Tag Archives: Dolly Parton

Rocks In The Attic #845 Bruce Springsteen – ‘Born In The U.S.A.’ (1984)

RITA#845It’s taken me about 36 years to figure out that Born In The U.S.A. is a deeply boring song. It’s one of two Springsteen tracks that gets played heavily at our morning bootcamp sessions – the other one being the evergreen banger Born To Run – but I’ve only just started to break Born In The U.S.A. down. It’s funny what starts going through your mind when you’re doing what feels like endless burpees.

Led by a great keyboard riff – DURR durr durr durr durr DURR – the song blows its load in the first few bars. The rest of the band join in, with some big ‘80s drums, and Bruce harps on about joining the army and then coming home to work in a factory. And that’s about it. There’s no change to that DURR durr durr durr durr DURR motif; it does break down at one point, before the rest of the band jump back in, but there’s no variation. The chorus repeats the same musical figure as the verses, and there’s no middle-eight or bridge to speak of. Which is ironic as Bruce could have sung about how he worked on that bridge when he came back from ‘Nam.

RITA#845aA whopping seven singles were lifted from the album over an 18-month timeframe. After the title track, the two better-known ones are Dancing In The Dark and Glory Days, but you have to wonder what they saw in songs like I’m Going Down and My Hometown, aside from a simple drive to keep people buying the record.

The finest song on the album for me is I’m On Fire, a weirdly ominous track about lusting after a ‘little girl’ whose Daddy left her all alone. Aside from the questionable lyrics, it’s the one song that doesn’t sound as ‘stadium rock’ as the rest of the album.

And of course, it sounds better sped up to 45rpm where it sounds like the best song Dolly Parton ever recorded.

Hit: Born In The U.S.A.

Hidden Gem: Downbound Train

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Rocks In The Attic #442: Darcy Clay – ‘Jesus I Was Evil’ (1997)

RITA#442Darcy Clay’s star had burnt out long before I arrived in New Zealand. Like most immigrants who arrived here in the twenty first century, I know Jesus I Was Evil from its token inclusion on the Nature’s Best collection. I missed the bus (and the buzz) when he was alive.

I therefore know very little about Clay. There isn’t much to know anyway – six songs on this 1997 EP (recently re-released to celebrate bFM’s 45th birthday), a slot supporting Blur in the same year, and a bullet to the head shortly after (the night before he was due to play at a suicide awareness concert).

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Darcy Clay

I really didn’t know what to expect from the rest of the EP. Would it be as lo-fi and catchy as Jesus I Was Evil? The answer is a resounding yes – even Clay’s cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene manages to sound like it was recorded on the fly. He might have his detractors for not being able to play a barre chord on the guitar, but man he can play a groove on the bass.

If anything, he’s like New Zealand’s Beck Hansen; maybe not as musically talented, but with just as much ‘fuck you’ attitude as the Sex Pistols.

Hit: Jesus I Was Evil

Hidden Gem: Jolene