Welcome to American Mosaic from VOA Learning English. I'm Caty Weaver. On the show today, it's all about "The Boss1" Bruce Springsteen.
Musician2, singer, songwriter3 Bruce Springsteen is one of the world's best-selling4 artists, with a career5 that covers 40 years. In a new book, “Counting Down Bruce Springsteen,” writer6 and music critic Jim Beviglia rates7 Springsteen’s songs. The rating8 is based partly9 on how powerfully10 the words express people’s fears11, hopes12 and dreams. Christopher Cruise reports.
Bruce Springsteen is known for13 his poetic songs that deal with14 social and political issues15, as well as16 more personal subjects17. His energetic live performances18 are also famous. Music journalist Jim Beviglia says the artist’s childhood19 in a New Jersey working class family was a major20 influence on his music.
“The social and the political issues, Springsteen’s never been shy21 about writing about those. They sort of started22 "to come into play"23 with an album called, ‘Darkness24 on the Edge25 of Town,’ where he started to look at small town lives26 and how people are just sort of doing the same things27 their parents28 did, and couldn't get out of that29."
Mr. Beviglia says the music grew even darker30 in the 1982 album “Nebraska.” He says those songs show people pushed to31 the edge of poverty32 and criminal activity.
Thirteen years later Springsteen released “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” Mr. Beviglia says the album was a direct discussion of issues like immigration, hunger33 and poverty. Then in 2012, in the album “Wrecking34 Ball,” the critic says Springsteen found35 people to blame36 for some of those social problems.
“‘Wrecking Ball’ really pointed at37 that sort of financial leaders and the powers that allowed38 that dichotomy between the rich and the poor.” One of Springsteen's best-known39 songs, “Born40 in the USA”, is nine on Beviglia's list.
“It’s an amazingly41 complex song, it's got42 this really rousing43 music, very patriotic, big drums44, it's used in fireworks displays. But when you get to the lyrics45, it’s a very sharp criticism46 of the way America treated its Vietnam vets47 upon returning home.” The song was released48 in 1984 as President Ronald Reagan was running for re-election49. Jim Beviglia says that conservative politicians50 and observers misunderstood51 the song.
“It came out52 in 1984 and a couple of53 conservative politicians sort of picked up54 on the song. They talked about how Springsteen sort of reflected55 the American values and Springsteen, when he found about that, quickly pulled back56 and he said ‘wait a second here, they’re mistaking57 this song here, this is more of a criticism and maybe58 their values don’t coincide with my values.”
Springsteen also wrote about personal relationships59. Mr. Beviglia places60 “Brilliant Disguise61,” in fifth place on his list of Springsteen’s 100 finest songs. The song is from the 1987 album “Tunnel of Love.”
“It’s basically62 a couple63 who are putting on disguises for each other64 because they don’t reveal65 their true selves66. And there’s mistrust67 and the relationship is kind of crumbling68."
Mr. Beviglia says that was the state of Springsteen's marriage69 at the time. He and his first wife divorced shortly after70.
"Born to Run" tops Beviglia's list. He says Springsteen’s album company was thinking of ending business with him after poor sales of his first two albums. But then “Born to Run71” hit the stores and airwaves72 in 1975. It saved Springsteen’s career.
“The lyrics, they leave you breathless73, this idea of, you know, maybe we never can actually74 get free from our pasts, from our home towns, and things like that, but you have to give it a shot75, and take your chance76. You know it cost a lot of money to produce. He used all these instruments. Had it failed, I mean, we might not be talking about Bruce Springsteen today."
But we are - talking about him, and listening to him. Jim Beviglia says the musician’s ability to stay true to himself and express the concerns and hopes of ordinary people is what has made him a living legend.
- Boss = chefe
- Musician = musico
- songwriter = compositor
- best-selling = que mais vende
- career = carreira
- writer = escritor
- rates = classifica
- rating = classificação
- partly = em parte
- how powerfully = o quão poderosa
- fears = medos
- hopes = esperanças
- known for = conhecido por
- deal with = lidam com
- political issues = questões politicas
- as well as = assim como
- personal subjects = assuntos pessoais
- live performances = apresentações ao vivo
- childhood = infancia
- major = importante, grande
- Springsteen’s never been shy = Springsteen nunca foi timido
- sort of started = de certa forma iniciou
- to come into play = "entrar em ação"
- Darkness = escuridão
- Edge = beirada
- small town lives = vidas da cidade pequena
- doing the same things = fazendo as mesmas coisas
- parents = pais
- couldn't get out of that = não conseguiram sair daquilo
- grew even darker = ficou ainda mais escura
- pushed to = empurrados para
- poverty = miseria
- hunger = fome
- Wrecking = destruição
- found = encontrou
- blame = culpar
- pointed at = apontava para
- allowed = permitiam
- best-known = mais bem conhecidas
- Born = nascido
- amazingly = espantosamente
- it's got = ela (musica) tem
- rousing = vibrante
- drums = baterias
- lyrics = letras de musica
- sharp criticism = critica contundente
- Vietnam vets = veteranos do vietnam
- released = lançada (musica)
- running for re-election = concorrendo para a reeleição
- conservative politicians = politicos conservadores
- misunderstood = entenderam mal
- came out = saiu (musica)
- a couple of = alguns
- picked up = captaram
- reflected = refletiu
- quickly pulled back = voltaram atrás rapidamente
- mistaking = entendendo mal
- maybe = talvez
- personal relationships = relacionamentos pessais
- places = coloca
- Disguise = disfarce
- basically = basicamente
- couple = casal
- each other = um ao outro
- reveal = revelam
- their true selves = o verdadeiro eu deles
- mistrust = desconfiança
- kind of crumbling = tipo que desmoronamento
- marriage = casamento
- shortly after = logo depois
- Born to Run = nascido para correr
- airwaves = ondas
- breathless = sem folego
- actually = realmente
- give it a shot = tentar
- take your chance = arriscar-se