The E Street Band reunited for The Rising in 2002, but I would argue that the classic E Street Band sound didn’t return until 5 years later with this track off Magic. The groove is lifted straight from “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out,” with Clarence’s burly sax still blowing Bruce down the street just as it did 30 years earlier.
The lyrics are a study in denial. Even with all of the walls of his life crumbling down upon him, the narrator tricks himself into believing everything is fine in the chorus with his own little imaginary time machine: “We’re livin’ in the future and none of this has happened yet.”
Even the band is in on the ruse, negating the dire lyrics with a good-time assault that even features some happy-go-lucky “sha-na-nas” at the end. Only Danny Federici’s organ solo lets some anguish in, wailing into some darker corners the rest of the music refuses to explore.
“Livin’ In The Future” is Bruce’s good-natured poke at those who try to gloss over their personal problems and the problems of the world with a shrug of their shoulders, suggesting that such an attitude in this day and age isn’t just foolish, it’s downright dangerous. A direct hit on those people might have seemed too harsh and too much of a downer, so Springsteen effectively sideswipes them with the help of the E Street Band’s righteous noise.
Thanks to the unknown artist for the picture!