The Wildest Things We'd Ever Seen

Song: Bobby Jean
Album: Born in the USA
Year: 1984

This song kicks off with a conversation with Bobby Jean's mom, but then she's never mentioned again, so here's a fun game: picture Bruce performing this song dramatically while she just waits there awkwardly to finish up.

"Maybe you'll be out there on that road somewhere, in some bus or train traveling along!!!!!" Bruce wails, flinging his body dramatically onto the dinner table where the rest of the family is pretending he doesn't exist and enjoying their tuna casserole in peace.

Bobby Jean's mom hands him his denim vest, a polite-but-firm gesture indicating that he should leave now. "She's just at the mall."

He slams his fist against the wall, and wipes away a tear from his eye with that classic Bruce Red™ bandana, and gives a throaty whisper: "Know I'm thinkin' of you with all the miles in between." Then he pulls out a saxophone he smartly stashed under the love seat on his last visit to Bobby Jean's family home and plays a sweetly sad solo because of COURSE there's saxophone, do you not understand how LONGING WORKS?!

It probably isn't his best and most impressive interaction with an older woman in the course of his discography, but  at least he didn't abandon this one on the side of the hot highway, so we'll call it progress.

This makes me feel: SO GOOD TOP NOTCH BRUCE A+

Rating: 9 walks in the rain out of 10! Add this bad boy to my Best of Bruce list!

Fun Bruce fact: Looking up Bobby Jean on Wikipedia (because I am a research professional), I was alerted to this astonishing news: "In recent years, crowds, especially in Europe, have taken the habit of arm-waving in unison throughout the song." It really makes you reflect on the incredible impact the internet has made on our lives.


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.


My Kisses Used to Turn You Inside Out

Song: I'm Goin' Down
Album: Born in the U.S.A.
Year: 1984

I had heard the Vampire Weekend cover of this, without even realizing it was a cover. More proof that Bruce is All Around Us.

It's a song about a relationship that's falling apart, but he doesn't seem to be too mad about it. Or even if he was, there's no way to express it: there's no such thing as an angry sax solo. I even tried googling it:

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.43.30 PM
Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.43.30 PM

Rating: 8 Angry Birds out of 10.

This makes me feel: like seeing a Vampire Weekend/Springsteen supergroup team-up, please please please please?

Fun Bruce fact: This is officially the best piece of Springsteen merch on Ebay and it is only $10. Should I buy it? I should probably buy it.


In Your Love, I'm Born Again

Song: Leap of Faith
Album: Lucky Town
Year: 1992

This would be a good song to put on if you are in a '90s rom-com and have to do a montage about cleaning up your act. So if you have any plans in the near future to time travel and swap bodies with Billy Crystal, and then paint a dilapidated house as a metaphor for rebuilding your life before you reconnect with The One That Got Away, then keep this one at the ready. Otherwise, I can't think of any other situation where you could play "Leap of Faith" and feel good about yourself. Though it's kind of a religious and kind of about love-making, it is ironically neither a good song to play at church (because it's too sexy) nor a good song to play while sexing (because it's terrible).

It's sort of like Madonna's "Like a Prayer," but not like it at all because it's not even a little bit fun. If you pick "Like a Prayer" at karaoke, you are a hero. If you pick "Leap of Faith," there will be riots. I know this because I would definitely start one.


Rating: 2 leaps off of a building to my death out of 10.

This makes me feel: like I was invited to "hang with some cool people" who "have some really interesting thoughts about life" and realized much too late that it's actually a youth group.

Bruce fun fact: He released two albums, Lucky Town and Human Touch on the same day. I don't really understand why he would be so eager to foist this one on the world, but you do you, Bruce.


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.