Saturday, January 18, 2014

Springsteen''s NPR Interview and His Idea for a Gospel Album

Ann Powers of National Public Radio recently caught up with Bruce Springsteen to talk about his new album High Hopes, which was released on January 15th.  You can read and/or listen to the interview here. Here is a taste of Springsteen talking about the religious impulse in his music:

But what was your idea for a gospel project? Because I know you've talked in the past about getting this religious impulse to work in a way that it's not restrictive or judgmental, you know. We talked about U2. They do a similar thing. And I hear that in songs like "Heaven's Wall" and even in some of your protest music, the version of "41 Shots" that's on the album, there's a lament quality to it, you know, and a trying-to-transcend quality.

Without overusing the word, you know, there's a Christian element that runs through it because I grew up Catholic and so I was indoctrinated in religious language between eight o'clock and nine o'clock every single morning for the first eight years of my schooling. Five days a week, every single morning, the first thing you did was religion. And so you grew up with that language and it was, of course, distorted, and screwed me up terribly, but at the same time, it made for good writing. And it was a wonderful source of metaphor when you went to write about the world and about your inner life and it served me. I suppose looking back on it, I would like to change some things but I wouldn't have had that any other way in that it's served me very, very well and continues to do so. I have a very deep connection to gospel music. I understand the language — I feel I understand the essence of the music itself.