Later in his career, “Scooter” (big name, that one) wrote some unannounced pearls. If you haven’t heard any of these yet, I envy you. Here’s the last of my “best of the least” selections of Bruce Springsteen songs.
1) Youngtown. This is a country-flavored gem layered with violin and pedal steel guitar. It’s about the singer and the blast furnace she works at, nicknamed Jenny. No, that’s not a typo. Blast furnaces in steel mills are often given personal nicknames. The Youngstown Steel Mill furnace is actually called The Jeannette Blast Furnace. It wasn’t until he let the “1%” run into full force in recent years’ blockbuster “Wrecking Ball” that Springsteen so painfully addressed the wealth disparity in this country, contrasting the singer with the men at the top. who hired him and his ancestors. . He and his family worked the mill and fought our wars for generations, but the owners closed the mill in 1977, doing “what Hitler couldn’t do.” Now he’s sinking and all he can say to the bigwigs who’ve ruined his life is “I made you rich enough once, rich enough to forget my name.” Sad. Beautifull. Haunting. True.
2) Worlds apart. “The Rising” brought Boss back as gangbusters, meeting up with the E Streeters and manning a rock-laden warhead in the shadow of the 9/11 attacks. In the wake of the title track, “Waiting on a Sunny Day” and “Lonesome Day,” you could be forgiven if you didn’t notice this song halfway through the album. Next time check it out and see if it doesn’t send you to that other dimension. It kicks off with an exquisitely crafted percussion track flavored with (of all things) Middle Eastern instruments. Then the guitars come crashing in. The lyrics are a sincere call to a lover from another land so that one day a bridge can be built between them so that they are not “worlds apart”. (Sample lyrics: “We’ll let blood build a bridge over star-covered mountains. I’ll meet you on the ridge between these worlds apart.”)
3) Magic. Thank you, sir, for writing this song. It’s a beautiful, smooth melody rich with Wurlitzer electric piano and a dreamy musical arrangement. But they are the lyrics we should be thankful for. In October 2004, journalist Ron Suskind, writing in the New York Times Magazine, cited an “unidentified” source (later attributed to Karl Rove) as saying that journalists like Suskind were “in what we call the reality-based community… That’s not the way the world really works anymore. Now we are an empire, and when we act, we create our own reality.” That’s what made Springsteen angry enough to write “Magic.” He told Rolling Stone that the song was about how we live in an age where lies and truth can resemble each other. He despised the stupidity and arrogance of that date. So he wrote this song about illusions. Thanks again.