Columns, Opinion

REMMERT: The Boss, the Bible and Sam’s Town

Man, wasn’t Bruce Springsteen awesome on Sunday? It got me thinking, as Kurt Warner failed to ascend to heaven atop the Steelers’ D, who’s our Bruce Springsteen? Depending on the magazine, Conor Oberst or Kevin Devine is our generation’s Bob Dylan ‘- but Springsteen is (very arguably) just as important to rock. Yet he doesn’t have a modern counterpart. Let’s change that.

The first candidate is Win Butler of The Arcade Fire. A native Texan among a band of Canadians, Butler is an openly obsessed Springsteen fan ‘- hell, ‘Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)’ is ‘Atlantic City.’ His poetic voice is inspired by the Boss (re: ‘Antichrist Television Blues’) but is much more scared, passive and na’iuml;ve. Butler would never have written ‘Born to Run,’ but on Inauguration Day, he sounded at home covering ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ Butler represents the dystopian sadness of ‘Nebraska’-era Springsteen. But Win is not Bruce; he’s just emulating him. Butler has no desire to be a rock star; Bruce’s core desire for the past 30 years has been to be the biggest rock star in the world. Butler is, at best, a good copy of Springsteen’s sound. Butler is really today’s Jackson Browne, whose career goal was to be Bruce.

Who else, then? Brandon Flowers. The Killers’ frontman is the postmodern equivalent of Bruce. He is from Vegas, which is today’s Asbury Park, New Jersey. ‘Somebody Told Me’ is the modern ‘Thunder Road.’ It’s not obvious, but listen closely. Flowers plays the keyboard, which is the new guitar. Aesthetically, Flowers and Springsteen are exact opposites, but that’s the point. No teen is looking for an American ‘everyman’ character that just wants to take his high school sweetheart off the front porch and strap her around his ‘motorcycle’ engines. That was 1972. It’s 2009. We are looking for a hazy star with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, riding a wave of late 90s glitz and happiness into the age of fear. Springsteen and Flowers are, for lack of a better term, bone-crushingly cool versions of the men we want to be. The Arcade Fire is not cool. Important ‘- not cool, just like Jackson Browne. Plus, Flowers is 5,000 times the sex symbol Butler is.

So Brandon Flowers is our Bruce Springsteen. Why on Earth is this important? Because, in rock culture, respect for one’s elders is everything. We idolize Springsteen and Dylan for their contributions to rock ‘n’ roll. Rightly so. But because of this time spent revering, many of us dismiss modern rock groups as being irrelevant. In 30 years though, all the old rock godfathers will be dead. No more earth shattering Super Bowl appearances. We will have Butler, Flowers and Oberst. They’ll be performing ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ for stadium crowds. And unless you want to be an old rock curmudgeon for the waning years of your life, you had better keep in mind that The Killers’ ‘Day & Age’ might be our ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town.’ Or embrace electronica. Nobody wants that.

9 Comments

  1. ) I know by heart all lyrics!! and by the way, I love them so much because their lyrics too

    not everyone idolizes Brandon Flowers. Just those under the age of 16.” I contradict you – I’m 30 past and I think the Killers is a band unique, definitely like no others… I consider myself their biggest fun here, in my country

  2. )<br/>so, I look forward to the Killers concert from 1st july in my town… youpiiiii!

  3. I very much agree. Never really thought about the camparison between flowers and springsteen, but appreciate the idea. The Killers have been my favorite band since Hot Fuss and also agree that they should be way more appreciated. I have to admit that Brandon Flowers is an amazing frontman, the entire band is, Ronnie, Marl, and Dave all are amazing in my opinion. Cannot wait to the day they’re ate the superbowl.<br/>Thanks for the article.

  4. Im sorry but no no NO!<br/>How can anyone compare Bruce with all his raw power and emotion to Mr Flowers?<br/>Dont get me wrong The Killers have their place but it is way way below Mr Sringsteen!<br/>I just dont think Brandon has any great stage presence. I saw The Killers at T in the Park 2 years ago, lasted 3 songs before becoming bored and headed off to Pet Sounds Tent to see Brian Wilson. Best move I made!

  5. I definately argree with “atianafiorella”, I always wonder, why would singers like Pussycat Dolls even be awarded for being a pussy… lol… The Killers desearve so much better.

  6. The Killers are by far the best band that has ever walked the face of this earth.<br/>It’s a shame that they’re not as fully appreciated as they should be.<br/>It should be bands like The Killers, or Connor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band that should be playing at the big music award shows, not stupid bimbos like Rhianna, or The Pussycat Dolls.

  7. I’m probably the biggest Killers and Springsteen fan you can find, and I still find these claims pretty bogus. I love Flowers’ songs more than just about anything, but he doesn’t approach operating on the level of Springsteen (and remember, I’m saying this as a huge, scream-like-a-schoolgirl fan of both musicians). Not yet, at least.<br/>And why are we looking for a new Springsteen anyway? The Boss is making some of the best music of his career RIGHT NOW. We’re never going to need a song to replace “Thunder Road” (and really, “Somebody Told Me” is just about the least appropriate song in the Killers’ repertoire to do it). What we need are musicians ready and able to build on Springsteen’s work, not substitute it. I think the Killers are really among the best rock bands working today, and I say we let Flowers blossom (hee, pun) into his own unique artist without slapping him with the “next Springsteen” label.

  8. The Killers are underestimated in so many ways and America is too ignorant to recognize there talent. Get over it people they are the BEST band on earth in this DAY and Age!!! I love you guys, keep rocking my world!!! See you in San Jose, California the 19th of April, I have been fortunate enough to see them for every album in concert, yesss I am blessed people! Get over it!!! LOL