Bruce Springsteen is an American songwriter and musician. He was recognized worldwide for his unique and entertaining rock music. In the year 1984, Bruce released his seventh studio album, called born in the USA, under a Colombian record company. He recorded the music in the album with his regular band known as the E street band. The producers of the album watch Chuck Plotkin and Jon Landau. The album was shot at the power station and the hit factory, located in New York City. The length of the album is estimated to be roughly around 47 minutes. This album became one of the most recognized for it pulled many people to listen to the songs, which seemed to have a conflicting meaning. Many people are still puzzled by Bruce wax on the lyrics.
(Cullen, Jim, 1962-. Born in the U.S.A.: Bruce Springsteen and the American Tradition. New York: HarperCollins, 1997.)
However, this essay will analyze the picture used as the album’s cover. The album’s cover has been misinterpreted for a very long time, and this is because of the different feelings it creates to its for its viewers (Taysom,2021). It is believed that many people have interpreted the cover quite differently from what Bruce intended to show the people, and in my work below, we will be analyzing the different factors behind the amazing image that has seemed to captivate a lot of people. The images were shot by one of the most renowned photographers, Annie Leibovitz. The image is of a man wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans accompanied by a black belt with stars and a red cup hanging from his back pocket. The image is not a longshot but rather a close-up shot from the month. From the man’s clothing, we can tell that he is a regular citizen, just like any other man from the United States of America. The keep is what captures the viewer’s attention, for one is most likely to wonder why the cup and not any other item. His friend gifted Bruce the Cape, and the friend had acquired it after his father died. Bruce Springsteen included it in his cover image to show his friend how the legacy his father left behind will continue for the longest time possible.
Bruce in the picture was facing the American flag, which was the point that brought about different opinions on what message was being passed in the album (Taysom,2021). Some people even accused him of looking down on the American flag. However, in one of the interviews done after the release of the albums, Springsteen made it clear that he had no intention of going against his government but to show the people how authorities can sometimes fail to protect the lives and the rights of its citizens.
Many people, however, thought that a love story influenced the album. Still, those few who grasped the musicians’ intentions also claimed that the musician was trying to reveal something about himself.
We can also see that the man (Bruce Springsteen) is confident in the picture. The photographer is trying to paint a picture of someone loved and admired by the people. It shows an icon in that his fellow men desire to be courageous and confident like him, and on the other hand, it paints a picture of a man desired by women. What does Bruce Springsteen try to tell his audience with this pose? The musician uses his cover to try and make the people understand what his songs mean. Despite the levels of creativity used by the photographer and the producers, many people did not get the meaning of the cover as the production team had anticipated.
The image is bright, and one can hardly miss capturing its details. When a picture is dull, most people are likely to assume the worst of its contents. A powerful image is most likely to attract many people, for they will be attracted to see what lies beneath. This also explains why the album had many people seeming to understand what it meant (Gude,8). It is important for artists always to produce creative and attractive pieces to make their views want more and more of their work.
Juxtaposition is the idea of bringing two things together to show the viewers how they relate. In the picture, Bruce and the American flag are two items that attract the most attention. The artist tried to explain to his audience how the two things depend and relate to his album. From the album’s title, we get to know that the person in the picture was born and raised in America. Bruce also tries to tell the story of how the United States of America has influenced the events of the man’s life. His friend gifted Bruce the cap as a souvenir from his deceased father. He tries to tell the people how the government can sometimes be careless with handling its people. The artist used the two together as a short way of saying what his album is all about without necessarily using words.
In the image, we can also see how Springsteen emphasizes the colors of the American flag. The man is wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, red cap on the pocket, and the stars in the belt all represent the colors and symbols in the American flag (Network 9). By looking at the cover image, one is likely to conclude that Springsteen was trying to tell a story of the American people. After listening to his songs in the album on now gets the reason why there was an emphasis on the colors of the flag.
Spring stern tried to explain to his viewers the connection between his cover and the music in the album using the picture of the man standing in front of the American flag, but most people failed to interpret it correctly. Some people claim it is because he failed to place his facts in the image, which was the cause of the confusion. Despite the image being contradictory, the album’s title gave the audience a hint on what to expect in the song’s lyrics.
Despite the confusion this cover borough about on the people, we cannot forget how it managed to capture people’s attention and how it brought the different reactions from them (Network 9). The picture allowed the people to relate to their own lives and reflect Springsteen was right on the issues of the authorities failing to help the people at all times.
From looking at the wonderfully designed cover, there are several things we can learn from observing the different qualities different art have. An example is that by looking at the cover keenly, we learn the importance of looking at things differently and being too quick to judge. This explains why many people got the picture’s meaning wrong, for they did not consider looking at it from different perspectives (Gude,7). Another important factor when analyzing an art piece is always to have the ability to focus on one key point. This is because it allows you to understand the piece without jumping around to different conclusions easily. Lastly, when we look at things, we should learn to create and let ourselves flow with the emotions our minds stimulate. This will enable a person to underline the different things the artist was trying to portray in their work.
Cullen, Jim, 1962-. Born in the U.S.A. : Bruce Springsteen and the American Tradition. New York :HarperCollins, 1997.
Taysom, J. “The Cover Uncovered: The Incredible Story Behind Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born In The U.S.A.’.” Far Out Magazine, 9 Apr. 2021, faroutmagazine.co.uk/story-behind-bruce-springsteen-born-in-the-usa-album-cover/.
Network 9. “Behind the Scenes: A Rear View of Bruce Springsteen.” Network9, 12 Dec. 2021, network9.biz/behind-the-scenes-the-rear-view-of-bruce-springsteen/.
Gude, Olivia. “Postmodern principles: In search of a 21st century art education.” Art Education 57.1 (2004): 6-14.