As I, like the narrators of his albums, work out the big questions, Springsteen’s music has been both a puzzle and provocation. Not every album was a home run, but for him, that wasn’t really the point as much as it was a true chronicle of his own questions and pursuit of better answers.
If you want to know what an honest song is then look to the Psalms. They cover every kind of human emotion. John Calvin talks about the Psalms as “an anatomy for all parts of the soul.” They are prayers that capture the totality of the human experience.
The question is obviously complex, and it surely involves our heart as much as our musical skill.