I am constantly amazed at Bruce’s talent to marry the depth and scope of his lyrics to the wonderful tunes that make them accessible to thousands (millions?!) of people. Three of the best examples (in my opinion) are Badlands, The promised land, Dancing in the dark and Better days. All of them songs with a profound meaning, but also a whole stadium of people can dance on that music.
I have once read somebody describing one of the shows as bipolar. This person found the distance between the often sad lyrics and the exuberant music too much. Personally I have often wondered how Bruce himself can handle it. Maybe the answer lies in the question: He can handle the sadness in the lyrics through the joy of the music.
Of course there are many songs where the music is just as sad as the lyrics. I often find these difficult to handle. The whole of the Nebraska album is certainly the best example, with Tom Joad not far behind. I admire those fans who can really enjoy these songs. I certainly need the music to lift me up.
The idea for this has been haunting me for some time now. (If you are not yet aware of the link between my personal fight against depression and my love for Bruce’s music, do read about my own journey at https://marilebetterdays.wordpress.com/these-are-better-days/ and https://marilebetterdays.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/out-of-the-badlands-into-the-promised-land/). I have started a diary about depression on my personal blog. (in Afrikaans, my home language) after having some success with my diary of a romance writer. My first post has created so much reaction that I decided to Continue reading
Until recently I have concentrated on the positive side of one of the songs of Bruce Springsteen I love best, namely The Promised Land.
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister I ain’t a boy, no I’m a man
And I believe in a promised land …
And then one day I just saw the explanation of years of my own struggle in the rest of the song. I spent years of unhappiness in the wrong career, feeling exactly as Bruce describes here:
I’ve done my best to live the right way
I get up every morning and go to work each day
But your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold
Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode
Explode and tear this whole town apart
Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart
Find somebody itching for something to start
And all the time I kept Continue reading
In a previous post I wondered if Bruce has an idea how much his work means emotionally to so many people. Yes, I know there have been numerous programs and books about it, but still, does he understand? CAN he understand, not being a fan, but being the man himself? His work just resonates with so many emotions.
It ranges from the youthful playfullness of Out in the Street, through the anguish of the Darkness album, the beautiful love songs on the new The Promise, the hope and determination to make a better life in Badlands and The promised land, the celebration of Continue reading
I got to know this song from the Barcelona video and after that from YouTube (where I learned to love most songs long before I could acquire the cd’s). I just loved it from the start. The way he just goes wild on the harmonica adds a lot to the power of the song. Of course also the way he still sings it with so much passion after so many years.
And as always there are the images of somebody moving on, out of a situation into a better one …
Working all day in my daddy’s garage
Driving all night chasing some mirage …
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister, I ain’t a boy, no I’m a man
And I believe in the promised land …
Full lyrics at http://brucespringsteen.net/songs/ThePromisedLand.html
Video from 1978: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lPzWPXhbVI All of them so young and thin and passionate. Now nobody is young and everybody is not so thin anymore, but the passion is still there. And I think that is essentially what they are about.
Paris 1985: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsT2oA4xPiQ Does not seem to have the same power. And the muscles and sweatband don’t really do it for me. But still a beautiful song. Also love the backing vocals. And of course the harmonica. And I wonder how they managed all those cables. Wonderful speech at the end of the video before the next song (My hometown).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsRNqF0CbC8&feature=related Barcelona 2003 – my absolute favourite!