one of the most conspicuous features of country music now is the influence of bruce springsteen. in fact 'springsteen' was a hit for eric church last year, though perhaps that song is more an imitation of taylor swift's 'tim mcgraw' than of the bruce. and indeed, bruce has been an influence - or has been thought to be an influence - for decades, and the first steve earle album was greeted as springsteeny (at the time the greatest compliment available to the sort of critic who is always feeling for the consensus), with the small-town south replacing the urban north. but now it's everywhere. and it may not surprise you - since as you may know there are few things in the world i hate more than springsteen's music - that i think the influence is entirely pernicious. here's an example on the current charts.
why do i think springsteen lies behind this? well, the pounding, basically tuneless 4/4; the hysterical bellowing, unmotivated by the material (he's really feeling these feelings incredibly deeply - they are seizing his whole person and making him bray and bawl in pain or ecstasy, but why or about what is mysterious); the anthemic/bludgeoning lyric that on inspection dissolves into emptiness. (admittedly, currington isn't being as extreme as bruce in these dimensions.) to experience all of these features at their maximum, spin 'bored in the u.s.a'. then work out the trauma in music therapy. never has something that sucks so bad been greeted with such incomprehensible ecstasy. ok, ok, there is david bowie.
i don't hear that song as very bossy, though it is extremely excellent.
when he first came out, i heard bruce as playing in the mode of van morrison. "the girls walk by dressed up for each other, and the boys do the boogie-woogie on the corner of the street": bruce pretty much derived his lyrics from those lines, if i mistake not. but i say that anything he's done compares very unfavorably to, say, the song below. they really used basically the same band set-up, the same soul influences, the same performance style. but van played with real soul, real subtlety, real variety, real melody. plus van was doing this long before bruce.