Bruce Springsteen

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Nik Cohn

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Objectively, I know that Springsteen is faking. He is only striking postures, drumming up teen dreams by numbers, and his lyrics are quite absurdly inflated. But I fall for him just the same…. Above all, he is peddling a vision—mock-tragic runts on the skids—that I have always found irresistible, and though I know that I am being duped, the fraud still excites me, I cannot muster resentment.

In any case, it hardly matters. Whether Springsteen is good or bad, he is essentially irrelevant. The rock & roll dream that he so avidly celebrates is dead. Understandably, the people who have raised him to godhood find that hard to accept, for it means the death of their own youth. So they manage one last fling, a lovelorn pretense. But pretense is as far as it goes.

Nik Cohn, "Ventilating the Hype" (copyright © 1975 by Nik Cohn; reprinted by permission of the author), in New York Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 42, October 20, 1975, p. 75.

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