sax solo

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.


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.


You're Walkin' Tough, Baby

Song: The Ties That Bind
Album: The River
Year: 1980

I can't tell if this song is celebrating the ties that bind or is warning of their restrictive power, because of the thick, delicious musk of melancholy that envelopes all of The Boss' songs. Either way, diggin' it, so bind me up with a side of ties, good sir! It apparently was written while on the road touring, which explains the relatively simple lyrics—the E Street Band probably makes B leave his thesaurus at home (rude).

This song hits that Springsteen sweet spot: it's poetic without being wordy, less than six minutes long, and mentions both "running" and "the rain"(two common thematic elements in his work that are not trains). And yeah, there's a saxophone solo for no good reason, in case you'd forgotten that this is Bruce goddamn Springsteen. It's a masterpiece, and I am not surprised that 12 years later The Cure would attempt to start off "Friday I'm in Love" with an almost identical guitar riff. (You thought no one would notice because you kept the hot sax licks out of it, but I'm on to you, Robert Smith. You can't just slip one by Bruce Springsteen's #1 fan and best friend* like that.)(*pending)


Rating: 9 out of 10 long dark highways, connecting your heart to mine. This makes me feel: real fi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-iiiiine. Fun Bruce Fact: The Ties That Bind is also the title of an encyclopedia about Bruce Springsteen. Imagine being so accomplished that someone makes an encyclopedia about you. New goal.

People Get Ready

Song: Land of Hopes and Dreams
Album: Wrecking Ball
Year: 2012

I needed to take a break from Bruce Classic (tm) so I turned to something a little fresher as a palette cleanser. If this is any indication of 21st Century Boss, I am ON BOARD. That's just a little train humour for you, because this song is about taking the train (or is it?!). It's nice to hear he's upgraded from the bus at this point in his career. He's earned it.

It starts with a gospel choir and has kind of a fun piano riff in the chorus that reminds me of Vampire Weekend (or was Vampire Weekend reminding me of Bruce all along and I just didn't know it yet?). And then he throws a sax solo in the mix too, because he's Bruce Springsteen and he can do what he wants. This song has everything I need and then some.

Rating: 8 conductor whistles out of 10.

This makes me feel: like being in a very emotional movie trailer. Or, you know, taking the train.

Bruce fact: A nun at school once put him in a garbage can. Listen, I don't approve of what she did, but if I had the opportunity to put Bruce Springsteen in a garbage can, I would, just for the story. What a great party icebreaker it would be to have that in your back pocket.