Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Springsteen Changes it Up

I have been listening to a lot of Bruce lately.  I usually get caught up in artists and listen to them for a long time, and that is what I'm doing with Springsteen right now.

And yesterday, I put on NEBRASKA.  It is not an album I visit often, even though I LOVE it.  It is just so dark and depressing that it is hard to really play all the time.  And it got me thinking about audience reactions.  I can only imagine the first time Springsteen fans put that on and heard about a "sawed off .410 on my lap."*

I mean... whoa.

That is a big difference from asking Rosalita to come out tonight. Or even the romantic young boys who just want to fight.

That went to full on noir mode in the first song in the second stanza.

How did the audience react back then?  Was it a total shock? Were they blown away by it?

It is pretty cool to mess with audience expectations if you can pull it off.  But it is so hard to surprise people these days.  With Publishers Marketplace and Twitter and Facebook... Fans often know what is going to happen well in advance of the novel or movie coming out.  You can't totally change what you're doing and have people be stunned by it.

People know.

So what was the reaction then?

And what is the one book you were stunned by when it first came out?  That completely flipped your expectations on their head?

Mine was probably LA REQUIEM.  It was a book that I had heard about, but did not know how different it was going to be.  Crais completely flipped the PI novel on its head.  Turned it into a procedural thriller.  Amped up the pacing, cut down on the banter.  Took Parker and turned it into DIE HARD.

And man, did I love it.

I love when artists change what they are doing, try something different.  I love being surprised.  I don't want to know what to expect.  I avoid spoilers as much as possible.

But, man, I wish I could see a reaction back when Nebraska came out.

*I guess the best example is Sgt. Pepper as the biggest change.  I have seen some of the footage of TV people interviewing kids when they first heard that album.  There was a lot of whining about mustaches.

1 comment:

Thomas Pluck said...

Sometimes you can't please anybody. "It's the same old shit!"
"This wasn't what I was expecting."
Springsteen has managed to wear two faces, the blue collar poet and the arena rockstar. It's uncommon and he does get flack for it, plenty of folks don't like the folk-inspired stuff, and vice versa.
I liked the noir stuff. The River, Nebraska, and when a college prof made us READ "Born in the USA" and half the class didn't like it anymore.