Bruce Springsteen takes on Wall Street

The musician's 17th studio album explores many of the same themes as the Occupy Wall Street movement.

By Kim Peterson Feb 21, 2012 2:14PM
Credit: © Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images
Caption: Bruce Springsteen performs onstage at The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, CaliforniaBruce Springsteen is furious at Wall Street, and he funneled that anger into his newest album, "Wrecking Ball."

The result is a collection of songs about the destruction of the American dream. You don't get too deep into that subject before you hit the financial crisis -- and Wall Street's role in it.

"An enormous fault line cracked the American system wide open, and its repercussions are just beginning to be felt," Springsteen said in interviews promoting the album, which comes out next month.

It's a dark album, layered with themes of the common man versus the bankers and fat cats. Rolling Stone was streaming one song, "Shackled and Drawn," on its website Tuesday. The song describes how life is fat and easy on "banker's hill," while the working man is shackled and drawn. Here's the video for the first song from the album, "We Take Care of Our Own." Here's a performance of another, called "Wrecking Ball."

Springsteen's work echoes some of the themes of Occupy Wall Street, and he credits that movement with changing the national conversation. "Previous to Occupy Wall Street, there was no push-back at all saying this was outrageous -- a basic theft that struck at the heart of what America was about, a complete disregard for the American sense of history and community," he said at a press conference about the album, according to the Guardian.

One song is about a man getting ready to kill and rob, which Springsteen says is "just like the robbery spree that has occurred at the top of the pyramid. He's imitating the guys on Wall Street."

So did Springsteen just hand President Barack Obama a campaign soundtrack? Though he supported Obama in the 2008 election, he said he's sitting on the sidelines this time around.

"He kept General Motors alive, he got through health care -- though not the public system I would have wanted -- he killed Osama Bin Laden, and he brought sanity to the top level of government," Springsteen said about the president. "But big business still has too much say in government, and there (have) not been as many middle- or working-class voices in the administration as I expected."

339Comments
Feb 22, 2012 8:12AM
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He complains about the economy and what's happening in the US while he sits around Monmouth County counting his many millions of dollars. It's a real shame he does not take the time to learn exactly what political shenanigans got us into this mess in the first place before he starts throwing stones at the very people that got him where he is today. Bruce, stick to your music and not politics, you ain't good at both!!!
Feb 22, 2012 8:11AM
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"An enormous fault line cracked the American system wide open, and its repercussions are just beginning to be felt,"

Bruce has obviously been out of touch for the past decade.
Feb 22, 2012 7:45AM
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Bruce Springsteen is totally off track blaming just the Fat cats on Wall Street for the economic crisis that has occurred. First of all most of the people who work on Wall Street are just regular working stiffs who are trying to make a living like everyone else.  There are many who work on the street who do make a lot of money and even those people put in a lot of hours and bust their rear ends.  

The big reason for the economic crisis was greed and people living beyond their means and that blame can go around to a lot of people and at lot of businesses. The car companies got into trouble because the cost of the befits their Union employees received got too costly and the companies failed to make products that would sell during a gas and economic crisis. Their failure was their own doing and not the bankers on Wall Street.

The politicians also pressured financial institutions to create mortgage products so that “everyone” could own a home. That was the American dream. You can also point fingers at the people who purchased homes they could not afford. Why would anyone who was making twenty thousand a year purchase a home that was worth three or four hundred thousand dollars.

You had government agencies Fannie and Freddie Mae supporting the insanity in the housing markets and you had bankers and investors buying into the insanity. When the housing bubble burst the house of cards collapsed and everyone paid the price.

Yes there is a lot of greed on Wall Street and many people get paid salaries they do not deserve but that can be said of a lot of industries and a lot of people. Do the politicians that Bruce Springsteen supports deserve their salaries and benefits? Do athletes and entertainers deserve the money they make? Maybe Mr. Springsteen should walk a mile in the shoes of the people who work on Wall Street before he writes songs about things he does not know.

Feb 22, 2012 7:42AM
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Ironically you have to work on Wall Street to afford to go to a Springsteen concert. When Bruce plays NJ and NY the audience will be 80 percent bankers and the rest will be promo winners and the cash strapped die hard fans.
Feb 22, 2012 7:34AM
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good mourning;there is nothing wrong with capitolism its when its taken to the extreme without regard tot the future of this country thats what bruce is talking about people please!!!!
Feb 22, 2012 7:32AM
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Anything to broaden the audience and stimulate record sales.  Hate to be cynical, but,  Bruce, I think you're a little late to the party.
Feb 22, 2012 7:06AM
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Although I admire some of Springsteen's music, I think he's missing the point:  it's not about Obama,not about Wall Street.  Sadly, greed wins out.  That's why we have only one political party, the Haves and one governing class, the Want More.  Let's keep our focus on the linkage between wealth and more wealth.  Class is no longer an operative word.  Politics no longer genuinely promotes the public good. But things will get better, once this empire collapses in upon itself.  It's already beginning to crumble in Europe and our time is coming. We will go through a long post-empire period, we will, hopefully, rethink things.

Out of the ashes, perhaps, a slightly better day.

 

Right now, we need to hang in there, to try to help others ride out this long collapse.  There are enough good people left in this once great nation.

Feb 22, 2012 6:51AM
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I always love it when multi-millionaires several times over think they know how the other 99% live. This snot-hole liberal puke has no idea what the average person in this country goes through every day just to make ends meet after obama has partially destroyed the middle-class. And then he have the audacity to blame wall St., Hey Springsteen you sub-moronic retard. Wall St. made you. What are record companies but pawns of mega-billion EVIL CORPORATIONS that you so despise.

Hypocritical cowards like this guy make me VOMIT.
Feb 22, 2012 6:46AM
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grapes of wrath, my baalz - that is kind of funny...

still waiting on the zombie apokolypse

Feb 22, 2012 6:01AM
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I have always been a Springsteen fan and I will be there in April to see his shows in Los Angeles.  I seriously do not agree with his politics but I do enjoy his music.  I am in great hope that his shows will not be a platform for getting Obama reelected.  This will make me sick.
Feb 22, 2012 5:53AM
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Bruce Springsteen is an entertainer and there is no problem with that, however, he has been a highly successful and highly paid entertainer and for some reason he feels that gives him latitude to comment on all of the perceived ills of the world, and USA, in particular. His "act" is getting old. I doubt anyone on Wall St. would tell him how to write lyrics and music, since that may not be their training.

Bruce has NO formal economics or financial training. He never finished Ocean County Community College with even a basic General Ed. degree. Now he professes to understand complex financial transactions and economics principles??? Based on what background? He is selling his album and this gives him publicity. No solutions, no ideas, just "Wall St. is bad"?? Based on his gut?

 

I was once an avid fan of him and his music, but as other bloggers have pointed out, he has become a hypocrite(maybe always was?). He pays almost ZERO ($1) tax on large "Farm" property in Central Jersey, he makes millions, he gets huge tax breaks for giving to charities and he has worked out with and befriended several Wall St. brokers in the past. They probably manage his investments.

He seems to write albums based on the "Cause du Jour". First Nukes, then Vietnam, then politics (Repubs in particular) now the Occupy Wall Streeters. Even his concerts have been politicized and when he gets on his lectures at the concert, a lot of the crowd is badly turned off. He CANNOT relate to blue collar or working class people anymore and his rants have become irritating and irrelevant. Maybe time for him to fade into the sunset and count his money on a beach somewhere and read a book on economics. Maybe start with "The Ascent of Money"?? He is no John Steinbeck, Woody Guthrie or even Bob Dylan, although he pretends or wishes to be. Sorry Bruce. I will NOT buy your latest album OR attend anymore concerts. You have become tiresome...

Feb 22, 2012 4:57AM
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Bruce has every right to his opinion as you and I. Maybe he seeing what a lot of Americans are seeing, the right wants to privatize every thing, now they have brought religion into politics, accusing Obama a muslim, when he has said over and over he is a Christian, then they questioned his birth certificate, destroying health care for women, I could go on and on, the right is over reaching and spinning every thing.  I am an independent, and I can tell you I will not vote for any of those Republicans or TeaParty.  I have never seen so many flip flop as they do, I don't even think they know what they are talking about.
Feb 22, 2012 4:52AM
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What, Bruce Springsteen isn't allowed to have a voice because he's too successful? Maybe, like many of us, he's still upset that the people who brought this country (and the entire planet) to the brink of financial ruin, have yet to be punished for their crimes. Maybe he's angry that chunks of taxpayer bailout money was perverted into lavish bonuses, while millions of Americans were out of work and losing their homes. Quite possibly, Bruce is fuming mad because nothing meaningful has been done to ensure this type of wholesale swindle never happens again. My hat is off to the man, we could use a few more voices like his. 
Feb 22, 2012 4:46AM
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springsteen is a fraud, always was. Won't be spending any of my earnings, (yes I work for my money), on his crap. Never did, never will.
Feb 22, 2012 4:10AM
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Bruce Springsteen has always been a friend of the working man, and has donated money to help Unions in their struggles against companies. He put his money where his mouth is unlike some Hollywood Phonies.
Feb 22, 2012 3:58AM
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@ terryhall

 

Can you show me where Bruce has told you who to vote for? He is singing about HIS opinions, HIS beliefs, HIS political views. He never said vote for Obama. He voted for him, doesn't mean you have to. Also maybe you didn't read the last paragraph where it says he will vote for Obama but wasn;t 100% happy with him. He never said you or anyone else had to personally if you follow a musician, actor or even friend's word on who to vote for you should stay home election day. Make up your mind yourself. Not through Faux News, MSNBC or the other media. Those are outlets that do basically tell you who to vote for, which side to support.

 

And with all the Obama bashing it's funny, nobody EVER can give a reason why people should vote for one of the clowns on the Republican side. I'd rather have a president who is working to get the job done than someone like Newt who cheats on his wife and wants to build on other planets, Santorum, who is a borderline Westboro Baptist Church member, Mitt, who is a Mormom elitist millionaire or Ron Paul, closet KKK member who wants to take the country backwards. Somehow Obama is worse. Yeah ok. Sometimes I do wish all the cowards on the internet would man up, grow some balls and admit the real reason Obama is not worthy and a failure is due to what race he is. Republicans tried to impeech Clinton but he still got much more respect. Somehow though Obama is pure evil but the party that backed two billion dollar wars, thousands of dead U.S. troops, a recession and Bush for 8 years is the better option. NO THANKS! I remember 9/11 and who sat back and allowed it to happen, who had family members who had long ties to both Bin Laden and Saddam.  I also remember the person who ended Bush's b.s. war and caught the man behind 9/11.

Feb 22, 2012 3:47AM
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It amuses me how some are saying because Bruce is a entertainer therefore he shouldn't be allowed to speak his views. Really? Musicians have been singing about their political beliefs and views LONG beforhe Springsteen. Heard of Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger even Bob Dylan? I guess pro war anthems like the ones Toby Keith or Hank Williams Jr sing about are fine? Republicans are hypocrities. They always cry when someone on the Left speaks their mind on something. Now if Bruce was hyping Mitt Romney in this article the people bashing him would adore him for it. It simply amazes me how during the Bush years it was anti-American to question your president but in the Obama years it's not perfectly fine to attack Obama and make up some of the most absurd garabge I have heard.. Bruce votes, pays taxes, is an American citizen. Bruce worked for everything he got. He grew up pretty poor, had an abusive father. He didn't grow up with silver spoon in his mouth like racist white trash Hank Williams Jr or the men looking for your votes in the Republican race for president.

 

Bruce also unlike most employers pays his employees fairly. He pays his crew, staff, band equally. He doesn't take home all the pay and he has ALWAYS given back. For almost his entire career he has played various charities, benefits and involved local food banks on every stop of his tour. Oh yeah I forgot...those involve community organizers so they are EVIL. I 100% guaratnee Bruce has given back to his country than ANY of the people bashing him ever have. Unlike you guys, Bruce doesn't sit behind a computer like a coward spewing hate against someone they have no idea about.

 

So if you do not agree with his political views DONT LISTEN. It's as simple as that. I don't watch Faux News or listen to all the right wing hillbilly country singers but at the same time they are all Americans and have every right to talk politics all they want through their music, interviews etc just like you or I do. From the homeless man on the street to the Hollywood actor or big rock star, they all have the same rights to speak their minds.

Feb 22, 2012 3:42AM
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Been listening to the Boss before he was the Boss; great song writer and performer....that's it. He confuses himself with his own lyrics...many of his lyrics support the backbone of America (laborers) and the hopes of a brighter tomorrow. Unfortunately he lives in his own dream world where he believes the wealthy are unjustified, the downtrodden are always a result of someone taking advantage of them, and that everyone should be wonderfully successful and happy their entire lives. Not everyone will be wealthy, be well educated (or even educated), be happy, be content, be successful; but even a poor person can be more successful and content than a wealthy person. Bruce is hopping on the band wagon called the blame game.  Listening to his own tales of his upbringing, it's evident that he looked upon his parents reward for their work as being too little; he wanted more. Luckily his artistic talent payed out, because he developed no other talent or work ethic that would have translated to providing the living he believes all should have. This is where the Boss falls short. Wall Streets not perfect, but thankfully it provides a method that has resulted in rising the US above all other nations. 
Feb 22, 2012 3:05AM
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(It's just like kroger bragging every year about all the charities they support, millions and millions of dollars. Do they think if they didn't have such a high markup on their groceries some people might be able to make it from one week to the next without going hungry? C'mon $4.00 for a loaf of bread?

 

But they give a small chunk of "your" money to charity, so it makes the high prices alright doesn't it?)

 

I dont know what Kroger he or she shops in, but my kroger has bread for .89 per loaf. If you are spending $4 for a loaf of bread at kroger, your no doubt buying gourmet bread ie: Pepperidge Farm. Also its very obvious from your comment you have no idea what the markup on groceries are.....sorry your uninformed BS doesnt work here. You need to really get a life.......How much money do you give to charity? Thats what I figured, $0.

 

 

Feb 22, 2012 2:48AM
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Sorry, but entertainers are only relevant as entertainers--I don't want to hear how they would run the world (into the ground, mostly). You met them in college, didn't you--the guys and gals in theater and music, great at a party and fun to be with. But I wouldn't let them tell me where to invest, or how to run just about anything except entertainment.
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