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.

Cut Loose Like a Duece

Listen, I like Bruce Springsteen, but I'm ready to be IN-like with Bruce Springsteen, and that's going to take some research. So I'm going to become a superfan by thoroughly contemplating one song per day. Starting.... now.

Song: Blinded by the LIght
Album: Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ
Year: 1973

This is a revelation. Who knew he wrote this song? Probably everyone but me. This project is great so far—I'm already getting smarter! And so many ten-dollar words in the mix here, too. It's like a dictionary threw up all over a factory town.

It's a bold move to start off your debut album with a five minute song, but Bruce is nothing if not bold. He's an inspiration to us all, and looks good doing it. Here is a picture of Bruce in 1973. His facial hair could use some work, but it's hard to find time to trim your mature-teen-stache when you're crafting sheer poetry (if, in fact, phrases like "go-kart Mozart" can be considered poetry).


Overall, it's a little bit ramble-y and Dylan-y, but I'm into it. I like when Bruce acts as an omniscient narrator of New Jersey. He said, she said, shootin' stars in sidecars, etc.

Rating: 7 curly-wurlys out of 10 This song makes me feel: like making out in a beer garden. Bruce Fact of the Day: The Manfred Mann recording of "Blinded by the Light" is Springsteen's only number one single as a songwriter on the Hot 100. Bummer, dude.