Man Pens Epic 2,300-Word Response to Our “I Hate Bruce Springsteen” Article
I get a fair amount of hate mail here at Philadelphia magazine, especially when it comes to my opinions of American disgrace Bruce Springsteen, which I have shared in the form of two articles: 2012’s “Why I Hate Bruce Springsteen” and a version of that piece that I repackaged for Springsteen’s unfortunate 2014 tour, “Bruce Springsteen Sucks.”
But no pro-Springsteen, anti-Philly Mag hate mail approaches that which I received the other day from New Jersey’s David Meyers. He took the time to write more than 2,300 words in response — more than double the word count of the original piece, nailing me with things like:
- Now allow me to tell you why you are not only wrong on the Boss, but a terrible human being in general.
Maybe to someone who does no research on Bruce before he writes an article on him Ms. Patti is solely in the band because of nepotism, but to someone who recognizes the true nature of the situation, she was in fact a part of the band well before she married Dr. Zoom (Bruce’s original nick name that he actually prefers to the Boss. I assume you knew this since you wrote an article on him published in a major magazine).
- Now you attack “Streets of Philadelphia” as if that is a legitimate argument. I recognize that you have your own opinion regarding the song and I can’t change that. However, a song that wins a Grammy is certainly not a bad song. If you look at the lyrics you will see just how descriptive and poetic Bruce can be.
Did you ever think maybe there is a reason that his fans are so in love with him? Have you considered that maybe his talent and his heart are so extraordinarily huge that people can’t help but be passionate about him, his band, and their music?
So maintain your stuck up, arrogant, uninformed opinion about Bruce Springsteen. Because while you sulk in the corner at what he does, millions of us around the world will rejoice that God has blessed our lives with someone as giving and as talented as Bruce.
I found it quite, err, moving in parts and thought I should share. Check out the entire letter below:
I have just read an article you wrote in 2012 regarding your opinion of Bruce Springsteen and I must say, I was offended and shocked that you could approach the matter in such a narrow minded and ignorant way.
As a professional writer who delivers opinions and news to a large body of people, you should understand the need for even the slightest amount of journalistic professionalism. Instead you wrote the article as if you were a 5 year old who was mad that he had just lost in kick ball on the playground. Now allow me to tell you why you are not only wrong on the Boss, but a terrible human being in general.
Your first point of “why Bruce Springsteen sucks” (way to remain professional by the way) is that he is New Jersey and that there is something wrong with that. I am from New Jersey, and I sure as hell am proud of it.
Is it the nicest place on Earth? No, but it certainly doesn’t suck. When you say you lived there for a decade, I presume that you only saw towns such as Newark, Camden, and Seaside Heights, notoriously sleazy areas. But have you ever been to some of the nicer parts?
Go out to Western new jersey, go to the top of the state, or even to southern New Jersey, you will find incredible farm land and some truly beautiful views. Not to mention some of the most incredible golf courses in the world (In fact the golf course ranked #1 in the country and consistently top ten in the world resides in….you guessed it! New Jersey). So to attack New Jersey for a few minor parts is completely unjustified. New York has Harlem, but I don’t hear you calling New York a terrible place.
Also, to attack Governor Christie simply because of his weight is immature and uncalled for. Since when is it suddenly okay to judge people for their outer appearance? By reducing him to a number on a scale you are saying that you don’t care at all about who is he or what he stands for, and that you will remain stubborn and closed minded simply because you want to. Again, completely unprofessional.
And now looking at the other part of your argument, even if you do want to focus on the parts of New Jersey that are terrible, that doesn’t suddenly make Bruce a bad person or an untalented singer/song writer.
Bruce grew up in Freehold, a town that was struggling to get by in his early youth. He comes from a hard life where crime was common and survival was everything. That sort of thing resonates with a person and shapes their identity. Much in the same way rappers sing about their troubled upbringings, Bruce went through much of the same.
He had a tough relationship with his father, struggled in school, didn’t have many friends, was surrounded by violence, and his family never had a lot of money. That is all he knows, so when he sings about it, he is trying to express his struggle to thrive in a troubled area with a difficult life. To attack a man for his upbringing is childish and pathetic and you should be ashamed of yourself for that.
I take pride in being from New Jersey. Maybe it’s not paradise, but it’s my home, and I can never take my roots out of there. It will forever be a part of me and so many others and to criticize a man who speaks for us is sad on your part.
You next bring up the “you haven’t seem him live argument” and say that people told you the same thing about the Grateful Dead and you didn’t like their show. Well isn’t that just close minded on your part? To assume that everyone you are told is talented isn’t, simply because you had one bad experience shows that you are not willing to try new things and don’t actually want to have a discussion, but rather just be obnoxious.
Bruce’s concerts ARE legendary. As Jon Stewart once said, “anytime you see Bruce Springsteen do anything he empties the tank,” and that is the point. This isn’t some stoner fest like the Grateful Dead where you need a combination of their music and narcotics to enjoy it.
Even at 65, Bruce Springsteen has more energy than anyone and no one cares about his audience more than him. He goes out there and performs for 3 hours (sometimes more) because he doesn’t want anyone to walk away feeling unsatisfied. And you won’t. Even if you know none of his music, watching him interact with the crowd and seeing how much joy he has, as well as the crowd, is an experience I have never witnessed anywhere else.
I have been to many concerts in my life and even the most incredible performances by the world’s best bands pale in comparison to an average Springsteen show. The man simply has a gift and if you choose not to partake in his concert experience I feel sorry for you, but don’t use that as an excuse to trash the man.
You next attack Clarence and for this you should be arrested. To simply say “the saxophone doesn’t work in rock-and-roll” is again showing how stubborn you are. If you listen to the sax solos from songs like “Jungleland,” “Badlands,” “Born to Run,” and “Rosalita” you will see that the sax not only works, but propels the song to new heights it isn’t able to reach without it. So don’t dismiss it because you don’t like rock-and-roll saxophones, because if there is only one band that got it right it is the E Street band.
Now you attack “Streets of Philadelphia” as if that is a legitimate argument. I recognize that you have your on opinion regarding the song and I can’t change that. However, a song that wins a Grammy is certainly not a bad song. If you look at the lyrics you will see just how descriptive and poetic Bruce can be.
Additionally, since when can an artist who has literally written and performed hundreds of songs suddenly be judged by one song that any true fan knows is outside of the top 50. And don’t get me wrong, I love Streets, but if you hate one song that doesn’t prove his entire body of work is bad.
Not to mention your attack on the song was “it sucks,” rather than actually taking the time to explain what you didn’t like in the melody, what was wrong with the beat, why the lyrics were lacking. Saying something sucks doesn’t prove it actually sucks. And as someone whose job it is to articulate your thoughts, I’d think you of all people should know that.
Your fifth reason is just rude. You don’t like his voice? Well that’s great, I don’t like you. That doesn’t mean you are a bad writer. No one said that Bruce has a good voice, that is clear. But his voice is perfect for his songs. He isn’t just a singer, he’s a story teller. So the fact that he can best tell these incredible rock ballads using his rough voice only proves him to be more talented.
Think about it, how many singers do you know where no matter how bad their voice is, they can still make something beautiful out of it? He’s the only one in my opinion, and that speaks volumes to his musical prowess.
Next up, the earring. Again, judging someone for an appearance choice is shallow and vain. Not to mention he isn’t the only man who has an earring in show business. So to declare his entire act terrible and his music useless because of such a minute detail is insulting.
Now talking about the band.
You say using Jake Clemons and Ms. Patti shouldn’t be in the band essentially, declaring it as nepotism. I see it completely differently. The E Street band isn’t a group of people who get together and play songs and have a grand old time. The original E Street band was a brotherhood and something that comes around once in a lifetime. So as members start to pass away, Bruce recognizes that he is not going to be able to replace them with just another musician, they have to be in the family, they have to understand what it means to be an E Streeter.
So in regards to Jake, that is completely justified, as is the fact that he has tremendous skill as a saxophone player and has earned the right to be in the band on talent alone.
As for Ms. Patti, she began to date, and eventually marry Bruce well after she was a part of the E Street Band. Maybe to someone who does no research on Bruce before he writes an article on him Ms. Patti is solely in the band because of nepotism, but to someone who recognizes the true nature of the situation, she was in fact a part of the band well before she married Dr. Zoom (Bruce’s original nick name that he actually prefers to the Boss. I assume you knew this since you wrote an article on him published in a major magazine).
Now your third to last argument is an attack of the mighty, mighty, mighty Max Weinberg. Your sole argument, John Bonham is better. Well that’s fantastic if you think Led Zeppelin’s lead drummer is more talented than Bruce Springsteen’s, but A) your opinion doesn’t make it fact, B) even if he is better that doesn’t make Max untalented, and C) you still fail to provide any tangible proof using his musical portfolio to show that your point is valid. And until you do, a simple ignorant statement doesn’t make you right.
This next argument is actually hard for me to talk about because I can’t believe the point you are making. You say that you hate Bruce because his fans love him to what is, in your mind, an absurd degree.
My question to you is this: did you ever think maybe there is a reason that his fans are so in love with him? Have you considered that maybe his talent and his heart are so extraordinarily huge that people can’t help but be passionate about him, his band, and their music? To neglect this point is quite frankly shocking to me.
Additionally, you say you hate Bruce Springsteen because other people love him. Other people’s feelings of affection should have no effect on how you feel about him. It is apparently clear that you are simply angry at him for whatever reason and rather than be objective and at least respect his musical brilliance for the world changing beauty it truly is, you remain in your closed off bubble, quick to point a finger, but slow to explain why.
Your last point is the epitome of your whole article, shallow, petty, supported by no facts or logic, and simply your own opinion with no regard for how anyone else feels about his Christmas cover. It is more embarrassing than anything else that you even published this article, because it seems like something a 6-year-old would say when arguing with their siblings.
What upsets me more than anything about your sad, pathetic article is that you never once attacked his music. If you truly find Bruce Springsteen untalented, wouldn’t you want to criticize the actual thing that he does, make music, rather than try to insult everything but the music.
Consider the genius Bruce puts into all of his albums. Look at Greetings from Asbury Park and recognize his remarkable word play and witty rhymes, undoubtedly a tribute being paid to one of his heroes, Bob Dylan.
Next look at The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle and see how in less than a year Bruce was able to mature his music and write such epic ballads as “Incident on 57th Street” and “New York City Serenade.”
Afterwards listen to the incredible musical arrangements on Born to Run and the unmatched story telling paired with it. Have respect for the act that at the age of just 24, this community college drop out was able to write one of the most famous rock albums ever composed.
The list goes on and on from Darkness on the Edge of Town, to The River, Nebraska, Born in the USA, Tunnel of Love, Lucky Town, Human Touch, The Rising, Devils and Dust, Magic, Working on a Dream, Wrecking Ball, and High Hopes.
And even on things like Tracks where it’s a collection of songs that weren’t good enough for Bruce, or even things like the Blood Brothers EP. These aren’t just fun little songs, they are stories of lives, and tales of courage, strength, despair, hope, acceptance, and defeat. It is music that anyone can relate to because it isn’t some rap record about popping bottles at the club, it’s real people dealing with real issues.
And even as Bruce rose to super stardom, he never lost touch with his true self, and as a result his music stayed grounded, and incredible.
Consider “The Rising,” a song written in 2001, the entire album composed within a 3 month period, and this one specifically rushed along. And yet, Bruce gives us all we can ask for. Just look at some of the lyrics: “May I feel your arms around me. May I feel your blood mix with mine. A dream of life comes to me, like a catfish dancing on the end of my line.”
It’s poetry, and the best poetry you will ever find.
So maintain your stuck up, arrogant, uninformed opinion about Bruce Springsteen. Because while you sulk in the corner at what he does, millions of us around the world will rejoice that God has blessed our lives with someone as giving and as talented as Bruce. I will never hate him, and I pity you for it.