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Bruce Springsteen's America

It's so boss.

When's the last time you met someone with the nickname "The Boss"? Yeah, that's what we thought. Bruce Springsteen is a national treasure, and in this course, you'll find out just what he thinks about that nation of his (spoiler alert: it's not what you think).

In this course, we'll take a close look at Springsteen's lyrics—dad rock and Garden State variety patriotism included—to see how this guy managed to build a career that's spanned over half a century.

Here's what's in store:

  • Common-core aligned close-reading assignments designed to get you thinking critically about Mr. Springsteen's vision of America.
  • Lessons that will walk you through his more notable albums, tackling the famous songs right alongside the lesser known ones.
  • Activities and quizzes to keep you on your lyric toes—and probably have you tapping your foot to the beat.

Course Breakdown

Unit 1. Bruce Springsteen's America

In this unit, you'll become The Boss of The Boss, analyzing how Bruce's lyrics show us exactly what he thinks about the U.S. of A.

Sample Lesson - Introduction

Lesson 8: Down in the Valley

Looks like a good time.

Every town's got one: the local spot. A place to go to hang with the cool kids, to drown your sorrows, or even just to think. Maybe it's the Starbucks on the corner, or maybe it's the town park. Maybe it's the lake on the outskirts of town, or maybe it's just your friend's living room.

But it's the place you—heck, everyone—goes to get comfortable.

Here's the thing about those places: they're local and unique, sure, but they're also universal. It's just like we said: every town and every person has one. Just like every town and every person has a story.

While his early career might have been rooted in the very specific, oh-so-local imagery of the Jersey Shore and its shenanigans, as he mature as a songwriter, his themes grew much more universal. And yet, they never lose that local sense. There's a feeling in all these songs that while the experience could happen anywhere in America, perhaps more importantly, it can happen right outside your door. It's both local and universal all at the same time.

Springsteen's fifth album, The River, is full of local-universal stories just like that. The titular track, "The River," is one such story.