Monday, May 23, 2005

Creep

Where are the creeps in Devils & Dust? For a record intended to be about people struggling, it seems like everyone gets a shot at redemption. Even the john in "Reno" experiences grace (or, at least, he says he does). And in The Rising, listeners experienced a September 11 and aftermath full of heroes and victims: no bad guys, only bad circumstances. It's not only the bravehearted whose stories are worth telling. One could argue that Springsteen wrote some of his best lyrics in "Nebraska" when he tried to get inside killer Charlie Starkweather's head. This new album, for all its elemental sound, needs some down-to-earth evil to round things out. In the world of Devils & Dust, even those who fail are brimming with dignity. That's only part of the story. Creeps make up part of the world, too. They're great subjects for songs.