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“The best music is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with.”
- Bruce Springsteen -

Monday, November 30, 2009

#76 Hearts of Stone by Bruce Springsteen

I struggled whether or not to personalize my writing on this song and have decided against it. Therefore, I am struggling to write about it. This may seem like a very vague way to express myself about this song, but I hope I am clear enough so you that you may take the ideas and apply them to your own personal experiences.

Due to my personal experience with this song, I am reminded of the idea of “doing the right thing”. Is “the right thing” always so easily discerned, yet just difficult to face? Or can the right thing be seemingly the wrong thing when it must be done to right another wrong?

If we make a decision in order to save another’s heart at the cost of our own, leaving us with nothing but a “heart of stone”, how can that be doing what is right? Who is it right for? Not for us evidently if it means living the rest of your days unable to love and be loved the way in which we all deserve. And if we are not being true to our own hearts, how can we be true to someone else’s?

I find that most people are insistent on others doing “the right thing” when they benefit most from the outcome, especially emotionally. It is hard to forget our selfish reasons for avoiding change and generously support another in making a difficult decision, even when the decisions they face is theirs alone and one from which they will gain or lose the most.

In the end, we have to live with the choices we make. What is right for one person is not always right for another. No, we can’t return to the past and make things different in order to avoid having to make these life altering decisions, but we can change the present and the future. Becoming less than the person we were will really only cheat ourselves and others out of a full share of the love we have to give.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:


Check out this VERY WELL WRITTEN article on Springsteen in the New York Times:

“While our scholastic education is formal and supervised, our emotional education, the one we glean on our own from artists and musicians, is more important to our long-term happiness.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

#75 Happy by Bruce Springsteen

Even Springsteen’s love songs are sprinkled with the ever present darkness. The conflicting emotion between someone saying how happy they are and the melancholy way in which this song is sung accurately reveals the nature of love.

When the world relentlessly presses us from all sides, when our own individual world comes crashing down on us, our lover is a sanctuary in the storm. When our own inner nemesis comes creeping awake from its slumber, our lover is a lullaby that soothes it to sleep once again.

Being “happy” does not mean that all is right with the world and only moments of joy are to be found. It is not measured by what we have been given or even by our hope. It is neither a cure nor a miracle for our ills. No, happiness is a secure haven for our shame and a refuge from our pain. Happiness in love is a slow, quiet, steady stream of a sweet soothing grace flowing patiently along the ground on which we tread.

Man, Woman, Love are forever at odds with the “cage that’s been handed down the line”, the myths and lies we are told about what a man is, what is woman is supposed to be or do, and what love looks like. We need to break free from those shackles of deceit and embrace and appreciate the love we are given and the love we have to give while we have the chance to give it.

For Complete lyrics visit:

Friday, November 20, 2009

#74 Gypsy Biker by Bruce Springsteen

The obvious fatalities of war – someone’s’ son, someone’s mother, someone’s friend returns home as a body laid out in a flag draped coffin. The less evident fatalities are the soldiers returning home, alive and breathing, but now no longer the person they were. When the “greedy men who rule the world” have taken from them everything they can, they send them home left to wander around the coffin of their minds that barricades them from being the person they once were.

The gypsy biker had an identity – he was a free spirit, maybe somewhat of a rebel. Nothing could tie him down. He was driven to explore the world away from home. He could not stay in one place. This adventurous spirit was robbed. War took from him what he was. He returns home to stay, something he would have never aspired to do. He has no need for the things that used to fuel his fire, such as his beloved bike. He is no longer the same person. He is as good as a dead man – without desire – without the fiery passion he once survived on.

The tragedies of war are endless. They are often invisible to the rest of us. What goes on in the mind and heart of someone who witnessed and participated in the acts of war required of soldiers as well as in the hearts and lives of those they love and who love them, is a bottomless, tattered cavern of emotion that can never be fully repaired.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

#73 Growin’ Up by Bruce Springsteen

It’s a rite of passage passing through adolescence – to question everything – to pull against the crowd. For the first time, in adolescence, we begin to learn about the world outside our own personal world. We have to experience everything for ourselves, even if it means getting burned.

Then when we “grow up”, we somehow stop pulling so hard, we compromise, we give in. There’s a new voice that wakes you up each morning, telling you to get up, shower, go to work, earn the paycheck, do what’s responsible, do what’s acceptable.

When we are young, we are stubborn. We break the rules. No fear. We live like we are invincible. Why can’t we keep a part of that as we get older? That process should never end. We never reach a place where we can say with certainty – I have arrived – I am grown up and there is nothing more for me to learn – there’s no ambivalence in my choices and in my world (although some people would like to believe that about themselves).

We must continue to struggle against the status quo – question authority – question ourselves – stretch our mind – challenge our values – educate ourselves of other cultures much different from our own – expose ourselves to new ideas – ones that make us uncomfortable – only then will we hold onto that passion of our youth that makes life so much more promising - in the never ending, vital process of “growin’ up”.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

#72 Good Eye by Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen once again captures the torment of a man living in the dark recesses of his soul. His life’s outlook is spent looking inward at his personal demons. So obsessed is he with his own individual struggles, he neglects to appreciate the things he has reached out for in his outer world, namely riches and love.

Standing alongside the river, he remains free from the healing of and the life offered by the baptismal waters. He doesn’t allow them to penetrate his guilt-ridden shadow of a heart. Unworthy of being made new again, of receiving the grace offered to him in the light, he dives deeper and deeper into the dark caves of his mind, an isolation not without consequence.

The “cold black water”, a reflection of his struggle, carries his hopes and dreams from beneath his grip into the darkness. He follows its promise down to the lake of fear and shame that pools in his inner sanctuary. He keeps his good eye to the darkness, with a heightened sense of self awareness of the thoughts that plague his sensitive heart. He has only known how to live in the darkness – it is his comfort zone, his safety. It is where he finds purpose and meaning, in his struggle to break free. Being taken down deeper and deeper feels like a baptism in its own right, a commencement of the voice of “howling ghost within” (David Gray), his ache to soothe, his cross to bear.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Monday, November 16, 2009

#71 Goin’ Cali by Bruce Springsteen

“Nothin’s hard as / Getting’ free from places / I’ve already been” (Wallflowers)

Our identity tied into, among other things, where we are from as well as the expectations everyone has built for us, and as a result, we build for ourselves from the ignorant eyes of youth. When we are headed down the road of life, it is not uncommon to find we have gone a long way before we realized we are not on the road meant for us. We have to start over, find a whole new country for ourselves, in order to reconnect with what makes us tick, what makes us us, what we really want for ourselves. We need to find that something that we choose, not what has been left for us, something that makes our life worth living, and something that restores our faith, and lets us keep our heart and soul in tact.

We need to burn down the house of our upbringing and build a new one. The “dirty work” of saying goodbye to those old perceptions and rules of our road has to be faced – bite the bullet, rip the band aid, then continue on our way to find our own, perhaps unfamiliar, voice. We learn to let our own voice decide our fate.

This is a lifelong cycle – burn down one house and build another. Unable to completely escape our early attachments and frameworks, we may continually rebuild our house, only to find the satisfaction it feeds us is fleeting. We reach for different tools, work, family, chemical substances, addictions and collections, but the outcome is the same. We build and burn, build and burn all to find that elusive place of peace where we are left with only the voice inside our head, the voice that will drive us to places from which we must one day escape.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Calling Out Sick

I have not been feeling well for the past few days and am giving myself permission for a few days off from writing. When I am better, I will resume where I left off.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day Off

There will be no new post today due to my very busy day. Check in tomorrow for Goin' Cali and Good Eye.

Monday, November 9, 2009

#70 Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen

Watch and Listen Here:

When you graduate from high school, they tell you that those were the best years of your life. Well, for me, I can certainly say that is not true. And it should not be true for everyone else as well. Yes, you had more energy, your talents were climbing toward their peak, your beauty shone just a little brighter, as did that hopeful light in your eye. Times were good and life seemed like it was handmade just for you.

They say that youth is wasted on the young. They have the opportunities and energy to grab hold of whatever dreams dance around their minds, but they have the inexperience to appreciate them or to know what their priorities should be. They don’t see that some day the beauty will fade, the opportunities will cease to knock, and time will pass you by like a runaway train.

We worship youth. We say we revere our elders, but we don’t really. Not in our culture in the good ol’ US of A. We cover magazines and television with the face of the young and bring out the old only for special moments amidst our youth worshipping culture.

It’s time we bring the glory back to those deserving – those who have lived a long life and are still alive – that in itself is worthy of our attention, those who spent their lives devoted to causes greater than themselves, those who put others in front of their own needs, those who raised their children the best way they knew how, those who fight for something they believe in, those who contribute to the heart and soul of the world through their art, who keep striving for something long past their days of youth, those who do not sit idly back and let time pass them by.

By bringing the honor back to life in this way, we glorify all our days, our youth, middle age, and our later years. It is our lives as a whole that should be glorified and reflected on when we “get old..sit[ting] around thinking about it”. While the simpler times of youth will always be missed for their ease of living, those are not the days deserving of glory, it is everything we are and everything we have become and all we have accomplished since our youth that is worthy of such remembrance.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Friday, November 6, 2009

#69 Gloria's Eyes by Bruce Springsteen

Listen here:

When a relationship forms between two people, where either one or both have not experienced a heightened level of self awareness and individual growth, over time, the relationship can be threatened by the progress of one partner’s personal development.

When one person doesn’t grow, they may find over time that what has worked before in a relationship no longer can be the status quo. The developed partner will see their partner in a different light, and will begin to require more from their significant other. What may have once been “charming”, now becomes immature and a hindrance to growth as individuals and as a couple.

It takes developing individual and collective intellect, spirituality, self awareness, and strong principles on which one determines their world views to maintain a relationship, which should gradually change over time. When one realizes they have surpassed their partner in any or all of these areas, they may lose respect and even love for that person.

When the one who does not do anything to enhance their personal development begins to realize this, and they will eventually realize it, they may try hard to win back the love they once were given so easily. They begin to focus on pleasing the other person and trying to bring back “what they once had”. However, if they only realized if they loved themselves enough to develop into a whole, multi-dimensional individual, then they would be a better partner, a better lover, for the one they are with.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

#68 Give the Girl A Kiss by Bruce Springsteen

Watch and Listen here:

Sebastian the crab said it simply and clearly: “My oh my / Look at the boy too shy / He ain’t gonna kiss the girl / Sha-la-la-la-la-la (Hey Bruce likes those words too!) / Ain’t that sad / Ain’t it shame, too bad / You gonna miss the girl”. For those who don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, in the Disney cartoon “The Little Mermaid”, the crab, Ariel the mermaid’s version of Jiminy Cricket, sings this song in hopes that the prince will kiss Ariel and break the spell cast on her by the sea’s evil witch.

So what’s the hurry? Well, for Ariel, her prince not sharing a kiss of true love would lead to her ultimate enslavement to the sea witch as one of her “pet” creatures, and any chance at true love would be lost forever. For those of us in the real world, and on land, those sacred moments also exist. No, we will not turn into the slithering snake-like monsters like Flotsam and Jetsam, but we do risk missing out on one of life’s greatest experiences if we don’t push past our fears and show the one we love, well, that we love them.

We do risk, though, becoming “flotsam and jetsam”, in the sense that we may remain forever adrift in a sea of loneliness, enslaved to the world of lost chances. Whether it’s fear, personality, or our culture’s expectations, we can’t let moments pass when we have a chance to express our feelings for someone. That moment could very well be your last chance to say what you feel inside. It’s not about romantic displays of affection, but sincere moments where we let the burning that moves inside of us come out to play. The ones we love need to hear it through words and actions. Whether it’s our children, a significant other, a friend, they all need to hear us say the word L-O-V-E and need to feel it in the way we touch, treat, or talk to them.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

DISCLAIMER: This is a wicked lame post, but I am sick and do not care ;-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

#67 Girls In Their Summer Clothes by Bruce Springsteen

Besides being possibly the only rock n’ roll song that uses the name Shaniqua, “Girls In Their Summer Clothes” is a bittersweet story of hope and redemption, an anthem to life’s possibilities. The promises of summertime hold out hope amidst the darkness. A wounded heart lets the effortless world of a summer night carry him through the darkness to where second chances are found.

The night has descended, and he has almost drowned in his pain. But his journey has only just begun. Leaving the isolation of his home, he allows himself to experience the cool, light air of a summer evening. Each girl that passes him by is a reminder that love can be found again. Life, a meaningful one, can still be found after heartache and pain.

However, he once again finds himself in “the darkness on the edge of town”. The pain of losing someone he loved has encircled his heart. He carries the weight of it inside along his journey until he finally, in response to a little kindness, lets it all go. Emboldened by the release of this debilitating heartache and the countless number of possibilities passing by him, he feels “found”. He takes another chance at love, “show[ing] a little faith” in summertime’s promises for he knows all too well “there’s [even] magic in the night”.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

#66 Gave it a Name by Bruce Springsteen

Your poison snake, your father’s genes, your mother’s abuse, your difficult life experiences, the culture that surrounds and pounds you from every which way. We’ve all been touched by the poison of the world outside of our control. Since the day of our birth, the waves of an interdependent reality bombard our shores.

Yet, sometimes we can forget that part of our existence. Who we are and what we do with our lives gets filtered through our own eyes of guilt and shame. We do it to ourselves and we do it to others as well. We become one dimensional, one thing, one awful thing and deem ourselves, or one another, unlovable.

Freedom from this guilt-ridden life lies in “[giving] it a name”, putting some kind of identifying mark on the sins that plague us. It requires diving in deep into the surrounding waters and realizing that we have been touched by a poison, a poison that swims through our bloodstream from birth until the day we die. Of course, we are responsible for what we ultimately choose to do with our actions. But we are not just one thing. We are not just a “wife beater”, a “killer”, a “child molester”, an “adulterer”, we are many more things. It is the poison that has driven us into the darker ways of the world. It is the poison that is never ceasing that leaves us feeling alone, fully responsible, and tossed about believing we only have our own strength and will to save ourselves.

By “[giving] it a name”, this poison inside can begin to lose its power. It can validate us as imperfect human beings, not making excuses for the wrongs we do, but lifting the debilitating shame that rides atop our sins. It can free us from our own inner prison and place us back into the sea of humanity alongside the rest of the world’s struggling souls. And from that place of acceptance, we can begin to heal…

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Monday, November 2, 2009

#65 Galveston Bay by Bruce Springsteen

We all just want the same things: A satisfying job that allows us to support ourselves, A loving spouse, Healthy and happy children, A home to call our own, Something greater than ourselves to live for and believe in. We let so many superficial things divide us. There are these invisible lines called borders that have been drawn that make us feel that what we fight for and what we believe and how we live is somehow superior to those across the border. They create within us ideas about differences that do not really exist. When people from other countries come to our own, we look at them as invaders of our land. When in reality the land is as much theirs as it is ours. Prejudices are fed to the point that their lives become less important than false ideas.

I was listening to someone being interviewed recently about their experience in a space shuttle. They said that when you look down at the earth from that far, there are no lines. The earth is one gem in the universe connected by water and land. There are no differences from that high. Texas looks the same as Vietnam. And Iraq is no different than Washington D.C. Our inability to see the world in this way shows us how far removed we are from God and his way of loving. We cannot step outside of ourselves and our own interests and embrace our brothers and sisters who are no different than our own family members.

What good is a world so divided?

For Complete Lyrics Visit: