Some of Springsteen's actions of late are really starting to wear on me. Bruce is likely my biggest musical hero and it's been the way he carries himself and manages his career that's always been all the more reason to admire him. I first heard his music when I was still in a crib, and his music has played an enormous role in the way I see this country, and the world.
He's always been very reluctant to license his songs for advertisements. He's been very selective in the licensing of his songs for films or television, usually opting to only work with directors/actors whom he respects. And he's stood up for causes in the face of very harsh audiences. (Recall the NYC Cops's reaction to "41 Shots".)
But things seem to have changed for Bruce in the past few years. First came the wildly overproduced Magic, then the move to play at the, gulp, Super Bowl. And now, in perhaps the most outrageous and contradictory move to date, Billboard is reporting that Springsteen will release a 12-track Greatest Hits album solely via Wal-Mart, in an effort to hype him up prior to the Super Bowl.
This move is pathetic on countless fronts. For one, Bruce has already released two greatest hits packages, one aptly titled, well, Greatest Hits, and another titled The Essential Bruce Springsteen. And then, most importantly, it's Wal-Mart we're talking about here. Springsteen has made his career on the backs of working men and women, songs about unions and the lower-to-middle-class American dream. And he's now spitting in those people's faces by supporting a massive organization that vehemently opposes workers' rights and pays absolutely despicable wages to its employees.
This is one of few baffling and sad moves in the career of Bruce Springsteen. But these moves are beginning to add up. And it's not settling well.