Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Saturday Morning Song Gets Bossy on Sunday

Sorry I didn’t post this on Saturday when it would have made more sense. I was in Orlando until late last night helping my friend pick out apartment décor because he’s basically enlisted me as a pro-bono interior designer, which is wonderful--I mean, what’s more awesome than being bossy with other people’s money?

Believe it or not, all I personally picked up was an arrow bracelet, some really expensive tea that I pressure-purchased based entirely on the pleasant scent that was wafted my way when they opened the canister (so I guess I just bought potpourri), subsequent buyer’s remorse over the tea, and then a new-found desire to be a personal shopper after I spied the Anna Wintour-esque office of one at Neiman Marcus. Again, what would be more awesome than being bossy with other people's money?

And without thinking of a clever way to transition from Neiman Marcus and expensive tea to Bruce Springsteen and the middle-class America he sings for, “Thunder Road” is my favorite Boss song ever.

(BOSS. There's the transition.)

Bruce was so dreamy.
“The screen door slams/Mary’s dress sways/like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays”--perfect.When I hear this song, I see everything he’s singing. It’s a clear montage of beautifully ordinary pictures painted so that everyone listening can add themselves to the reel. I suppose most Springsteen songs are that way, but I've just been inexplicably drawn to this one since I was young. I used to play it over and over while I was driving the hour to and from school my last year in college, and because of this, I can't hear "Thunder Road" without seeing rolled-down windows or the UCF exit sign.

Unlike other musicians who I have distinct memories of discovering, I feel like I just innately knew about Bruce Springsteen. It’s the same way I feel about Hank Williams Jr. When I was little, most afternoons were spent outside on a blanket under the clothesline in our old backyard. My mom would lay out and I would read little books or color or just stare at the clothes swaying, but the constant was that there would always be a Bruce Springsteen cassette tape in the stereo. If there were times when someone else drifted through the speakers, I don’t remember it that way. It’s one of those things that whenever I think back to that moment, it’s always Bruce Springsteen. The same way it’s always Hank Williams Jr. playing in my Dad’s trucks.

Needless to say, there is a nostalgia tangled with Bruce Springsteen songs and I don’t think I’m alone on this. Even “Thunder Road” is like a hazy recollection of youth. So today I urge you to be inspired by the ordinary and revel a little in the past. Go through an old yearbook, listen to an album you haven't listened to in years--you’d be surprised at how a melody can awaken reveries so vivid, it’s like you’re right there again.

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