How does someone raised in Texas who spends most of their adult life in North Carolina end up a Bruce Springsteen fan?
Well, those seven years living in New Jersey didn’t hurt. After all, many people in that place still want “Born To Run” to be the official state song.
(And doesn’t that say everything you need to know about New Jersey’s self-esteem? Born To Run’s signature line says, “it’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap, we’ve got to get out while we’re young!” )
Then there was the time that Julie and I won a ticket lottery and so saw a show from his “Tunnel Of Love” tour from the front row, center seats. An amazing four hour show ensued.
So regardless of geography, I’m a fan — drawn to the onstage passion, the musical ingenuity and the uncanny wordsmithing of New Jersey’s favorite son. Here are my top five Bruce Springsteen songs:
5. Livin’ Proof. When Springsteen sings about becoming a father, he sure gets it right: “searching for a little bit of God’s mercy, I found livin’ proof.”
4. The Rising. An elegiac response to 9.11.01, complete with gospel choir in the back. One of these days, we’ll do this one in church.
3. Radio Nowhere. Springsteen meets 867-5309 and this thoroughly modern tune is the result.
2. Badlands. He’s right: it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.
1. Brilliant Disguise. The disguise is not the only thing that’s brilliant in this one — so is the lyrical twist at the song’s end. A truly haunting depiction of the ambiguities that characterize almost any relationship.
So there it is. A Springsteen favorites list without either of the “Borns” — To Run or In The USA. Both great tracks, to be sure, but just a little too . . . popular.