driving

Strangers From the City Call my Baby's Number

Song: Candy's RoomAlbum: Darkness on the Edge of Town Year: 1978

Okay, men. Can you just leave Candy alone for a hot second? Number one, she presumably still lives with her parents (this isn't called "Candy's Rental Apartment" or "Candy's Duplex" after all) so it is not appropriate at all for you to be giving her diamonds and/or toys. Number two, it sounds like she's deeply depressed and engaging in self-destructive behaviours, or at the very least dabbling in some teenage poetry, so I think it's best for everyone if we just give her some space to figure herself out.

That being said, if Candy the person is half as hot as this track, I can see what all the fuss is about. It's got adrenaline. It's got fun keyboard riffs. It's giddy and sweet and melancholy AND prominently features several lines about driving in the dark, because as we all know that's how Bruce expresses almost every emotion. (Or at least the big three: Love. Angst. Indigestion.) Do you think at this point, Bruce Springsteen has spent as much time singing about being on the highway as he has literally spent in a car on the highway? Researchers, please forget about saving the ozone or whatever and get on this.

Rating: 9 strangers from the city out of 10.

This makes me feel: like I want to know more about Candy. What pictures of heroes are on her wall, exactly? Are they Teen Beat posters, or like, presidential portraits?

Fun Bruce fact: Bruce has never had a job besides being a musician. I think it's pretty obvious though that his real dream is to be a highway repairman. Maybe one day, B. Hang in there, buddy.

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I Got Some Beer and the Highway's Free

Song: Sherry, DarlingAlbum: The River Year: 1980

Well this is all a lot of raucous fun, but if my boyfriend abandoned my mother on the highway—my unemployed mother, who is obviously having a tough go of it as it is—I would not be all revved up to go have a fun night of drinking and driving with him. Also, it seems like part of his plan for this romantic date is to go ogle girls at the beach. Who is this guy? How did we wind up together? I've made some huge mistakes and need to seriously re-evaluate my life choices.

It reminds me of that Jimmy Soul song, "If You Wanna Be Happy." Both appear to be recorded in front of a live studio audience who are having the best time hearing about women being belittled. I choose to believe that Bruce is in a bit of a character for this one: the Springsteen Id, if you will. Real Bruce doesn't build up this anger and anxiety over familial responsibility; he does what he needs to do (help a down-on-her-luck woman collect a meagre unemployment allowance to help her scrape by as she looks for more work in this economy) and releases any tension out over a sweet sax solo. LIKE A MAN.

Rating: 6 out of 10 blocks that Big Mean Bruce Springsteen made an elderly woman walk in the hot sun.

This makes me feel: like rolling my eyes at the cliche of the big-mouth mother-in-law, but in a way that's secretly in-time to the music because it's just a good song and we all know eyeballs just can't resist a groove.

Fun Bruce fact: Another Bruce Springsteen blog, Burgers and Bruce, reports on The Boss's fave way to dress a 'burg: "A burger in 1950s America. It's nothing like what you get now. A thin little patty, squirted with ketchup, and that's the only type of burger there was." This is the kind of investigative journalism I can get behind.

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!)