E Street Band bassist Garry Tallent provides insight into recording sessions, and Masur quotes extensively from published sources and Springsteen's own in-concert patter. Masur's knowledge runs deep, and his work often reads like a lengthy dissertation on the Boss's lyrics, key progressions, imagery and themes; Bruce's many hard-core fans will find this an immersive, thoughtful treat.
Reviewed on: 08/31/2009