I have heard Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” a bunch of times lately, and am compelled to ruminate on that horrible rendition. I think I may have slipped a clue as to where my rumination might tend by the use of a certain adjective, but so it goes.
The song itself is one of those forgettable cutesy songs that no one can forget. You can deconstruct it into its component rules committees and such, but that’s like looking deeply into the Christmas phenomenon: no thanks. Or at least, take it as written.
Bruce interplays with his band, hahaha loudly: have they been good? Will Clarence get a new sax? Thud, if you ask me. But Showbiz Bruce pushes that for a bit. See, I saw Bruce at the Superbowl, when he was greasily super convincing about playing to the camera and performing all the necessities required by the Super Bowl Thing. It really dismayed me to see him phony up.
With the Christmas song, tho, we see that phonying up is part of the program. When he starts singing, he’s putting his whole Springsteenness into it. Yes, he has a tight band, yes Clarence can throw that same solo in per usual, and yes, Bruce can orchestrate the thing to death.
Robert Grenier hates words? I hate meaning. I hate the registry that enforces Bruce towards the payment system of audience interplay. Cute song of the Christmas season for the 4 hour Springsteen party. Bleah. Bruce means something, something meaningless.
Just last Sunday, at Best Buy, I witnessed some younger generation Vegas minion singing with a big band. That is, one of the super-sized screens of tele-vision showed him performing. Crafted mannerisms and slick foreplay intimating some grandeur that doesn’t exist, I recognize the same stuff in Springsteen. You had to get old, you bumbumhead.
Youngish writers at the Boston Poet Tea Party played to audience. They were the audience. Their sincerity was within a social context of agreeability. Like Bruce, they acted like land masses. Okay, but then poetry is dead within the context of agreeability. We do not agree with words, we watch them in their life. Those who press words, lose words. Bruce put that shouty voice to work singing the song he never thought about. All that sincerity turned only into noise. Bleah.