I grew up with Bruce Springsteen. When my father was home from work trips, he would sit in his basement office, the “woah-oh-oh-oh-oh”s floating up the staircase into the living room. I don’t know if I can call myself a fan, exactly, because I don’t know if I can disentangle him from my dad, from how I look back at my childhood. Ironically, much of Springsteen’s music tackles the process of looking back on childhood from a complex present, so there’s a good number of his songs that reduce me to tears. Springsteens’s got an emotional shortcut to the angst (“angst”) of my white, suburban upbringing in America.
Janelle Monae’s music also reduces me to tears, but for very different reasons.