As if the past 40 years weren’t evidence enough, further proof of Bruce Springsteen’s knack for emotional articulation has surfaced, this time via a new short film directed by the Boss’ official archivist Thom Zimny. The clip weaves together portions of the Paris press conference held a month before his 17th album, Wrecking Ball, dropped in March, with footage from the Wrecking Ball tour (including the E-Street Band’s SXSW-winning performance). The film is, shockingly, called Wrecking Ball (via CNN).
In the 22-minute video, Springsteen discusses how personal became political and vice versa, especially in crafting Wrecking Ball, his Elvis-tying, tenth top 10 album.
“Lack of work creates loss of self,” Springsteen explains when asked by a Irish reporter about his relationship to current American politics. He uses the example of his father’s unemployment (and mother’s breadwinner status) and subsequent “irreparable crisis of masculinity” to explain how anger depicted on his latest record has stemmed from both inner and outer catalysts. “As I got older, I looked toward not just the psychological reasons in our house, but the social forces that played upon our home and made life more difficult. My work has always been about judging the distance between the American reality and the American dream.”
In the conference footage (the audience of which largely comprised, it would seem, non-American journalists, which makes for an interesting juxtaposition throughout), he also discusses his childhood, religion, songwriting process, and the potential for having his work misinterpreted as xenophobic, while a handful of standard American blue-collar tableaus fade in and out. Get your handkerchiefs ready, though — the kicker comes with the Boss’ remembrance of E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who was replaced by his nephew for this tour following his death last summer. “Losing Clarence is like losing something elemental, like losing the rain… you know… or air,” he explains, trailing off for a moment. We won’t spoil any more of it, though, so watch for yourself: