The phrase "promised land" recurs at least nine times in Bruce Springsteen 's songs - but it is accompanied by others in which "the promise" is betrayed and denied. Springsteen is clear about the failure of the American dream: "does a dream become a lie if it doesn't come true, or a curse?" But something compels him to return to that parched river: the failure of the dream prevails over the dreamer's vision. We have been killed in racist massacres, anti-worker violence, the rejection of migrants - but we are alive. With the lucidity of reason and the optimism of rock and roll, Bruce Springsteen continues to say that the story is not over.
Alessandro Portelli, historian, music critic and Anglicist, taught Anglo-American Literature at La Sapienza University of Rome.