Bruce Springsteen

Born in the U.S.A.

Composed by Bruce Springsteen

Song Review by

As the accentuated drumbeat pounds, the background synthesizer begins to soar at the beginning of "Born in the USA," and the tone is set for a purely energetic and raw rock & roll song, even before Springsteen's anti-war theme kicks in. Bruce Springsteen's 1984 album Born in the USA heralded numerous hit singles (seven to be exact), but none were as moving or as passionate as the title track. Spending 11 weeks on Billboard's Top 40 and peaking at the number nine spot, the simplistic song structure and straightforward arrangements presented the boss with the perfect outlet to cast his views about the Vietnam War. From a musical standpoint, the guitar is raw and strong, while Steve Van Zandt's background riffs fill in the spaces between Springsteen's hard chords. The power of the instruments are combined to create a forceful punch, as if to musically drive the song's message home. The key to "Born in the USA"'s strength lies in Max Weinberg's booming drumbeats that turn into ferocious rolls and cymbal crashes as the song progresses. While many thought that Springsteen was praising his homeland and pumping patriotism, he was actually revealing his displeasure of the U.S.'s intervention in Vietnam, as well his protest of the inhumanity of war. Further into the lyrics, he mentions the loss of a friend during the war and sings, "They're still there, he's all gone," meaning that North Vietnam is still under communist rule, the U.S.'s role was for nought, and for this his friend lost his life. While the song could have easily been sung as an acoustic ballad in the same manner as "Atlantic City" or "My Hometown," it's the fervor and the might of Springsteen in front of a bombastic array of guitar and drums that helps to drive his message home.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Born in the U.S.A. 1984 Legacy / Sony Music 4:40
No Image 1984 Columbia
No Image 1985 CBS Records
Greatest Hits 1995 Sony BMG 4:41
Tracks 1998 Columbia 3:11
18 Tracks 1999 Columbia 3:11
The Essential Bruce Springsteen 2003 Legacy / Sony Music 4:39
No Image 2003 4:39
No Image 2009 Columbia 4:41
The Bridge School Concerts: 25th Anniversary Edition 2011
Various Artists
Reprise 3:42
Collection: 1973-2012 2013 Sony Music 4:39
No Image 2014 Sony Legacy 4:40
The Human Rights Broadcast 2015 Sonic Boom 6:14
Chapter & Verse 2016 Columbia 4:39
Sweden Broadcast 1988 2017 Hobo 7:21
No Image 4:55
No Image
Hamburg Night 1996 Crystal Cat 6:06
No Image
Various Artists
No Image
Various Artists
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