Bruce Springsteen mincing hard, a grinning,
gurning clown, sweating bullets to let you
know he means it – that dull rasp of a voice,
no actual bark, even less bite. He’s written
some gems, a small handful, but I couldn’t
ever let it be thought that I didn’t love
some of what he’s done. Though line him up
next to Paul Kelly and it’s baffling to think
of one as a hero, the other a hard-grafter.
Not so baffling when you know Paul Kelly
isn’t out there for the photo-ops, isn’t faking
blue-collar ideals, isn’t being baptised by
his own insincerity; born again night after
night if you have four hours to spare – and
believe in long encores as a marker
of value. This isn’t about Paul Kelly being
better than Bruce Springsteen of course.
Though there’s no contest, I’m convinced.
This is about The Boss being almost a fraud.
A guy that peaked. And then peaked a second
time. And the long tail doesn’t wag that dog.