Latest Issue

Torn by the USA: How America’s divisions are marked in its music

The music critic Hanif Abdurraqib loves Bruce Springsteen—but is troubled by his singular vision

By Aida Amoako  
The Boss in concert in Canada, 2017

The Boss in concert in Toronto, Canada, 2017

In the second essay in Hanif Abdurraqib’s debut essay collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, the American poet and critic presents contrasting visions of his country.

Seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert in New Jersey, Abdurraqib envisions an optimistic America where labour is romanticised and red, white and blue promises hang in the air. A day before the concert, Abdurraqib was in Ferguson, Missouri standing in front of the memorial to Michael Brown, the black…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect