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

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


To my faithful readers (if there are any faithful ones),

I am currently attending graduate school while working full time, and my blog ambitions have taken a back seat to life's necessities. My intentions are to return to blogging some time this fall when I've settled into some kind of rhythm with my schedule. Thanks for your suppport.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

#96 Janey Don’t You Lose Heart

“Well you say you got no new dreams to touch
You feel like a stranger babe who knows too much”

When I have children, I know it will be struggle for me, when they get to a certain point in their development, to want to instill in them everything I know and have learned over my life. I don’t want them to experience any of the struggles I have, struggles born of fears, fears which now lie dormant in the back seat of my car.

Watching someone you love struggle with those fears can be frustrating. You just want to reach out and say “here, take this key, turn it in the lock on those invisible shackles you are wearing, and set yourself free because what you think is so important at this moment, is only a moment and so therefore not that important”.

Someone with life experience trying to reassure someone who doesn’t know yet that along with age and time fears dissipate and sometimes altogether disappear. What may seem to be the end of a road taken, a broken relationship or a loss of any sort, will some day become the beginning of your journey rather than an end. Who, or what, you believe you cannot live without in your youth, can possibly some day become someone or something you are grateful to be rid of.

So, we can tell the children of the world all this and more. We can tell them that some day their prince will come and some day your heart will be filled again, but they will not listen. They cannot hear what they have not seen. They may grab onto these words as hope but they will not know what we know. They will not believe until they believe. Until they live and find their own reasons. They will one day, as we have done, shed some fears, laugh at others, and tuck away a few for their own rainy day.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bonus Video - Look Towards the Land by Bruce Springsteen

I am certain I'm very late in coming across this song as a Springsteen fan, but I just had to post it here and share.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

#95 Jackson Cage by Bruce Springsteen

“You can try with all your might
But you're reminded every night
That you been judged and handed life
Down in Jackson Cage”

Jackson Cage tells the story of life born behind the bars of socioeconomic inequality. This young woman feels she is just another faceless piece of her small world. Someone else’s twisted vision (“the hand that turns the key”) has cast her as an extra in the production of her own life. “Some folks are born into a good life”…and many are sentenced from day one to a life that feels like little more than punishment for someone else’s sins.

This nameless child swims upstream every day but every night finds herself back where she started. Her blinds are closed to any vision that may exist outside of her world. Like any cage, her life limits her awareness of other possibilities. She can only see the bars of injustice, and so she settles in to a life of survival.

Her story reminds us that “personal choice”, a buzz phrase that has swept the vocabularies of those who refuse to see the MUCH MUCH bigger picture of our world, is the smallest piece of the pie that allows someone to break out of their prison. When the life you are born into lands you, not even on first base, not even in the dugout, so far from any resemblance of a “good life”, that you cannot even see the field or even know that one exists, “personal choice” is not even in your awareness. At the very least, “personal choice” exists only in the realm of choosing the lesser of two evils.

And we are reminded of our human connectedness and our responsibility to help one another. Everything we do can change or perpetuate the cycle of poverty and hopelessness for our fellow man. “Without a vision people perish” (somewhere in the Bible). Instead of judging them as they may feel so many do and pushing them further from view, let us lend hope and a compassionate hand to “lives on the line” down in these isolated worlds, and help remove the bondage and barricades of these prison towns like Jackson Cage.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

#94 It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City by Bruce Springsteen

“The devil appeared like Jesus through the steam in the street
Showin' me a hand I knew even the cops couldn't beat
I felt his hot breath on my neck as I dove into the heat
It's so hard to be a saint when you're just a boy out on the street”

It’s been so long since my last post. I think back to the day I said I was going to write about one song per day. Even if I wasn’t working full time and going to school, I still do not think that would be a possibility. Each song requires so much reflection, and I never feel I reflect enough to do them justice.

This current song is just not grabbing me in any way and I feel at a loss to write about it. My head is swarming with the names of all the bones of the body and now the muscles – words like epicranial aponeurosis and my confusion over the final episode of LOST as well as my concern over my sick kitty are overpowering Springsteen’s beautiful visions -“the devil appeared like Jesus through the steam in the street”. I can’t even begin to write about this song.

Ok it just hit me. Yes just now. That is exactly what this song is about. It’s about distractions. It’s about trying to stay on a course yet finding yourself pulled by temptation or drained by the necessary evils aboard this life train. It would be so much easier to let life derail me from my goal. How important is this goal really I ask myself when I’m much too tired to even open a Word document to start typing.

So, once again I have to remind myself why I even began this in the first place. I wanted to improve my writing. I wanted to set a goal that would inspire me to write and keep me writing on a consistent basis. I wanted to test out the writer in me and see who wins – the student on her way to becoming an Occupational Therapist – or the artist who still dreams of one day having a dream job that involves writing or music or something more passionate than my current/future occupation provides.

The practical me has been winning. It’s important, yes. But so is this project of mine. Even if only to finish what I set before me. I don’t want to be another “sage on the subway” while something or someone else “clacks out the rhythm” of my life. I want to be “out on the street” making things happen, choosing my own paths, small and large.

Yes, this post was mostly about me. But sometimes to get through a writing block you need to write about what’s in your head – push out the cork that is blocking the flow – oh no – now I’m thinking about LOST again…

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Friday, April 30, 2010

#93 Into the Fire

“It was dark, too dark to see,

you held me in the light you gave

You lay your hand on me

Then walked into the darkness of your smoky grave”

It takes a lot of courage to follow your calling, especially when that calling brings with it great sacrifice. The obvious heroes of our world – the policemen, soldiers, firemen, etc… - those who risk their lives every day for a cause greater than themselves – all deserve respect and recognition for such a great sacrifice.

However, there’s another kind of hero in our midst – we know him/her as “the artist” or maybe they’re “the unemployed”, “the cousin who lives out of his car”, “the eccentric friend who never had a steady job”, “the kid who doodles in class and doesn’t relate to his peers”, “the girl with headphones on who spends all day playing that “damn” guitar”.

Following your passion, your purpose against the grain of society is not an easy cross to bear, especially when that mission yields little fruitage. Putting your heart and soul into a song or a photo or a painting - laying it out for all to see and to possibly ridicule or worse yet – completely misunderstand – takes a drive and a commitment not easily embraced.

Artists are not supported. Only once they reach some level of “business success” do they truly get recognized, but then they are flooded with all the stuff that has nothing to do with their art or why they began creating in the first place – needy fans, managers, sponsors, it takes money to make money… a whole slew of meaningless expectations that for most artists can stifle their creativity. They become a factory of their meduim instead of a patient fisherman of their own inner world.

When was the last time you felt inspired and alive? For me, it’s when I listen to music especially at a live show or with a vodka and tonic (or 2 or 3) in front of my Bruce Springsteen Live In New York DVD. Nothing else compares. I feel inspired to write, inspired to be more myself and less the cookie cutter person everyone wants me to be. When I see the beauty of the earth or people who carry their lives on their faces, I am moved to want to capture those images with my camera. That is life. That is what I long to be passionate for. When I get those feelings, I feel like life is meant to go on forever and I feel something greater at work – something greater than all this madness. For tiny fleeting moments I believe in myself and that I can really have the life I desire. I don’t recall having any semblance of those emotions the last time I watched “The Bachelor”.

Artists are heroes too. They cross into the fire that most of us don’t dare draw near. They risk being ostracized and torn apart and give up family, friends, and a predictable meal plan all for the sake of trying to carve out an authentic life in this plastic society we call living.
And the sacrifices they make bring remind us of what living really is and what is important in our soul’s quest for answers…they hold us “in the light [they give}” and therein lies our faith, hope, and above all else - love…

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

A Lull In The Action

I have not been posting as often as I'd like. This project is much greater than I anticipated. While I am still enjoying writing about and delving into these lyrics, I'm not finding the time to do so at a level I had hoped to do. I am back in school, so pretty much for the next four years I will be pretty busy (no it will not take me that long to finish these songs - God I hope not). However, I am still determined to finish this project, and I hope you will stick with me along the way. Thanks for your support and stay tuned for "Into the Fire" - it's a bit slow coming...


Friday, April 9, 2010

#92 Independence Day by Bruce Springsteen

"But they Can't Touch Me Now
And You Can't Touch Me Now
They Ain't Gonna Do To Me
What I Watched Them Do To You"

Raising children includes passing down ideas, beliefs, and values from one generation to another. Religion, politics, a general worldview, ways of coping with life (healthy and unhealthy), habits, talents, strengths, weaknesses – these all play a part in building a foundation for the growing child. But the time will come, and oh how it must come, when these children will begin to make decisions based on what they’ve come to believe in, to mature their inheritances, to leave them behind, or to embrace them as their own.

Not everyone responds the same way to breaking away from their upbringing. “Boys run away”, instinctually rebelling against everything they see in their fathers and everything they see in themselves and everything they do not want to be. However, like a newborn country, called the U.S. of A, on its Independence Day, they physically break away and then become exactly what they needed to so desperately leave behind.

“Men make their way”. A choice is made. They recognize that they and the world in which they live is constantly changing. New people bring new ideas, and they constantly search for new reasons why, expanding their vision, and encompass a world greater than the one they are born into. They willfully and inevitably break free from one’s past physically, spiritually, or emotionally.

In either case, it is a mournful process. Recognizing the weaknesses in those that have raised and loved you is a painful experience. Surpassing them in intellectual or emotional growth seems to move against the natural process of life. Yet, it is a necessary process. Springsteen sings “I never meant to take those things away” as a child who knows that their own personal growth will shatter the protective barrier of beliefs and ideas their parent has embraced throughout their life, their means of survival. The child must break away and then “make their way”. Though, they’ll never truly be free from everything, the good and the bad. Remnants of love, splinters of “the darkness”, and slivers of the light remain and there’s celebration and there’s bound to be devastation – come Independence Day.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

#91 Incident on 57th Street by Bruce Springsteen

“We may find it out on the street tonight baby

Or we may walk until the daylight maybe”

This past weekend, I watched the movie “Public Enemies”, an insightful portrayal of John Dillinger, the infamous bank robber from the 1930’s. Dillinger stoles thousands of dollars from banks and killed and kidnapped when deemed necessary. He was a criminal. He was bad. He was wanted.

And he was sensitive. He was an intelligent, perceptive soul who found a way to survive in a world where he would always find himself on the losing end no matter what kind of life he led. Any possibilities of second chances were taken from him at a young age. So, he played the game of life the only way he could protect himself, by going on the offense.

Spanish Johnny plays the game of life not unlike Johnny Dillinger. Some experience or insight into his life has led him to conclude that the way for his heart to survive an unforgiving world is to get his any way any how. The world was made of winners and losers, and he was “tired of coming out on the losing end”.

Johnny, in the midst of his darker world, finds himself touched by someone who understands him and who will love him probably better than anyone else has loved him in his life. Jane’s a kindred spirit who still carries the hope that Johnny lost long ago. She, too, can see the futility in the games of the world, but she also still dreams for something more, a world where they come out the winners. Johnny gives a small piece of himself to her. They carve themselves out a piece of quiet sadness within their weary worlds, but Johnny can’t jump in completely.

Love becomes something not worth taking a risk for because “it falls apart so easy and you know hearts these days are cheap”. No matter love’s promises, he can’t take the risk of losing once again. There are no guarantees they will “find it out on the street tonight”, find what they’re searching for. He can no longer make or keep promises to himself or to anyone else. He’ll share a moment but not a lifetime. He is safer risking his life rather than his heart.

…next stop for Johnny – Atlantic City….some hearts are not made for this world…

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Monday, March 15, 2010

#90 If I Should Fall Behind by Bruce Springsteen

“Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
But you and I know what this world can do”

This Saturday, I will be running my first 10k (6.2 mile) race. My husband is also running the race. He has a few of these races as well as a few marathons under his belt already. He naturally is a faster runner than I am being taller and stronger, so he’s promised that after each mile, he will stop and wait for me to catch up. He won’t let me finish the race alone. And if for some reason I come in last (please God no!), he will let me cross the finish line first.

That’s what marriage is. Two people going through life as individuals, with their own goals and at their own pace. At times, one is stronger than the other and their steps more certain. By taking the time to slow down and travel alongside their partner, they can become a guide during times of distress and a hiding place from the windstorms of life. At times they will fall out of step, but in the end, they arrive together for life’s triumphs and tribulations.

Marriage does not promise perfection and endless days of synchronicity. Two people cannot walk side by side for every step of their lives. That is just not possible, especially if both are struggling to grow in any area of their life, physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

Sometimes one will run ahead of the other, beyond the curve in the road or over the hill into the distant horizon, but they will not let the other lose sight for too long. They will go to their dark places and return to the light. One may lose momentum but will again quicken their pace. They will feel apathy and hopelessness but continue to return home again to passion and promise. At times, one will be the strength and at other times the same person will be counting on to the other to light their way. This is the promise of marriage. This is love.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

#89 Iceman by Bruce Springsteen

“My baby was a lover and the world just blew her away”

“Don't check

Just balance on the fence

Don't answer

Don't ask

Don't try and make sense…

I feel numb”

In Badlands, when Springsteen sings “I wanna find one face that ain’t lookin’ through me”, my stomach actually turns into knots…and the neurotransmitters in my brain fire YES! YES! – Where is that face? There’s got to be someone left with some hot blood in their veins…somebody “itchin’ for something to start”…Anyone? Anyone? Any? Going once, going twice…

We have become a society void of passionate conversation and connection. I’m so beyond sick of hearing people talking in clich├ęs instead of really connecting – really saying what they think: We constantly hear “it’s for the best “, “think positive”, “I believe everything happens for a reason”, “it’s all good”. It’s pretty sad that I can predict the other side of a two way conversation most of the time.

Jesus F’n Christ! Does no one say what they really feel anymore? How about? This totally sucks…it’s not fair – it makes me want to kill myself…I think I will become alcohol dependent now that my friend was found raped and murdered in a dumpster..nope we get: “everything happens for a reason..she was raped and murdered so that I could become someone who helps rape victims” – “she was so kind – never said a bad thing about anyone” – really never?

I know that we are forced to live through mind numbing jobs and most of us are just struggling to make it through whatever this world hands us, putting us into a stupor of easy submission (insert “your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold” lyrics here) to the forces around us telling us what we should be, what we should feel, what we should look like, and repeating each and every new slogan that comes our way because Oprah said it on her show last week. Oh and don’t forget this season’s hottest suede boot! Icemen…Icepeople (because you do have to be PC, you know! – If you’re not, then God help you!)…that’s what we’ve become.

Aaaaahhhhhh! Where is the hot blood that boils through our veins…where is the passion, the anger…are we really that anesthetized that we can’t feel anymore..or are we so afraid of feeling…that we just become another spoke in the wheel of what society dictates, not allowing us to question anything, not even allowing us to realize the trap that we are in? Just walk the straight and narrow – don’t worry your reward is in the heavens. A mind-numbing existence = salvation – sure it does – the preacher said so. No room for ache, no room for “the search”, no room for a passionate existence.

What? You mean the “white wedding, house on the hill, 2.3 children, working for the man, voting for president, celebrity obsessed, pill popping, you make your own luck, we only pretend we want to help the poor” society we live in is not the best way to live? This is blasphemy! Hack into her computer, shut down her blog and throw her in jail for these socialist, communist ideas. She’s a radical – she’s dangerous…she has the infection…her blood is not frozen like ours is…What shall we do? I know - I heard her middle name is Osama…die bitch die!

(Sigh) – that felt really good…

“Well Everybody wants to go forever…I just want to burn out hard and bright” (Ryan Adams)

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Friday, March 5, 2010

#88 I’m on Fire by Bruce Springsteen

“Sometimes it's like someone took a knife baby
edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley
through the middle of my soul”

Obsessive love. Sarah McLaughlin sings about it in her song “Possession”: “My body aches to breathe your breath. Your words keep me alive…Nothing Stands between us here. And I won’t be denied”. Whoa! Sounds a bit stalkerish, doesn’t it? What happens when one person fixates on another and believes they are the only possible fulfillment of the lonely, empty places inside?

A “six-inch valley through the middle of my soul” paints a picture of mountains cut wide open, trees uprooted. The land is devastated and unprotected. Anything can flow through, in or out, without hindrance down the river of pain. There is something vital missing, and a fragile landscape remains. The person embodying such desolation feels as good as dead without this other person.

This fixation, call it love – call it obsession, has taken them over and leaves them raw and willing to ignore the voice inside that tells them no. They just need someone to say yes. They just need the object of their desire to give them the permission they’ve already given themselves, and they’ll be there, down the intense road of passion and obsession, into the arms of what they’ve long desired. They believe they are the fulfillment, and the one they crave is the fulfillment of each other’s each and every need and desire.

To have someone long for you with such intensity for some is a flattering experience. They, too, may feed on the fixation even when they don’t return the same feelings. What they may not realize, though, is that these kinds of obsessions just grow and grow, moving along like “a freight train”. And no matter the height of the pedestal the object of desire is held on, they will never be able to fulfill the fantasy or fill the eternal emptiness of their admirer. They will not ever be able to quench the fires of infatuation. They will always fall short, and intense “love” can quickly turn to intense hatred. And that’s where the danger begins…

…that being said – this is such a sexy song!

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Monday, March 1, 2010

#87 I’m Goin’ Down by Bruce Springsteen

“I'm sick and tired of you setting me up
Setting me up just to knock-a knock-a knock-a me down”

The music and vocals are what make this song so great. But my goal is to delve into lyrical content. Though catchy and playful, this song does capture a common and serious issue in many relationships.

I’ve observed many couples that make me wonder, “Then why are you together?” The woman thinks her husband is stupid and immature, and she lets the rest of the world know it by every roll of her eyes. She does nothing but complain about him, and in all too common conversations with her girlfriends agrees that men are “pigs”, “immature”, and just a "lesser species" compared to their perfect selves.

My question is this: If you’re so evolved and mature, why did you marry such a “loser”? You married him, so doesn’t what you think about him really serve as a reflection on yourself? She no longer takes pleasure in what first made her fall in love. Instead she takes his affections for granted and finds herself living with feelings of resentment and irritation. She continues to treat him with disdain oblivious to the sinking soul inside of him that will one day say “I’m sick and tired” and perhaps even walk away. Then she and her girlfriends, in a pathetic display of self pity, can cry about what an insensitive jerk he is to have left her this way.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

#86 I’m A Rocker by Bruce Springsteen

“True love is broken
and your tears are fallin' faster
You're sufferin' from a pain in your heart
or some other natural disaster”

The “Rocker”, the superhero of love. He promises that where all others fail, he delivers. He’s got what it takes and more. And he says again and again: “I’m a Rocker”. A what? Wait, what is that supposed to mean? He’s a rocker? He’s a Rock N’ Roller? As in Sex, Drugs, & ???
That wouldn’t inspire confidence in me to trust in this “I can do it all and better than anyone can” man.

But he keeps saying it: I’m a rocker…I’m a rocker…I’m a rocker….I’m a rocker…

…and like a newborn baby we are rocked in the cradle of security - in the arms of a promise made over and over again without hesitation. He’s consoling; he’s promising to hold on and never let go. He is persistent and unconditional in his devotion. When a heart is broken, one of life’s many “natural disasters”, it may not know where to turn. It finds it hard to trust again. Like a mother holding her child on the front porch swing in the midst of a sudden windstorm, he is promising a strong, secure place to hide and a soft place to let an uncertain heart fall.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Monday, February 22, 2010

#85 I’ll Work For Your Love by Bruce Springsteen

"Now our city of peace has crumbled
Our book of faith's been tossed
And I'm just out here searchin'
For my own piece of the cross”

The complexity of what lies between man and woman and the ever present third party of “all that stuff we’re so scared of” touches even the deepest, most spiritual parts of our humanity. Faith, devotion, grace, promises, and everything we open ourselves to when we open our heart to another gives the bond between two people a stronger thread to bind ourselves in as well as another of life’s complex mazes of doubt, fear, and pain to find our way through.

When someone loves us, they unwittingly offer us some piece of redemption. And that small piece of grace that flows from that love strengthens our faith in this human connection. And that faith, in turn, allows us to promise devotion and faithfulness in a world filled with broken vows.

Everything we bring into a relationship, our own experiences, our culture’s expectations and lies, life’s countless promises of happiness, and all the sweet and sorrowful “dust of civilizations” come along for the ride. No matter how much we try at not taking this relationship for granted or at not allowing someone or something else to define what we will be, these “sweet remains” slip into the mix and slowly evolve and erode our ideals and intentions over time.

The “pages of Revelation” are filled with turmoil and judgment. However, they are also filled with deliverance and salvation. So is love. Love has the power to throw us to our knees and leave us writhing in futility but also the strength to lift us up out of our darkest inner chambers and save us again and again. Our fall from grace as humans leaves us to wander in our sinful state at the mercy of our own and others sinful inclinations. But even amongst such destitution, love, “like a rhythm unbroken”(U2) continues to redeem, to save, and to willingly offer grace to one desperate heart after another.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

#84 I Wish I Were Blind

“And the light that once entered here

Is banished from me

And this darkness is all baby that my heart sees”

A suicide song. The darkness blocks out any traces of hope. Any reason for believing, for living have succumbed to the all consuming grief of losing someone you love. The pain is so unbearable, what can be done to end it? Stop it. Kill it. There is only one way out. Blinding oneself to the graces of God’s hand is an understandable choice given the anguish of the alternative. Blinding oneself to life’s cruel beauty is the only way to escape.

Any experience of loss accompanied by constant reminders of that loss and the reality of its irrevocability can take the light right out of you. It can make even the most developed of souls return the places from which they once escaped. And the pull of the darkness is strong, it is familiar, it is safe.

The death of a relationship is filled with enough pain – add to that the blossoming of a new one – one that involves the person you love and someone else. Knowing that someone else is bringing your loved one the happiness you could not bring is a truly painful experience. Some mating habits of bluebirds teach us that a relationship is forever. It is complete devotion until “death do us part”. Promises of eternity abound in nature’s hand – blossoms returning every spring without fail, an endless sky filled with countless stars – and they assure us that the heart is worth giving.

We believe in the promises of forever. We believe in the dream. But as Springsteen so often questions, “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true – or is it something worse?”

It is something worse. It is agony. It is darkness. It is death.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

#83 I Wanna Marry You by Bruce Springsteen

Mawwiage…mawwiage is what bwings us togeva today…

Will not save you
Will not find you
Will not make you
Will not fix you

Should not tame you
Should not break you
Should not complete you
Should not defeat you

Will definitely shake you
Will always wake you
Won’t try to fake you
Won’t stop to take you

It’s something happy
It’s something sad
It’s something so good
And oh so bad

No magic rings
No miracle vows
Only the desire
And Only love knows how

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

#82 I Wanna Be With You by Bruce Springsteen

New love, intense love. Infatuation and passion giving us permission to burn down the town all around with this powerful heat wave that has taken us over. We risk jobs, relationships, reputation, and everything we have and are because there is something, someone that is worth it all. There is only one person that exists and only one thing you want – to be with them, to see them, to be in a room filled with people and to be aware of only their presence.

When we first fall in love with someone, even before we realize that it may even be love, they swing our world by the tail. They’ve swallowed the key to our passions, our motivations, and our thoughts. Our dreams, awake or asleep, keep them right beside us when they are not yet ours to hold.

It’s inevitable that such a fast moving train will eventually slow down. No one can retain such a high level of emotion over any person or thing. They become ours. We grow familiar. We become comfortable. Love does not fade, but the driving engine burning all day and night does. For those who have found real love, meaningful deep connected down in the fabric of our being love, when this engine slows, will find something beautiful and lasting. For those who rode the train for the sake of the ride, when the fire dwindles, will be left with nothing but the search for another train.

This new love – it’s exciting – it’s scary – it’s everything when it’s there. It’s all consuming. It disregards warnings and advice. It laughs at logic and reason. It takes a sensible person and pulls them by the nose into the tunnel that starts in the light, filled with excitement and promise, and that eventually “gets so dark”, dark enough for “two people to lose each other”. Those who find one another again when the ride comes to an end are those who have entwined the threads of their spirits into one by being vulnerable, by trusting, by respecting and admiring, by unselfishly giving, by being willing to go deep into our own and each other’s “black ladder”s, becoming a part of the same cloth that cannot easily be torn in two. New love becomes secure love, deep love, lasting love – and even though familiar and comfortable and darker – this love still declares at the end of every day “I wanna be with you / I wanna be with you / That's what I wanna do” and that knowing passion is a flame that cannot easily be extinguished.

For Complete Lyrics Visit:

Monday, January 4, 2010

#81 Hungry Heart by Bruce Springsteen

For one of my first college papers, I had to write a “causal argument”. I had to explain how one thing caused another. I chose, as I did many times in later papers, to write about Springsteen, specifically how and why he has gained such a loyal fan base. Of course, my teacher was not a Springsteen fan – I even wonder if she ever heard of him. So, while the structure was what she was looking for, I’m pretty sure the content was lost on her. I chose the title “Everybody’s got a hungry heart” because to me that captures what is at the heart of the connection between Bruce and his fans. We are all looking for a connection, and no matter what difficulties leave us disillusioned, most of us never stop looking. When someone understands the ghosts howling and the bells ringing inside our own hearts and captures those emotions with just the right words, we are drawn to them because they give us validation and hope amidst our tumultuous world without and within.

Here is are some excerpts from my paper below: (please excuse the academic format)

Since he was young man born in Freehold, New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen has been carrying a gift that emotionally and spiritually affects the lives of those who let him in. He took everything that he was, the good, the bad, his doubts and fears and poured them into the music and lyrics he wrote. Springsteen’s listeners feel set free in their struggles because they identify with the truths he tells about the human spirit. “… Springsteen has repeatedly gone to where we hurt in order to get at what we have in common” (Wolff).

His emotional background has given him the experience and understanding of the dark parts of the human soul. His songs Darkness, Nebraska, Streets of Philadelphia, You’re Missing, and One Step Up epitomize feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, and grief. Who has not experienced at least one of these in their lives? Hearing someone give words to such deep, personal emotions helps people to gain power over their pain. It frees them from that world by allowing them to place a name or a description to what they are going through.

Springsteen says it best in Darkness: “Everybody’s got a secret sonny/something they just can’t face/they spend their whole lives just trying to keep it/they carry it with them every step that they take/until one day they just cut it loose/cut it loose or let it drag them down/to where no one asks any questions or looks too long in your face/in the darkness on the edge of town.” Lyrics like these help Springsteen fans to not feel so alone in their ache. One Springsteen fan expresses it this way, “Bruce let us in. He let our lives and our pain live in his music. He honored us by telling our stories for us with his voice. He let those of us who were too damaged to live live through his song...” (Brenda).

…His songs…allow his fans to see their lives and struggles expressed and validated in a way that makes them proud to be who they are even when the world may look down on them. These songs became their anthems.

When it comes to love, relationships, and family, Springsteen boils them down to their essence and lays bare the bitter-sweet truth about the moments in our lives touched by these. He has been married twice and has three children, but he never claims to have all the answers. He sings about romantic love, love that’s grown old, love that never was, love that matures, and the difficult and scary faces of love. He holds up love’s promise and asks it to deliver, but accepts its boundaries: “I wanna know if love is wild/I wanna know if love is real.” Then he shows the work love involves in Tunnel of Love: “There's a crazy mirror showing us both in 5-D/I'm laughing at you you're laughing at me/There's a room of shadows that gets so dark brother/It's easy for two people to lose each other in this tunnel of love…the house is haunted and the ride gets rough/And you've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above if you want to ride on/down in through this tunnel of love.” His fans find a comfort and understanding in this realistic expectation of love.

Springsteen’s songs have an understated courage that doesn’t leave his listeners without hope. Hope is what keeps people going, and Springsteen’s fans grab hold of it whenever they can. He tells us “Still at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe.” When life in these “badlands” beats them down to where hopelessness hangs above them by a thread, they look to his music to remind them to find their piece of hope in faith and love. He sings, “I believe in the love that you gave me/I believe in the faith that could save me/I believe in the hope/and I pray that some day/It may raise me above these badlands.” One longtime fan expresses his first live experience with Springsteen, “…it was the moment that I ever heard an artist reach into me time and time again… Aside from God, he has given me the hope and strength to go down some pretty tough paths in life” (Hunt).

Springsteen’s fans allow him in return to still be writing, playing, and touring at the age of fifty-six. He can put on an acoustic show or bring the whole band. His fans keep coming no matter what. He is still providing the something that they need as he continues to write about life’s struggle. Their “hungry hearts” get filled up and validated with every song Springsteen shares from his heart and soul. They find meaning and courage to continue in life when they hear those honest, heartfelt words echoing out from their stereos or from the revered stage at a Springsteen concert. They let him inside the most vulnerable parts of themselves because they know he’s been there too; they know his heart is as hungry as their own.

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