Review #142: Born in the U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen

Karla Clifton
3 min readAug 3, 2021

#142: Born in the U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen

The same friend who took me to the Bruce concert had this poster on his wall. A poster of Bruce Springsteen’s butt. I always thought it was kind of weird that Bruce had his butt on the album cover, but if you’ve got it, flaunt it, I guess.

Whenever I have to listen to a genre of music that I don’t really “connect” with, I try to trick myself into thinking that it’s punk rock music. Why is this music transgressive and exciting? What new stuff are they writing? What new tools are they using? What kind of hard conversations must they have had to have about their musical choices?

This is a great trick — in fact, sometimes it works way too well. That’s why I’m so obsessed with Lucinda Williams and Shania Twain right now.

The “hard conversations” question is what helped me start to “get” this album. “Born In The U.S.A.” has such challenging lyrics for a song that plays at every baseball game I’ve ever heard. Bruce has to keep re-explaining to people that it’s not a patriotic song, despite sounding like the National Anthem.

That, I daresay, is pretty punk rock.


“Born in the U.S.A.” — This sounds like a patriotic song, but pay attention to the lyrics: Got in a little hometown jam/So they put a rifle in my hand/Sent me off to a foreign land/To go and kill the yellow man. Bruce has talked a lot about the message of the song getting lost in the music, and why it was actually a calculated risk.

“Cover Me” — So ‘80s.

“Darlington County” — Bruce screams notes that he can’t quite hit all the time, and yet somehow it still sounds good.

“Working on the Highway” — I regret not listening to this album while I was actually on the highway.

“I’m On Fire” — Beautiful, not-boring love song. Johnny Cash covered this!

“Bobby Jean”Is not my lover/ He’s just a boy who thinks that I am the one.

“I’m Goin’ Down” — Just fun.

“Glory Days” — This song always makes me want to shout “HIGH SCHOOL IS OVER. THE REST OF YOUR LIFE CAN BE JUST AS GLORIOUS IF YOU STOP LIVING IN THE PAST.” It also makes me think of that episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia where Mac and Dennis meet Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. But I can’t deny it’s a great song.


“Downbound Train” — Bruce, buddy, you got some peanut butter in your mouth, I think.


We’re reaching a stage in the list where some of my suggestions might seem pointless, but if we’re doing this, we’re doing it right.

My feeling is that this album should be maybe fifty spots higher. Maybe more. For instance, slot #73, Loveless, My Bloody Valentine. Is that album really 70 albums better than BRUCE???


Review #141: Doolittle, Pixies

Review #143: The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground