I know I am slightly cynical. But I'm certain Bruce Springsteen, the symbol of integrity and authenticity in American rock music, was lip-synching when he sang at the Superbowl last night.
And what's with this enormous gospel choir that seems to be following him around these days?
His new album "Working On A Dream" is good, though not sensational or era-defining or a creative high watermark--and I've never been a fan of Brendan O'Brien's production--but the most powerful thing you can have on a stage is one man with a guitar and a harmonica. You don't need fifty people in flowing white robes jiggling around like they're animated by the ecstasy of some holy communion with God.
Okay, "Nebraska" or "The Ghost of Tom Joad" probably would have got Springsteen booed off the stage by the Superbowl crowd.
But I'm much more of a fan of the lonesome Bruce who speaks from his own heart and doesn't care whether anybody likes it than I am of the consensus-seeking "Boss" who's emerging again after a string of big hit albums and his close identification with Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
If that tendency continues I may have to put his cds to the bottom of the pile for a while and play a bit more Neil Young.