Bruce Springsteen Darkness on The Edge of Town Bookshelf

Liam: Books Outside the Box

I’m a massive Springsteen fan (or as massive as I can be, having come into the cult of the Boss a scant six years ago). STREETS OF FIRE combines photos and lyrics from the era in which Bruce crafted Darkness On The Edge Of Town, the masterwork followup to his flaming comet of classic rock that was 1975’s Born To Run. Debatably Bruce’s best album, DOTEOT represented a lyrical expansion beyond the boardwalks and streets of Asbury Park and toward the vast, Americana-as-songcraft that’s come to define Bruce as icon and rockstar.

I have an empty coffee table that is just crying out for books that are both classy and germane to my interests. I’d much rather have the Boss parked there than a book of impressionist nudes.

Coming on the heels of last year’s DOTEOT 2-disc reissue and an accompanying documentary about the album’s creation, and Bruce’s latest album Wrecking Ball (also a must-have), the flow of high-quality Springsteen material shows no sign of stopping.

With this, I thought it might be worth giving you all a list of my favorite lyrics off this fine, fine album. And because it’s impossible to just casually listen to The Boss (no, you have to experience him as a sort of powerful cocktail of teenage urgency, heavy depression, and overwhelming exhilaration), I’ve included what I imagine are the best pairings, experience-wise. Enjoy!

1) “Badlands” – For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside
That it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive
I wanna find one face that ain’t looking through me
I wanna find one place, I wanna spit in the face of these BADLANDS

Self-affirmation with a solid layer of anger. Best repeated under one’s breath, mantra-like, after a fifth botched job interview.

2) “Something In The Night” – When we found the things we loved,
They were crushed and dying in the dirt.
We tried to pick up the pieces,
And get away without getting hurt,
But they caught us at the state line,
And burned our cars in one last fight,
And left us running burned and blind,
Chasing something in the night

Stark, nearly a cappella dissolution and emotional bleakness. Best written as a PS in a Dear John/Jane letter/email/text/tweet.

3) “The Promised Land” – Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted

Unflinching honesty, with rich and surprising notes of cynicism and saxophone. Write this on your ceiling above your bed after coming back from your college graduation.

4) “Prove It All Night” – Prove it all night, prove it all night girl and call the bluff,
prove it all night, prove it all night
and girl, I prove it all night for your love

Swagger and earnestness combine appealingly. Best on the sixth or seventh date, when it looks like the spark is for real.

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