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Meet the New Boss

August 30, 1992

Regarding "Reborn in New Jersey," by Robert Hilburn (Aug. 16):

As an inveterate Bruce Springsteen fan since Day 1, I have watched readers' love-hate reactions to Hilburn's articles on Springsteen for a long time.

It's easy to see why Hilburn generates such response: (a) anyone who has seen Springsteen in performance witnesses the real passion that critics like Hilburn convey for the artist; (b) any critic trying to convey such passion for Springsteen's music and performances ends up, like Hilburn, sometimes sounding like "Springsteen is God" etc.

I agree completely with Hilburn as to Springsteen's talent, passion, importance and relevance as an artist. But I disagree with his suggestions about how Springsteen needs to "balance" his concerts and "emphasize more clearly the new material."

It's important to note, as did Hilburn, that neither of Springsteen's current albums is a chart success. One can analyze all day long, but whether or not any of us Springsteen fans wants to admit it, "Human Touch" and "Lucky Town" are not albums that we'll be playing in our homes in the future the way we still play earlier Springsteen releases.

Why? New Songs . I love Bruce too, but the songs don't reach out and touch people the way "Brilliant Disguise," "One Step Up," "My Hometown," "Born in the U.S.A." or dozens of others have. That's not to say that the new songs aren't valid or decent, but there is something missing.

Old Songs . Hilburn makes it sound like Springsteen is compromising his performance for the sake of his audience. Isn't it quite possible that, since he is the artist, he feels that those songs are as valid today as ever?

Great music lives on long after many artists have stopped performing or selling in huge amounts. (I think the Beatles stopped touring in 1965.) So rock on, Bruce; compromise nothing. But let the people hear the songs they come to hear. Go by your gut, the way you always have.


Studio City

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