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Springsteen songs with double meanings


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#1 bigbonesbilly

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 07:51 PM

I can't think of any song apart from Long Walk Home which is on two levels.

I was listening to a couple of Don Henley songs, Boy of Summer and End of the Innocence and realised that Bruce's songs tend to be very straight forward, with no hidden meaning.

any thoughts
stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive

#2 HeroOfVirtue

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 08:00 PM

Stupid question - what's the double meaning to Boys of Summer?

I guess it depends on what you mean by hidden or double meaning. Dumb Pink Cadillac has a literal and metaphorical meaning. They both suck. Posted Image

We know that come tomorrow, none of this will be here

So hold tight to your anger, hold tight to your anger
Hold tight to your anger, and don't fall to your fear


Take your best shot, let me see what you've got, bring on your wrecking ball.

 

My City of Ruins: Bruce Springsteen and the American Reaction to Disaster


#3 BossFan4Life

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 08:10 PM

*Ahem*..."Ramrod" immediately springs to mind... <_< :lol: (That's really more of a double entendre though...) :D

Yeah, most of Bruce's songs tell a simple, direct story. Though SOMETIMES they are vague enough you can read various things into them ("Paradise" off of "The Rising" is one I'm thinking of).
"All my life I fought this fight, the fight that no man can ever win
Every day it just gets harder to live this dream I'm believing in"

"When the promise is broken you go on living, but it steals something from down in your soul
Like when the truth is spoken and it don't make no difference, somethin' in your heart turns cold."

#4 New York City Serenade

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 09:33 PM

*Ahem*..."Ramrod" immediately springs to mind... <_< :lol: (That's really more of a double entendre though...) :D



The Rising... :o nah, never mind... :lol:
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#5 Magnus

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 10:54 PM

Bruce's songs are anything but straightforward.

Not sure I'd say double meaning per se, but Bobby Jean and Backstreets can both be interpreted in fairly different ways. And MCOR obviously started out about AP and came to be associated with 9/11 - with Bruce's blessing. The Rising and No Surrender took on political meanings in 2004 and 2008. The Promise is a pretty complicated song to delve into, but there are certainly multiple takes on what that is all about.

Bruce has said himself that Brilliant Disguise and BTR are songs that have changed their meanings for him over time.

Reason to Believe often gets taken in one of two completely opposite meanings. Whether this is a case of mass interpretation or whether it's a song that actually means different things is a matter of speculation.

Can we accept the idea that a song takes on whatever meaning it takes on to the individual listener? Or does the artist have a monopoly on legitimate meanings of the song?

There's always BUSA and American Skin for the peeps who just listen to the choruses.
AWWN, TWO, THREE, FAAAWWR!

#6 Loo

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 11:59 PM

Bruce's songs are anything but straightforward.

Not sure I'd say double meaning per se, but Bobby Jean and Backstreets can both be interpreted in fairly different ways. And MCOR obviously started out about AP and came to be associated with 9/11 - with Bruce's blessing. The Rising and No Surrender took on political meanings in 2004 and 2008. The Promise is a pretty complicated song to delve into, but there are certainly multiple takes on what that is all about.

Bruce has said himself that Brilliant Disguise and BTR are songs that have changed their meanings for him over time.

Reason to Believe often gets taken in one of two completely opposite meanings. Whether this is a case of mass interpretation or whether it's a song that actually means different things is a matter of speculation.

Can we accept the idea that a song takes on whatever meaning it takes on to the individual listener? Or does the artist have a monopoly on legitimate meanings of the song?

There's always BUSA and American Skin for the peeps who just listen to the choruses.


Completely agree.


Tonight I've got dirt on my hands but I'm building me a new home

#7 Rank Stranger

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 12:34 AM

With a song book that includes literally thousands of songs, there are MANY that are full of double meanings and many not so much. I'll say this, I bought T.O.L when I was 12. Every couple years I'll bring it out. It ALWAYS has little different meanings for me over the past 24 years. For every 10 songs that are straight forward, heart on your sleeve Bruce rockers, there are maybe 2 that are the opposite. That adds up to quite a few songs.

#8 Labhras

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 01:24 AM

livin in the future, some of the GFAP stuff, and i guess we've gotta mention bitusa considering how it was origionally interperated! :D
STILL SEARCHING FOR THE KEY TO THE UNIVERSE IN THE ENGINE OF AN OLD PARKED CAR...

#9 Al M

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 02:34 AM

Blinded By The Light

#10 Kipp

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 03:16 AM

Suggest you read
"Reading The Boss"
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#11 Daskill

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 03:38 AM

I'm with Magnus on this one. Bruce's songs are not straightfoward in any sense of the word. In fact, what I've always admired about Bruce as a songwriter is how he can write about his own life, but somehow make it feel like he's writing about my life too. That's something that's very difficult to do, and you don't find it in straighforward songwriting.

#12 myskyisblue

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 04:58 AM

His meanings change to me.
...just tell me what songs you are playing please
~bob 12.1.10

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#13 HeroOfVirtue

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 05:05 AM

While we're on the subject of multiple interpretations, anybody else read I'm On Fire as the single angriest song he's ever written? (Probably not but I'm wondering if anyone is behind me on that)

We know that come tomorrow, none of this will be here

So hold tight to your anger, hold tight to your anger
Hold tight to your anger, and don't fall to your fear


Take your best shot, let me see what you've got, bring on your wrecking ball.

 

My City of Ruins: Bruce Springsteen and the American Reaction to Disaster


#14 MacBruce

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 07:56 AM

Girls in their summer clothes
Queen of the Supermarket

At first glance, both songs would appear to be about a leering middle aged guy ogling young talent in it's various forms.....in reality, both songs are about coming to terms with lonlieness and the passing of youth. I love how Bruce uses everyday familiarity in both songs to emphasise his message. Both are fantastic songs in my opinion.
"Clarence doesn't leave the E Street Band when he dies, he leaves when we die " : Bruce Springsteen June 21st 2011 at the Big Man's funeral.

#15 BossFan4Life

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 08:23 AM

While we're on the subject of multiple interpretations, anybody else read I'm On Fire as the single angriest song he's ever written? (Probably not but I'm wondering if anyone is behind me on that)


Hmmm...never thought of it as "angry" per se, but very definitely "edgy". A slow burn simmering to a slow boil underneath the surface. It very nearly has a slightly sinister edge to it.


Girls in their summer clothes
Queen of the Supermarket

At first glance, both songs would appear to be about a leering middle aged guy ogling young talent in it's various forms.....in reality, both songs are about coming to terms with loneliness and the passing of youth. I love how Bruce uses everyday familiarity in both songs to emphasise his message. Both are fantastic songs in my opinion.


Yeah from the first time I heard "Girls" (a song I love) I thought it had a beautiful wistful melancholy to it. & "Queen" always seemed to me to be the universal story of a guy longing from afar for the unattainable ideal that he can never have. I never got the "creepy older guy" vibe some have mentioned, just a guy singing about situations that I think are endemic to the human condition.
"All my life I fought this fight, the fight that no man can ever win
Every day it just gets harder to live this dream I'm believing in"

"When the promise is broken you go on living, but it steals something from down in your soul
Like when the truth is spoken and it don't make no difference, somethin' in your heart turns cold."

#16 Daskill

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 03:06 PM

While we're on the subject of multiple interpretations, anybody else read I'm On Fire as the single angriest song he's ever written? (Probably not but I'm wondering if anyone is behind me on that)


"I'm on Fire" always comes across as very sinister to me. Filled with pain.

#17 HeroOfVirtue

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 08:25 PM


While we're on the subject of multiple interpretations, anybody else read I'm On Fire as the single angriest song he's ever written? (Probably not but I'm wondering if anyone is behind me on that)


"I'm on Fire" always comes across as very sinister to me. Filled with pain.

Exactly! I guess I'm not alone, then.

I don't really know how to describe the tone I sense when I hear it, but it's not pleasant at all. So many negative emotions.

We know that come tomorrow, none of this will be here

So hold tight to your anger, hold tight to your anger
Hold tight to your anger, and don't fall to your fear


Take your best shot, let me see what you've got, bring on your wrecking ball.

 

My City of Ruins: Bruce Springsteen and the American Reaction to Disaster


#18 Daskill

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 10:05 PM



While we're on the subject of multiple interpretations, anybody else read I'm On Fire as the single angriest song he's ever written? (Probably not but I'm wondering if anyone is behind me on that)


"I'm on Fire" always comes across as very sinister to me. Filled with pain.

Exactly! I guess I'm not alone, then.

I don't really know how to describe the tone I sense when I hear it, but it's not pleasant at all. So many negative emotions.


Absolutely. It's very dark.

#19 luckytouch

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 12:19 AM

Bruce quote: If your not sure what the song is about, it's about sex.
I'm only here for fun

#20 Ginslinger

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 12:27 AM

Bruce quote: If your not sure what the song is about, it's about sex.



Santa coming is a perfect example of this.

#21 J

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 04:56 PM


While we're on the subject of multiple interpretations, anybody else read I'm On Fire as the single angriest song he's ever written? (Probably not but I'm wondering if anyone is behind me on that)


Hmmm...never thought of it as "angry" per se, but very definitely "edgy". A slow burn simmering to a slow boil underneath the surface. It very nearly has a slightly sinister edge to it.


I think it most definitely has a sinister edge to it. He sounds like a stalker in that song... someone who's incredibly angry about not being able to get to a girl...

Great song.

J

 

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#22 SpringfieldChris

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 09:22 PM

Always thought Cadillac Ranch was deeper than most people give it credit for. Sounds like a great rocker about a car, but is about fear of aging, losing relevance/vitality and ultimately dying.

#23 BossFan4Life

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 06:51 AM

I think it most definitely has a sinister edge to it. He sounds like a stalker in that song... someone who's incredibly angry about not being able to get to a girl...

Great song.


"Tormented" is always the word that came to mind for me. And it is a great song in general, and also because it works on so many levels. You CAN read it as simple & sraightforward OR there can be another layer(s) of meaning there to be interpreted. I used the word "vague" earlier, but I think "open ended" might be a better choice for what I was trying to convey. B)
"All my life I fought this fight, the fight that no man can ever win
Every day it just gets harder to live this dream I'm believing in"

"When the promise is broken you go on living, but it steals something from down in your soul
Like when the truth is spoken and it don't make no difference, somethin' in your heart turns cold."

#24 Bronxs Best Apostle

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 02:27 AM

Dancing in the Dark?

#25 Daskill

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 05:17 PM

Dancing in the Dark?


This is a great example of how Bruce's songwriting can appeal to everyone. This song pretty much describes my life right now, and I don't think there's many people out there who haven't felt like the character in "Dancing In The Dark" at some point in their lives.

In fact I remember having a conversation about this song with my Dad's cousin. She's in her 70s, not particularly a big Springsteen fan, but she says she likes this song. She said she identified in particular the line "I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face". That's a great line, I know exactly that feeling, and I think most of us have had that feeling at some point. So that's just one small example of how two different people of two different ages, from two different places, different lifestyles can find something very relevant to them in the same Springsteen song.