A Thick Desert Dust on Your Skin

Song: Devil's Arcade
Album: Magic
Year: 2007

When you've been writing music and touring for twenty years, you're bound to get a little tense. A few knots in the shoulders. A stiff neck. But then you go to the spa to dig into that deep tish, and you hear the new-age garbage they're playing, and you're like, "Ugh, I'm Bruce Springsteen, I deserve better than this."

That's right: you deserve a Bruce Springsteen-ified version of that new-age garbage. And so you make a song of your very own that captures the soothing essence of a waterfall while also being deeply critical of war.

It's lyrically a very beautiful song (I am pretending it's about soldiers who are kind of in love with each other even though I know that's not even a little bit correct), but the way The Boss sings this sounds like he's doing an impression of himself and it is very distracting—"your" becomes "yer," that sort of nonsense. It's probably because his mouth is too relaxed to open properly, thanks to the spa-like vibe he's created.

Rating: 4 slow games of poker with [sexy] Lieutenant Ray out of 10.

This makes me feel: like getting a massage and also not going to Afghanistan.

Fun Bruce fact: His nickname was "Doctor" before it was The Boss. Some people don't even get ONE nickname, and here he goes hogging the two best ones. Rude, Bruce. Rude.


You Can't Get Out of Your Skin

Song: Your Own Worst Enemy
Album: Magic
Year: 2007

My initial reaction was that this is a pretty lazy song by B—clearly filler material. But listen, 2007 was a hard year for us all, what with... the economy and... Afghanistan? And any song that starts with jingle bells can't be all bad. (Perhaps an auditory reference to another person of a jollier quality coming to town, hmm?) (Wait, is Santa Bruce Springsteen's worst enemy?!)

This album was well received by critics, but this song isn't even mentioned in the Wikipedia entry for this album, so how good could it be? Your silence speaks volumes, Internet. Perhaps everyone's just feeling burned for accidentally downloading this instead of the hit 1999 Lit song of a similar title.

"Your Own Worst Enemy" at first appears to be about a murder (Fingerprints! Crime scenes! A variety of mirrors!) but the 'Steen wouldn't be so literal, so I think it's actually about hating yourself. Maybe if you'd written a better song, Bruce, you'd have more self esteem. Or maybe it's about President Bush? That's a pretty good guess during this era of work. Nothing "magic" about that guy, am I right, Bruce? Ha ha ha! Oh, it feels good to laugh. Let's never fight again!


Rating: 3 unnecessarily melodramatic string sections out of 10.

This makes me feel: not very sympathetic to his distress. If your worst enemy is Bruce Springsteen (in this case, yourself), that is a pretty great life achievement.

Fun Bruce fact: He's been parodied on Sesame Street with a muppet named Bruce Stringbean singing hits like "Born to Add" and "Barn in the USA". The greatest honour any of us can hope to achieve. (Besides having Bruce Springsteen as your worst enemy—see above.)

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