With its title named after a Springsteen lyric, this blog yields to no-one in its respect for the Boss (well, with the possible exceptions of Chris Phillips and Dave Marsh). So it was with some trepidation that I read that one Storm Lee, a contestant in the current X-Factor (a televised talent show, m’lud), had covered Born To Run on last weekend’s show. Not being exactly a regular viewer of the show, I dug out the You Tube videos.
Hmm. It’s a quite dislocating experience to listen to a song you’ve grown up with desperately mangled by someone with a surfeit of enthusiasm over ability; and the performance? well, like Michael Jackson would have done it, and by someone with a more than passing resemblance to Boy George. I won’t bother linking to it: surreal doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Instead, here‘s how it should be covered: by a fan, who gets inside the song and who, by understanding the desperate searching that underpins the song’s surface glory, thus makes something new of it (and her (blonde!) version of Dancing In The Dark is not half bad, either). Bruce is also well-known for re-arranging and re-creating his own stuff, including BTR. I’m aware that I’m just possibly missing the point here: it’s not the function of X-Factor to make great music, or break new ground: it’s a Saturday night TV light entertainment show, delivering visual chewing gum for couch potatoes alongside a Warholian 15 mins of fame for the contestants.
But, still. Have a bit of respect, eh?