Friday, June 11, 2010

Bruce Springsteen "London Calling"

I had a cool experience yesterday. I listened to the radio. That happens more rarely than you might think.

I was off work for the day, taking care of business with the family on the Cape. We were early for an appointment, so we took a swing by Trader Joe's. My wife and daughter went inside. I stayed in the car with the sleeping infant boy.

I flipped on mvyradio and caught Alison, who was filling in for Barbara.

Alison was her usual engaging self, bringing The Lunch Hour to life, and because I'd hadn't been in work-mode at all that day, I really just listened to her and the music, not as a co-worker or boss or Music Director. I just listened and enjoyed and absorbed what I was hearing.

On the What's New For Lunch menu was a new live Bruce Springsteen version of "London Calling," and just the mention of it got me excited.

I love The Clash. I love Bruce Springsteen. It seemed like a great match of song and singer and spirit.

But listening, not through headphones, or the big studio speakers, or as part of my regular going-through-a-stack-of-cds-to-sample-songs-for-broadcast, but just in my own car, in a bustling parking lot, waiting for my wife to come back with pop tarts and avocados, I experienced the song as a fan. And I wasn't won over.

Did my fandom build up too much expectation? Or, is this a case of It-Looks-Good-On-Paper? Either way, on first listen it didn't hook me.

If I had been listening as a programmer, I'd be muting my own reaction, trying to listen to it instead as someone who might really want to hear Bruce Springsteen covering The Clash, wondering whom I'd please if I played the song on my show. Instead, I was the audience, not concerned about anyone's reaction to the song but my own. And that guy, wasn't crazy about the experience.

So I now think I'm in the position of having Real Me exerting a prejudice on Professional Me.

As always, I turn to you. What do you think? Good version? Not quite there? Merits a few plays? Should be in heavy rotation? Joe Strummer is turning over in his grave? Let me know what you think.


  1. I really like Bruce's version of London Calling. I love The Clash, too; one of the best bands I ever saw live, and I'm old enough to have seen a lot of great music. I think Joe Strummer would be pleased. I do think that watching the video adds to the experience so keep it in rotation if not heavy rotation.
    Casey VH

  2. I don't love it either, PJ. You're right about it looking better on paper. I feel like he's trying to channel Joe Strummer, and he should have just stuck with being Bruce Springsteen. All that being said, I'll be buying this DVD on June 22--I hear it's pretty good.