Tonight You Step Away From Me

Song: Walk Like a Man
Album: Tunnel of Love
Year: 1987

People (well, baby boomers) love sharing memories in the Youtube comments of Springsteen songs. I think it's because they have kids who won't let them sign up for Facebook. Usually they're reminiscing about fooling around at Makeout Point (in a car, as the Good Bruce intended), but in the "Walk Like a Man" chat zone, everybody is just hanging out and being sad about their dead parents. So, yeah, not exactly a party jam over here.

Am I even allowed to criticize this? It's about a man mourning his dad and also I have no training in the musical arts (in case that was not abundantly clear in the last 20 posts). I'm trying to have some sympathy, but I just don't know if being sad about losing someone is a good enough excuse for an extended metaphor about "footprints in the sand."

...Oh, god, I feel like a monster for thinking that. Just do what you want Bruce! I'm so sorry for your loss! Talk about how you've "grown from a seed he's sown" as much as you want! If that revolting phrase helps you honour the memory of your late father, then YOU NEVER HAVE TO STOP.

Rating: 4 sad synths out of 10.

This song makes me feel: like Bruce needs a hug.

Fun Bruce fact: Wikipedia lists six songs with the title "Walk Like a Man." Grand Funk Railroad's is probably the best. Maybe I should start a GFR blog next?


The Hungry and the Hunted

Song: Jungleland
Album: Born to Run
Year: 1975

I've been attempting to review this song for like four days. It is very, very long and I keep getting distracted in the middle. Millennials, right? This was recorded in the days before podcasts, but that's really what it should've been classified as. What a chatterbox. But I get why he goes on and on and on here—there's a lot going on in Jungleland.

The protagonist of this song is named The Magic Rat, so we're obviously off to a great start. He appears to be dating a girl who doesn't own shoes. The police—oh, pardon me, the "Maximum Lawmen"—are not a fan of these guys; it sounds like they're not a fan of music either. Maybe Jungleland is some sort of Mennonite community? Anyways, some of the kids in town have a battle of the bands and then Magic Rat seems to wind up dead. The official report is that his "own dreams gun[ned] him down," but I suspect the police may be covering something up. I hope the Jungleland judicial system implements some sort of investigative task force.

I can't remember if I've asked this before, but has Bruce Springsteen ever written a musical? I get the impression that he really wants to. I'm envisioning a lot of sleeveless plaid shirts and a lot of very athletic leaping. Ideally a chorus of steelworkers, too.

Oh man, just did the very minimum amount of research (thanks Wikipedia! No, I'm still not giving you any money!) and apparently John Malkovich (!) used this song in his 1980 production of Balm in Gilead as a background for a "choreographed tableau of street denizens miming a tragic slice-of-life." So I guess this just confirms what we all already kind of expected: Malovich and I share a brain.

Rating: 7 out of 10 guitars being used like switchblades.

This makes me feel: exhausted and dramatic. I want to dance! I want to live! I want to drink warm beer on top of a car hood and then take a nap!

Fun Bruce fact: Apparently someone did try to make a musical of B's music in 2002 but didn't get the OK from the Springsteen camp. Probably because they didn't want any competition for the incredible Broadway show of his own that he's been working on in secret for 30 years. (Working title: Babes in Jungleland!)

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.


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.