train

It's like eatin' caviar and dirt

Song: Better Days
Album: Lucky Town
Year: 1992

I was really ready to give this song a hard time, given that the last track I heard off this album was so revolting. I was rolling up my sleeves! I was lickin' my chops! Then I was lickin' my sleeves because I got confused for a second! (Also what are chops?!)

But "Better Days" is an excellent example of Melancholic Bruce, and you KNOW how I feel about Melancholic Bruce (very good). Though it's vaguely of a love song ("These are better days, baby/Better days with a girl like you."), it's actually mostly about him being rich but not feeling rich, which is starting to replace roads/trains as a major theme through his work. It's important to take note of these patterns, because one day I hope science can create a Bruce Springsteen song generator so we can all finally relax, secure in the knowledge that the world will never be at a loss for songs about feeling like a fraud and/or going for a nice drive.

Watching this video, I thought I caught a glimpse of a giant cross around Bruce's neck, but upon closer inspection it turned out he's actually wearing TWO giant crosses—a bit of an odd choice considering that a thorough investigation (googling "bruce springsteen religious???") revealed that Bruce was raised Catholic but identifies as agnostic. My theory? They're not crosses at all, but actually lower-case "T"s, a reference to new wife Patti Scialfa and the better days he's enjoying with her.

This makes me feel: Hopeful and sad—the Springsteen sweet spot.

Rating: 7 better days out of 10.

Fun Bruce Fact: American Idol judge Randy Jackson plays bass in this song.

Fun Randy Jackson Fact: The guy is 60 YEARS OLD AND I DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE. Starting a new blog about RJ's beauty tips RIGHT NOW.

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.