country

In a Small Tin Shack On the Edge of a Ravine

Song: Sinola Cowboys
Album: The Ghost of Tom Joad
Year: 1995

Ugh, this is such a dad song. I mean, I guess all Springsteen songs are dad songs. But there's something particularly dad-ish about this one. I know what I'm supposed to be picturing is a Mexican family struggling to make a new life for themselves in America, but instead it's a crowd at a concert and they're all wearing light-wash jeans with their shirts tucked in.

I went to look up the lyrics and a little ad for a "Sinaloa Cowboys" ringtone popped up. Tell me you can't picture some dad setting up his flip phone with that nonsense. Ugh. Pulling it out of the pocket of his stupid light-wash jeans and then jabbing at it with his dad fingers and then getting it all tangled in his dad mustache. Ugh. Dad song.

OR AT LEAST THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT UNTIL I CONTINUED TO READ THE LYRICS RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!!

Gasp! Twist!

I had really tuned out what was happening in this song because it's so slow and not connected to Vampire Weekend in any way. But upon further inspection, this song is basically Breaking Bad. It turns out the sweet Mexican family starts cooking meth to make ends meet, and then one of them dies in a chemical explosion and his brother has to bury him in the woods. Bruce, you sly, Vince Gilligan-channeling dog: you turned a dad song into a rad song! (But also a sad song. A man dies, you guys.)

Rating: 5 horrifying images of being burned alive in hydrolic acid out of 10.

This makes me feel: scared of meth. Which is the correct way to feel about meth.

Fun Bruce fact: HE WROTE A SONG ABOUT MEXICAN METH COWBOYS. HOW MUCH FUNNER CAN I GET OVER HERE?

 

If You're Rough Enough For Love

Song: Tougher Than the Rest
Album: Tunnel of Love
Year: 1987

You guys, I think Bruce Springsteen is in love!

When a man is feeling some feelings, he pulls out all the stops. For the Boss, that means incorporating synthesizers and tambourines and harmonicas into the same song. Now, that sounds like a terrible combination in principle—like mixing salsa and waffles and movie-theatre popcorn, three great tastes that do not necessarily taste great together, believe you me—but it works just fine because, as I mentioned previously, this is Bruce Springsteen. His trick (you sneak-faced musical genius, you) is to use a faux-down-home twang to distract from the unusual mix of elements, just like you should when you're serving your dinner party guests a casserole of salsa and waffles and movie-theatre popcorn. ("Want me to microwave that for ya, hon?", "You've barely touched your food, y'all!", etc.)

I would categorize this song as a bit of a fantasy, because we all know in real life Bruce would not have to spend three whole minutes to convince some broken woman that she should take a shot with him. If this were more true to reality, the song would be just him going "Well, it's Saturday night..." and her going "I've been practicing my Dancing in the Dark finger-guns in anticipation of this moment ARE WE MARRIED NOW OH GOD I LOVE YOU" and then the rest of the song would just be some sweet harmonica soloing.

But then we'd miss the romance of his pitch to her. And when you have a chance listen to B talk about a dark road and a white line (Bruce. Loves. Roads.), you've gotta take it, even if you're a fictional, unnamed character in a song. That's the oath I personally took when I started this review project, and I don't expect anything less of imaginary love interests.

Rating: 8 sweet-talkin' Romeos out of 10.

This makes me feel: like slow-dancing at a wedding. Any wedding. Are you getting married? Can I come to your wedding? I'll see you at the wedding.

Bruce fun fact: This song has been covered by a bunch of different people, most notably Emmylou Harris. I guess that makes this more of an Emmylou Fun Fact. Life is full of surprises: it's best you learned that now.