Because this is a serious website, and because I am a serious music journalist, here is an annotated list of the Springsteen cuts that most make me want to ****** ***** * ***’* ***** *** ** *** **** and **** *** ** *** *** ** *** ***** ****** ****** ****. Props to coolschmool for that header collage of Bruce and Clarence making out.
10. Dancing in the Dark
Do you have any concept of how long it took me to realize that “dancing in the dark” was a euphemism for sex? It was seriously, like. Last month. And I’m 24 years old. I thought “dancing in the dark” was a metaphor for taking a risk, a leap of blind faith. I thought “I’m dying for some action” meant he was dying to act, to make a meaningful change in his life. Turns out he’s actually talking about fucking! Who knew?
9. Cover Me
This song owns because Bruce originally wrote it for Donna Summer, who surely would have rendered it a dreamy disco soundscape. But his manager thought it had “hit potential,” and thus The National Anthem of Bottoming was born, and placed in the #2 spot on an album which features cover art of Bruce’s butt, red hat in right pocket. Iconic.
You really have to give Bruce credit for writing a song that seamlessly combines the struggle of rising above one’s station and overcoming a traumatic, impoverished upbringing with the struggle of being too horny to live. Any given lyric in this song could be about overthrowing American capitalism or getting gloriously, generously rawed. Or both!
7. Prove It All Night
This is another good cut from Darkness on the Edge of Town, because it’s outwardly about driving to the outskirts of town in your dad’s pick-up and then going to town in the backseat of said pick-up, but Bruce manages to up the emotional stakes to this gritty, raw, life-and-death stand-off. “You hear their voices tell you not to go,” he sings, presumably referring to the friends and family of this girl, who presumably think she can do better than banging Bruce Springsteen in a cornfield. “They’ve made their choices, and they’ll never know… what it means to steal! To cheat! To lie! What it’s like to live and die!” Like, what? Are they gonna go cow-tipping after? Are they gonna shoplift from the gas station? Are they gonna go 60 in a 55 on the way back?
6. Atlantic City, Weirdly
You know that one line in “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross,” when Sufjan sings, “Fuck me, I’m falling apart?” This song is that line, but three and a half minutes long, and with lore.
5. My Lover Man
Gifs via dayloop.tumblr.com.
4. Drive All Night
Bruce would drive all night? Just to buy this chick a pair of shoes? I can’t even get a text back!
3. Thunder Road
The erotic mood Bruce is cultivating here is so strong that you barely even notice how hard he’s negging Mary throughout. I mean, you ain’t a beauty, but hey, you’re all right? Are you kidding me? Whatever. The pre-chorus melody could cure cancer and he once brought Melissa Etheridge out to duet on this song with him, in an act of bold lesbian allyship. All is forgiven.
There’s so much debate in Bruce fan spaces about whether the Terry of this song is a man or a woman, but like. “Stranded in the park and forced to confess” could not be a clearer reference to the heyday of police entrapment and cruising. So I’m gonna go out on a limb here, guys, and say that “Backstreets” is another:
1. I’m On Fire