Born in the U.S.A: Music vs Politics?
16 February 1985, “Born in the U.S.A.” went to No.1 on the UK album chart.
It’s the Bruce Springsteen’s seventh studio album and also the best-selling album of 1985 in the United States. It has sold over 15 million copies in the U.S. alone, becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time and his most successful album.
It was met with positive reviews becoming a massive commercial success (with seven top-10 hit singles).
But, can we say to have understood its meaning?
In that time, the USA President Ronald Reagan was reviving a patriotic pride by reaffirming the values of prosperity, expansion, and world domination of the United States*.
Does it sound familiar?
In a generally accepted point of view, the track “Born in the U.S.A" seems to address the harmful effects of the Vietnam War on Americans and to criticize the treatment of Vietnam veterans, some of whom were Springsteen's friends and bandmates.
The Boss declared about the album’s meaning "The rest of the album contains a group of songs about which I've always had some ambivalence."
Even the cover, an iconic image shot by Annie Leibovitz, has several shades.
Springsteen commented on the origin of the concept: "We had the flag on the cover because the first song was called "Born in the U.S.A."
There’s a general rumor about the political overtone hidden in a hypothetical urinating act on the flag. He explained:
"That was unintentional. We took a lot of different types of pictures, and in the end, the picture of my ass looked better than the picture of my face, that's what went on the cover. I didn't have any secret message. I don't do that very much."**
* Garman, Bryan K. (August 9, 1985). A race of singers: Whitman's working ... – Google Libros. Books.google.com.ar. ISBN 978-0-8078-4866-1. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
** Kurt Loder (December 6, 1984). "The Rolling Stone Interview: Bruce Springsteen". Retrieved December 30, 2009.