By Timothy E. Scheurer
This can be the 1st examine to discover absolutely the parable of the United States as mirrored within the nation’s renowned track. starting with the songs of the Pilgrims and carrying on with via greater than centuries of background and track, Born within the U.S.A. indicates the rising American fantasy and provides an in depth analyzing of the compositions of songwriters as varied as William Billings, Henry Clay paintings, Irving Berlin, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen.
So that the total and numerous narrative of this advanced state may be recorded, this insightful learn is targeted either upon the nationwide fantasy and upon the songwriters and performers representing subcultures and substitute viewpoints which are the textual content of America’s tale. via hymnlike paeans and during discordant lamentations protesting the realities of the modern workaday global, well known tune is an incredible reflect of yank historical past.
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Extra info for Born in the U. S. A.: The Myths of America in Popular Music from Colonial Times to the Present
From persecution's iron claws, we here have sought our calm retreat. See how the flocks of Jesus rise, see how the face of Paradise Blooms through the thickets of the wild. Here liberty erects a throne Here plenty puts her treasure down. Peace smiles as heavn'ly cherubs mild. The mytheme of the land immediately draws us in to the vision. There is a clear evocation of Bradford's and the Pilgrims' encounter with the "wilderness," now transformed by the Pilgrim's sacrifice in fleeing "persecution's iron claw" into a Paradise containing the throne of liberty and equality.
Ary coda where he speaks of liberty and "pure religion" spreading coterminously and wrapping the "globe around": Lord, guard Thy Favors; Lord extend Where farther Western suns descend; Nor Southern Seas the Blessings bound; Till Freedom lifts her cheerful Head, Till pure Religion onward spread, And beaming, wrap the Globe around. A particularly notable feature of this stanza is Billings's emphasis upon the topological boundaries of the land. This is a mytheme that will be employed by many songwriters from the early nineteenth century up into the twentieth century with Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land/7 and some country songs in the 19805.
The personification of liberty—so in keeping with classical tradition—personalizes the concept, and the use of the adjective "fair" suggests that it is a precious virtue that must be preserved. The preservation of that virtue is, as the later verses make clear, a historical necessity because it means validating the past, enlivening the present, and securing the future. The song fulfills the function of myth by collapsing time and making it subject to belief and something greater than mere earthly need.