Born in the USA 25 Years Later

On a beautiful, warm day here in the Bay Area, as I scoured the record collection, my eyes met Springsteen's pop masterpiece Born in the USA. Released in June of 1984, USA became a worldwide sensation. Springsteen purists rarely point to this monumental commercial success as one of his best records, but there's little doubt that even 25 years later, this record stands as one of the best pure pop records ever released.

Although bouncy in sound and pace, USA remains one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented records ever to hit the masses. Songs such as "Downbound Train" and the title track are lyrically as eerie and recondite as USA's dark predecessor Nebraska. Despite being completely opposite in production and texture, USA, at least on paper, is essentially a continuation of Nebraska, both exhibiting snippets of American lives during the era of Reagan, and these themes and stories hold true to this day.

In the summer of 1985 I saw Springsteen for the first of what would be many, many times. I vaguely recall pulling into the Giants Stadium parking lot mid-day and witnessing an absolute sea of people awaiting arguably the greatest performer of this generation. Over the course of what must have been four hours, Springsteen and the E Street Band opened my eyes to a world outside of what was within reach. I remember looking around the jam-packed stadium and finding understanding in something that was one man's creaction. I remember the crowd singing along to "Bobby Jean" and the roar as the band opened the encore with "Sherry Darling." And I remember leaving the Stadium tunnel and knowing that I'd found something.