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The Boss' new album shows a social awarness
Columbia Records released Bruce
Springsteen’s 11th album, The Ghost
of Tom Joad, last Tuesday.
After one listens to the new album,
one can tell that Springsteen is no
longerajerseyboy. Inthese newsongs,
he makes numerous references to Cali
fornia and the West. This album of
songs with a social conscience is remi
niscent of his 1982 album, Nebraska,
in its acoustic and melancholy look at
Springsteen has always been asso
ciated with the working-class man. But
now, with this new album, he’s taking
up for others, including the homeless,
prisoners, and immigrants.
The title track, “The Ghost of Tom
Joad,” mentions the character of Tom
Joad from John Steinbeck’s Grapes of
Wrath. I n the song, Springsteen loosely
quotes from a passage that Tom says in
By Dina Di Maio
the book. Incidentally, the feeling alive
in the new album is best described by
this passage: “Mom, wherever there’s
a cop heatin’ aguy, wherever a hungry
newborn baby cries, look for me Mom
I’ll be there. 'Wherever there’s some
body fightin’ for a place to stand or a
decent job or a helpin’ hand, wherever
somebody’s strugglin’ to be free, look
in their eyes Mom you’ll see me.” Per
haps Springsteen sees a similarity in
the treatment of the early California
immigrants with the California immi
grants of today.
A few of the songs end ambigu
ously, or with no real resolution or
Balmer; continued from page 4
Balmer has a firm belief in what
makes an effeaive student leader. “You
must know who it is you’re represent
ing,” she said, “and realize you’re not
representingyourself ” She continued,
“You are a servant to the people who
have elected you.”
During the last two summer breaks
Balmer worked at Prince George High
School as an administrative assistant.
" “Both summers I changed all the locker
combinations in the school so they call
me the safecracker,” she laughed.
Balmer also does a two-week stint each
summer as assistant director of the Tri-
Cities Work Camp, a Christian youth
organization that rebuilds homes for
the needy all over the state ofVirginia.
“It’s not about rebuilding homes, but
about rebuilding people’s lives—bring
ing a positive direction to their lives,”
After graduation Balmer hopes to
go to NCSU and earn a graduate degree
in food science and then do some kind
of research in the food industry. She
works hard in her classes and says
there is no current boyfriend. “I’m hot
and heavy into my biology classes,”
she smiled, “and not having a special
boyfriend keeps life a little easier right
answer. For instance, in the song,
“Youngstown,” Springsteen sings of
the hardship of a mine worker’s life.
For the character, nothing is resolved.
He just “pray[s] the devil comes and
takes [him] to stand in the fiery fur
naces of hell. ” Like many other charac
ters, he is left with uncertainty.
Other songs end adversely. The
song “Balboa Park” is about young
boys hired as drug smugglers. The song
ends with one boy’s getting shot and
dying. By showing us that they are real
people, Springsteen makes us empa
thize with them.
In the midst of all this pessimism,
two songs stand out spreading humor
and hope. In the light “My Best was
Never Good Enough,” Springsteen
plays with cliches such as that famous
line, “Life is like a box of chocolates;
you never know what you’re going to
Springsteen’s song of hope is
“Across the Border,” a song about im
migrants hoping for prosperity in a
new land. Although it’s about immi
grants crossing the border, this song
reflects the dreams and wishes of ev
eryone. As Springsteen says, “For what
are we without hope in our hearts.”
This album is written in classic
Springsteen style, and the'stories are
told in the classic Springsteen way;
with truth, understanding, and hope
to keep us going.
During her free time Balmer enjoys
being with her friends and flying kites
at Emerald Isle, her favorite beach. She
likes all kinds of music and plays the
piano for relaxation. For summer read
ing she prefers murder mysteries, and
she likes movies and tv shows with
action. She watches the “X Files” every
Balmer is looking forward to Christ
mas break when she plans to relax,
visit with family, work on the SGA
proposal and try to find a fun part-time
After the holiday break, the senate
will focus on reviewing the constitu
tions of several campus organizations, ”
Balmer said. “All organiz.ations whose
constitutions are due to be revised
have been contacted. There are ap
proximately 20 of them, so we’ll be
She is proud of her newly-acquired
Meredith ring and is looking forward
to her senior year. “Our class has a lot
of strong leaders and creative minds,”
Balmer said, “and we're going to do
some big things next year.” If Erica
Balmer is typical of the students lead
ing the class of ’97, they will indeed
accomplish great things both during
and after their years at Meredith.
Top Ten Ways You Know You’re at
By Ginny Bonkemeyer
10. You catch yourself sayiug, "Hey look! There’s a guy!” in
9. You eat chichen more than twice a day.
8.6:00 am fire drills are the norm.
7. Burlap walls don’t look half-bad anymore.
6. You have to explain to your date which buildings are
legal and which ones aren’t.
5. You start to look forward to the scald in the shower when
the people upstairs flush.
4. You can walk directly through the courtyard fountain and
not get wet.
3. You begin to enjoy frozen eggs on your salad.
2. You have at least 100 new t-shirts each year.
1. You wear something other than .sweats and a ponytail and
people ask, “Where are YOU going?”