romance

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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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.