PRINT January 1988



I WANT TO like Bruce Springsteen, and like most of us I do, at the very least because he has an honest heart (though of course, as he says of all of us, also a hungry one). I admire him, too, for saying—on his latest album, Tunnel of Love—that he's got two faces. He's willing, to face a shadow self that jumps out while he's kissing his wife under, he romantically insists, a willow tree: “Two faces have I.”

I too have a shadow, with a critic's face. My shadow was trained in classical music, and it asks me to justify not Springsteen's heart, but his work: his melody, for instance, which seems to speak best in short rhythmic leaps. His longer tunes and some of his quieter ones—the tunes he writes that don't have simple symmetries—can lose me, because their parts aren't differentiated enough. “Thunder Road,” on Born to Run, would be one example: it's a desperate drive in the dark with no road

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