the spiritual in music ::. i just recently watched a re-airing of the 2004 rock and roll hall of fame show on vh1 and was utterly captivated by the imagery and spiritual overtones of bruce springsteen’s induction speech for jackson browne. it has further deepened my respect for the boss. here’s part of the speech, the best part ::.
“The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson, they gave us California as paradise and Jackson Browne gave us Paradise Lost. Now I always imagine, what if Brian Wilson, long after he’d taken a bite of that orange the serpent offered to him, what if he married that nice girl in Caroline Know, I always figured that she was pregnant anyway, and what if he moved into the valley and had two sons? One of them would have looked and sounded just like Jackson Browne. Cain, of course, would have been Jackson’s brother in arms, Warren Zevon. We love ya, Warren. But, Jackson to me, Jackson was always the tempered voice of Abel. Toiling in the vineyards, here to bear the earthly burdens, confronting the impossibility of love, here to do his father’s work. Jackson’s work was really California pop gospel. Listen to the chord changes of Rock Me On the Water and Before the Deluge, it’s gospel through and through. Now I always thought that in our fall from Eden, besides the strains of physicality and the bearing of earthly burdens, our real earthly task was that an unbridgeable gap, or a black hole was opened up in our ability to truly love one another. And so our job here on earth, the way we regain our divinity, our sacredness, and our general good-standing is by reconstructing love and creating love out of the broken pieces that we’ve been given. That’s all we have of human promise. That’s the way we prove ourselves in the eyes of God and facilitate our own redemption. Now, to me Jackson Browne’s work was always the sound of that reconstruction. So as he writes in The Pretender: we’ll put our dark glasses on, and we’ll make love until our strength is gone, and when the morning light comes streamin’ in, we’ll get up and do it again. Amen.”
this theme of eden does reoccur in springsteen’s career work. unfortunately his poetic conclusion of our divine reconstruction beautifully describes our human condition without the hope of mankind and the gift of God through Christ. yes, it is forever despairingly striving for that which our hearts so long for, eden.
later in the show, another interesting comment came from prince. ““But a word to the wise to the young artists — without spiritual guidance too much freedom can lead to spiritual decline”” and he ought to know…this sort of depth is missing from many popular artists today, perhaps they will learn and share their wisdom years from now to a whole new generation .::