cowboy

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?

 

There's Just a Meanness in This World

Song: Nebraska
Album: Nebraska
Year: 1982

Another song about murder! I'm beginning to think maybe Bruce has some skeletons in his closet (from the people he murdered, let me be perfectly clear). It starts off with a fun harmonica but then it's revealed that the narrator of this song is about to be executed so that's a bit of a bait and switch. Although I guess harmonica is sort of the unofficial instrument of prison, and I really should have expected this from the get-go.

Okay, just did a little research and It turns out this song is about the true story of a teenage serial killer in the '50s. He was 19 and had a 14-year-old girlfriend (so I think we all should've seen his creep factor even before all the sawed-off-shotgun stuff came into play) and basically he killed her family and then the two of them went on an additional killing spree and stole a bunch of cars because they were terrible problem solvers. I did not expect to be learning so much about American true crime with this music project, but life is full of surprises.

Starkweather
Starkweather

Rating: 6 harmonica solos out of 10.This makes me feel: like I'm sitting next to a campfire in the desert trying not to think about all that's lurking in the darkness around us (murderers). Fun Bruce fact!: He recorded this whole album by himself on a cassette tape. NO BIGGIE.