I’m not quite sure why, but for a month or so before I got sick, I’d been listening almost exclusively to Bruce Springsteen. For the most part it had been mid-period and newer material – The River, Tunnel of Love, and Magic – but then a post by Pavlov’s Cat made me pull out my copies of a pair of albums I loved when I was 19 or 20, Born to Run and The Wild, The Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle.
I know that on later albums Springsteen found a depth and a range he probably only dreamed about in those early years, but I’m not sure he ever found his way back to the sheer joy and exaltation of those first three albums, their delight in the world as they found it,. And listening to them again I’m reminded incredibly powerfully of what it was like to feel all that certainty and purity of feeling, and of the person I was when this music was my life.
Favorite Bruce song? I’d probably have to go with The River.
“Now all them things that seemed so important
Well mister they vanished right into the air
Now I just act like I don’t remember
Mary acts like she don’t care.
But I remember us riding in my brother’s car
Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake
And pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now those memories come back to haunt me
they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse…”
Although I find my favourite individual songs (eg “Thunder Road”) on other albums, I keep getting drawn to “Darkness on the Edge of Town”, “Nebraska” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad” – the darker end of the street.
Try and get hold of a copy of “Badlands: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska” by various artists. Wonderful stuff – who knew that “Atlantic City” could be so, well, jaunty?
Just listened to the jaunty Atlantic City online – very amusing. But while darker stuff is great (‘I’m on Fire’ is one of the more amazing songs about sexual obsession I’ve ever heard) I seem to be back in the world of the joyous Springsteen at the moment. ‘Rosalita’, ‘Thunder Road’, ‘Hungry Heart’, ‘Blinded by the Light’, even the upbeat songs on Magic. There’s something about the poetic vision of those early songs and the delight they take in their own language and observation I just love.