Influenced by “Wise Blood”

I recently read/wrestled with Flannery O’Connors short, brutish novel Wise Blood. Researching it, I was surprised at its influences on bands as diverse as Ministry and David Bazan in Headphones. Then today I read kind-of-review/personal-musing (what is with these, today?) by Bill See of Heart of Darkness, Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska by David Burke, at Popmatters, link via ALoTTFMA

It cannot be overstated just how jarring a release Nebraska was in 1982. The charts were being ruled by such vapid banalities as Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”, Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” and Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”. Then along comes a quiet folk record made on an old 4-track, basically just voice and guitar about killers, small-time thieves and other forgotten souls. It took some major stones to release it.

What Springsteen gleaned from the songs of Woody Guthrie, the writings of O’Connor and Steinbeck and filmmakers like Ford, Huston and Terrence Malick was a humanity and a curiosity about why certain people lose connection with themselves, their families, their community, their government. And what then happens when that kind of alienation infiltrates the subconscious. Further, the profound effect that has on the people that love those alienated and disconnected souls.

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