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Boss Backlashings

October 18, 1987

Ohhhh Noooooo.

Not more Springsteen backlash, not more Robert Hilburn-bashing (Calendar Letters, Oct. 11). Not more fusillades reproaching Hilburn's belief about what constitutes great rock 'n' roll. It's all so enervating, so pointless, so boring, so . . . so . . . endless.

It's true: Springsteen writes about some subjects (like cars) a lot and his music frequently doesn't rely on complex melodies. But lots of other artists are just as "culpable."

Shakespeare wrote about kings a lot and Robert Johnson and Woody Guthrie's melodies were rarely very profound.

Great writing need not rely just on choice of subject matter; it does, however, depend on the depth with which the artist explores his subject. Great music need not rely on the complexity of the melody; it should, however, depend on the honesty of the song's emotions and the energy that it generates.

It is in these senses that Springsteen's work has few contemporary equals.


Santa Monica

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