Bruce Springsteen’s Playlist for the Trump Era

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In a new interview with The Atlantic, The Boss also lambasted Trump for using tear gas.

Excerpt from David Brooks’ article appeared on The Atlantic.
Contributing writer at The Atlantic and columnist for The New York Times.

t’s been 20 years since Springsteen wrote “American Skin (41 Shots),” a powerful song about the police killing of a black man.

We’ve got people marching in the streets. We’ve got great tumult. What do you see? Are you optimistic or pessimistic about what’s going on out there?

Bruce Springsteen: I don’t think anybody truly knows where we’re going from here yet. It depends on too many unknowns. We don’t know where the COVID virus is going to take us. We don’t know where Black Lives Matter is going to take us right now. Do we get a real practical conversation going about race and policing and ultimately about the economic inequality that’s been a stain on our social contract?

And of course, nobody knows where our next election is going to take us. I believe that our current president is a threat to our democracy. He simply makes any kind of reform that much harder. I don’t know if our democracy could stand another four years of his custodianship. These are all existential threats to our democracy and our American way of life.
If you look at all this, you could be pessimistic, but there are positive sides in each of these circumstances. I think we’ve got hope for a vaccine. I think any time there is a 50-foot Black Lives Matter sign leading to the White House, that’s a good sign. And the demonstrations have been white people and black people and brown people gathering together in the enraged name of love. That’s a good sign.

The first song you selected is “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday.

Springsteen: It was written by Abel Meeropol in 1937. So imagine writing “Strange Fruit,” a song about southern lynching, and getting a popular singer like Billie Holiday to sing it in 1939. That was a very controversial recording. Her label, Columbia, did not want to release it. And she released it on another label.

It’s just an epic piece of music that was so far ahead of its time. It still strikes a deep, deep, deep nerve in the conversation of today.

One of the songs you selected is the Paul Robeson version of “The House I Live In.” 

Springsteen: The Robeson version is quite, quite beautiful. He was an interesting guy. He was blacklisted during the McCarthy era. He was an anti-fascist and took part in the early civil-rights movement, supported the Loyalists during the Spanish Civil War, and was a stage and film actor also.

“American Skin” came about while I was on my way to Atlanta and New York. It was the last two shows of the tour, and I wanted to write something new.

Those were the stakes I thought I was writing about, and it’s one of the songs I’m still proudest of. It’s a good song. It’s lasted and it’s done its job well.

 

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Bruce Springsteen blasts Trump: “Put on a f—— mask.”
“Show some consideration and care for your countrymen and your country,” Springsteen says to Trump. “Put on a fucking mask”.
Bruce Springsteen blasts Trump’s handling of coronavirus pandemic: ‘It’s a national disgrace’

Bruce Springsteen has had plenty to say about President Trump over the last few years, but never has The Boss been so candid as he was on E Street Radio Wednesday morning.(pennlive.com)

As Springsteen opened the sixth episode of his guest DJ program on the SiriusXM station, called “From My Home To Yours…,” he noted he was “pissed off” over the “empty, shamed response from our leaders” in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Those lives deserved better than just being inconvenient statistics for our President’s re-election efforts. It’s a national disgrace,” Springsteen said, recording from his home in Colts Neck.

He continued, before playing his opening track, Bob Dylan’s “Disease of Conceit” with a message for Trump.

“I’m going to start out by sending one to the man sitting behind the resolute desk,” he said. “With all respect, sir, show some consideration and care for your countrymen and your country. Put on a f—— mask.”

“With 100,000 plus Americans dying over the last few months and the empty, shamed response from our leaders, I’ve been simply pissed off,” he said at the top of the show. “Those lives deserve better than being simply inconvenient statistics for our president’s reelection efforts. It’s a national disgrace.”

“Instead of celebrating the joys of summer today, we will be contemplating our current circumstances with the coronavirus and the cost it has drawn from our nation,” he continued. “We will be calculating what we’ve lost, sending prayers for the deceased and the families they have left behind. If you are ready for a rock & roll requiem, stay tuned.”

 

 

 

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