Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run [Columbia, 1975]
Just how much American myth can be crammed into one song, or a dozen, about asking your girl to come take a ride? A lot, but not as much as romanticists of the doomed outsider believe. Springsteen needs to learn that operettic pomposity insults the Ronettes and that pseudotragic beautiful-loser fatalism insults us all. And around now I'd better add that the man avoids these quibbles at his best and simply runs them over the rest of the time. If "She's the One" fails the memory of Phil Spector's innocent grandeur, well, the title cut is the fulfillment of everything "Be My Baby" was about and lots more. Springsteen may well turn out to be one of those rare self-conscious primitives who gets away with it. In closing, two comments from my friends the Marcuses. Jenny: "Who does he think he is, Howard Keel?" (That's a put-down.) Greil: "That is as good as `I Think We're Alone Now.'" (That's not.) A