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 21, 2012 2:36PM
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What is killing America goes beyond Wall Street. It is primarily the Super PACs allowed by none other than our supposedly non-politcal Supreme Court that gave corporations the same rights as ind'l people to contribute to political parties. Unlimited funds, as much as they want. What do you think that leads to, other than influence peddling that completely distorts all our laws and regulations?

 

Nothing has been more harmful to America than our own Supreme Court, bought and sold now like milk or bread, supposedly unattached to politics but now as deep in it as are the other tainted and compromised arms of the gov't. We are in big trouble until we change that ruling back to what it was before Big Money took America hostage. Or else.

Feb 21, 2012 7:07PM
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WHAT A JOKE...BRUCE LIVES ABOUT A MILE UP THE ROAD FROM ME IN RUMSON NJ AND HAS ANOTHER HOME ABOUT 5 MILES FROM HERE IN COLTS NECK. THE HOME IN COLTS NECK IS ON 373 ACRES............BRUCE PAYS  A COUPLE HUNDRED DOLLARS IN REAL ESTATE TAXES CAUSE HE LETS SOME ONE FARM A FEW ACRES IN THE CORNER OF THE PROPERTY........BON JOVI LIVES ACROSS THE RIVER IN A 20 MILLION MANSION AND PAYS  200 DOLLARS A YEAR IN TAXES CAUSE HE RAISES HONEYBEES..........I GUESS OBAMA WOULD SAY THEY`RE PAYIJG THEIR FAIR SHARE..................WHAT A JOKE.

Feb 22, 2012 8:55AM
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Let me get this straight.  Bruce is worth $100million, uses the Stone Hill Trust to shelter money for his championship equestrian daughter and pays <$1,000 a year in taxes on his huge estate in NJ via a farming loophole.  I used to be a big fan, but c'mon Bruce...you ain't no 99%er !
Feb 21, 2012 3:40PM
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All I ask is that everyone open your mind to what's really going on in this country. Politics has very little to do with the larceny that is occuring. Get past ALL the propaganda and learn what's really going on in this country.  Just remember, a man with a briefcase can steal more money than any man with a gun.
Feb 21, 2012 3:47PM
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Springsteen made his money the old fashioned True capitalist American way, he earned it. You see in the entertainment industry you either buy their product or you don't. Their careers sink or swim on their sales of the tangible product, and music is a universal passion if it's good. What does Wall Street make, that would be nothing. Wall Street siphons off the real value of investments which is your hard earned dollar, put it into their pockets, and all that is left is worthless paper sitting on a desk in the way of hedge funds, derivatives, credit swaps, mortgage backed security's, etc. Voodoo math garbage at it's best. But they earned it, right.
Feb 21, 2012 4:44PM
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kilrze....Just because people like Bruce have thrived and found success in our country, doesn't mean they should pay off your mortgage or anybody else's.  Bruce is singing about giving people like you and me the opportunity to thrive as he has, without the obstacle of dealing with dishonest folks at the top of the financial world.  What he isn't talking about, is how the less fortunate people are entitled to handouts from the wealthy...
Feb 21, 2012 4:33PM
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The problem has never been Wall Street.

It is the the people running this country (into the ground). There will always be the haves and have nots.

We will always have the rich, the poor and everyone in between.

People are the issue.

It is tragic that celebrities talk about "the 1%" when all of them are.

The most tragic thing is the "we are the 99%" BS.

They don't represent me! I work for a living, I do not expect to be given anything. I do not expect anyone but me to pay my debts, I took them on, I pay them off.

If these bums would spend more time focusing on themselves than on trying to get hand outs, they might be able to achieve something.

If you don't work (I do not mean layed off individuals), have not worked or do not have to work because of the wealth that you have either earned or have had given to you...please shut up.

There are jobs out there, they just don't pay a lot and they suck. Not everyone gets to be a CEO.

Feb 21, 2012 5:55PM
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Obviously from many of the comments, none of you ever listened to a word this man has sung in his entire career!  His music has always been about the plight of working people in this country and he has always put his money where his mouth is.  For example, starting in the 1980s, at every concert he does, a portion of the ticket sales are contributed to local food banks in the community where the concert is held to help those in need. 
Feb 22, 2012 9:26AM
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Bruce is very right to be upset at the irresponsibility of the bankers and wall streeters.  No doubt, greed ruled the thinking.  However, while i've always considered greed a problem in business, believe it or not, a lot of the problem here was, other than  being greedy, and except for a few blatant Maddoffs out there, the bankers and the wall streeters really didn't do any thing legaly wrong.  In other words, a larger part of the problem was that our laws allowed (and even encouraged) that behaviour.  And both the democrats and republicans are responsible.  I challenge all readers here to keep an open and really study the issues.  You will be surprised.
Feb 21, 2012 4:54PM
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Bruce should take on the POLITICIANS, there the one's that created the BIG MESS, Allowing all of the OUTSOURCING, and BAILOUTS. What have they done for the WORKING MAN? Higher unemployment , Higher TAXES, more FORECLOSURES, more HOMELESS than ever. We need a GOVERNMENT that truly takes care of there people by making sure there are jobs, NOT GOVERNMENT CREATED JOBS, Keep ILLEGAL'S OUT, KEEP OUR BORDERS SAFE, Give our people something to be proud of. We need POLITICIANS that don't disgrace the office they were ELECTED to, and truly work for the people not SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS or to take care of there RETIREMENT PACKAGE. WE NEED TERM LIMITS.

I hope Bruce sells a million albums.

Feb 22, 2012 11:12AM
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Bruce is certainly not as politically astute as some, I do not agree with many of his points of view but he knows something is very wrong, his wall street opinion is not far off the mark,  at least he is sending a message out there that things are bad at the core.  He's right, middleclass  america and the working man is losing his voice in government, probably because he working too hard to make ends meet to participate...and don't think that our government isn't counting on that.  
Feb 21, 2012 6:53PM
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While I believe that anyone who commits a crime should be prosecuted if not for Wall Street there would be no Apple or Microsoft or even GM.

All companies that employ millions of people both in America and abroad.

In order for business to grow it needs to raise capital which is what Wall Street does for them.

To say Wall Street does nothing is wrong without Wall Street many of these companies and new ones yet to come won't exist.

Just FYI I don't work for Wall Street and other than a few small investments have nothing to do with them thus I believe I'm impartial here.

That said if crimes were committed by anyone in the melt down we just went through as i said above they should be prosecuted.

Quite frankly I believe the government would've by now if there was a case given the groundswell of opinion demanding blood.

It is my guess that there was very little crime jus bad decisions resulting from greed.

Time and history will tell.

 

Feb 21, 2012 4:15PM
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The greed, abuse and criminal activity by some of our banker friends, mortgage brokers, rating agencies, etc has wrought havoc on many hard working Americans, weaken our democracy and diminished our reputation around the world.  The very heart of capitalism found a way to tarnish and corrupt it's own house.  I was living oversees at the time.  Frankly, for the first time in a long life,  I was embarrassed to be an American.    

 

This kind of behavior and activity does more than anything our enemies might do to weaken our great country.

Feb 21, 2012 4:40PM
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Don't you love people who live in mansions telling the rest of us what is good and what is bad?
Feb 21, 2012 5:34PM
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Bruce is part of the 1% and has been most of his adult life, he doesn’t have a clue what the rest of us face in our everyday lives.

Feb 22, 2012 9:55AM
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Is Wall St guilty? Is Bruce right?  OH YEAH! Anyone can have an opinion, but I suggest reading a few books about the meltdown on Wall St in '08 for an educated opinion.Wall St sold the worst bundles of investments, telling the ratings agencies to rate them AAA, knowing they wreaked;  then to top it off they bet aginst the same bundles. When these investments failed, the company won BIG. So, no, it wasn't legal to do that; the attorney general in NY will try to go after some of them- but as you can imagine, takes a lot of research to really get the goods on them.  It's a crime of huge magnitude, it will take some very tenacious, intelligent people to get the bad guys. 

Feb 21, 2012 3:09PM
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ISN'T BRUCE PART OF THAT 1% THAT THE OCCUPY WALL STREET GANG HATES?
Feb 21, 2012 11:39PM
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You know, I couldn't stand President Bush 4 years after I voted for him. But I never stopped refering to him as the POTUS, or the President!!! What is it with these disrespectful and childish names for the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES?

Feb 21, 2012 4:38PM
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Dirty Girl,  

 

Simplistic, left-wing, liberal whining.  Bruce is a millionaire.  You can bet he has substantial amounts invested in "Wall Street" because he isn't going to stuff all his cash in a pillow under his bed.  On other hand, I'd like to think he made his money the old-fashioned way.  He worked for it, so we must give him his due.  

 

 

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.
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