One of most annoying criticisms from people who hate Bruce Springsteen is that “Born in the USA” is too embarrassingly patriotic. It’s not particularly cool to like this glossy era of Springsteen-dom, but I feel confident it’s due for a renaissance, much like Phil Collins was due for the one he enjoyed recently. Those who actually listen, understand “Born in the USA” is a protest song. It’s not a sophomoric “fuck this place” call for anarchy—it’s a poignant reflection on how to call out a country you love for doing stuff you hate.
In this way it shares something with Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” which both celebrates the grandeur of America, while calling out the white man’s rapacious capture of the place with the sardonic line, “This land was made for you and me.”
The Boss took to the stage yesterday at SxSW with Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and the always politically charged-up Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine for a rendition of Guthrie’s classic tune.
Some tunes will never go out of style—”Born in the USA” included. Check out “This Land Is Your Land” below.