Sunday, March 4, 2018

Second Thoughts and the Way Art Works

If you’ve ever had second thoughts about your work — and who hasn’t — you’re in great company.

In a 2017 podcast of The New Yorker Radio Hour, rock legend Bruce Springsteen spoke candidly about his career and 2016 autobiography, Born to Run, with New Yorker editor David Remnick. The 55-minute podcast is worth a listen for Springsteen’s hard-earned wisdom. Among his most valuable insights was one he learned from someone else.

Springsteen was discussing the making of the iconic 1975 album Born to Run and a song of the same name from which the autobiography derives its title. When asked what he had hoped for in the album and the song, Springsteen said he wanted a record and a sound "that felt like this is the last record you are ever gonna hear and then the apocalypse…”.

Although Springsteen achieved that hard-driving, vanishing-point, Road Warrior quality in the song and the album, he had second thoughts about its release. While Springsteen admitted having “second thoughts about everything”, he was especially concerned about the album and at one point threw it into a swimming pool. “The record came down, and the album was supposed to be done and I'm not sure if I was ready for it to be done because it would mean people were gonna hear it,” Springsteen said.

Then he spoke with music critic, manager, and record producer Jon Landau on the subject of imperfection, exposure and art. “Sometimes the things that are wrong with something are the same things that make that thing great,” Landau said. “That’s the way it is in life, and that’s the way art works.”

In this is freedom, and, thankfully, the way art works.

For the full interview with Bruce Springsteen on The New Yorker Radio Hour, click on Bruce Springsteen Talks with David Remnick. 

For a review of Tears of Salt: A Doctor’s Story on the Washington Independent Review of Books, visit “A tale of dignity and dedication amid the current refugee crisis”.

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