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  1. I like them, I think they're fun. I mean don't be a dick and hold them up DURING songs but intrinsically they are not bad
  2. I think he'd keep it ambiguous in either way - which also makes the song kind of a parallel to Valentine's Day, in some ways
  3. Absolutely had to share this brilliant analysis of "Brothers Under the Bridges '83", which does a fantastic job really eloquently laying out the youthfulness that runs through almost the entire song and how the music and lyrics together accomplish it, for starters... https://estreetshuffle.com/index.php/2019/10/21/roll-of-the-dice-brothers-under-the-bridges-83/ ...but it also makes a GREAT point that, while most sources seem to write off the two similarly-titled Tracks songs as totally unrelated (a fair thing to do when they're very different songs musically that come from different eras, and that many incoming fans - myself included - might get confused and need it unambiguously emphasized that they are not at all the same song)... looking at the very closing lines, they probably are not at all. These two songs are very related, with the end of the song finding the narrator either on the cusp of being drafted, or else reflecting on it all much later in life. The line that keeps sticking with me is: "The autumn wind sends a chill Through the brothers under the bridges..." The song closes on this image: an autumn chill - the end of summer, the end of warmth, a chilling shadow of the looming end of the year, of the approach of winter - and with winter, danger and death. The brothers don't even know what's coming for them or what that chill in their bones indicates. They don't know what's on the horizon. They don't know what horrors and injustice are just around the corner as the metaphorical winter sets in. The effect of leaving all that looming horror implied, but unstated - just as the brothers themselves don't know what's coming - of giving us just a brief glimpse of what's on the horizon, and leaving the rest unspoken, is profound and utterly striking. Like seeing a killer in the background whose prospective victims don't even realize how close he is or what danger they're in. The song ends on an autumn chill, heralding the end; the rest is up to the listener. So many of Bruce's songs (and they are great songs) focus on the horrors of the draft or its aftermath. This track does so subtly and implicitly, by taking the time to focus on what came before and on simply humanizing these poor souls as young, energetic, full of hope and dreams, and utterly relatable. Other songs focus on the destruction; this one centers on what was taken away to begin with. It is an absolutely brilliant song that, until reading this post, I never gave due credit to, having never appreciated those final lines.
  4. don't think i realized the connection between "unsatisfied heart" and "cautious man" til just now, the narrator getting up and running away while his wife sleeps. makes "cautious man" a little more interesting, too, to know he was working on that image for a while. glad bill horton had a happier end to his story than the fugitive did
  5. Thanks! "He stares across the lights of the city and dreams of where he's been" is also REALLY similar to the closing image of "Unsatisfied Heart", one of my top 15 Bruce songs at least - totally different context, but still - so clearly he was kind of playing with that image at the time, and I'm glad some remnant of that song made its way into an official release.
  6. !!! I'm doing a deep dive on some of the Tracks songs I haven't spent much time with yet. A lot of them are some of the expected, lesser Tracks cuts that aren't the best, but a couple gems have slipped through the cracks, too. And so right now I'm listening to "Shut Out the Light", which I know is considered one of the best ones but I just never spent time with for some reason. Clearly this song in general deserves a really attentive, depressing, deep dive, but something that jumped out at me right away is:
  7. I know this isn't the most common opinion, but out of every single Bruce Springsteen song... of which there are very, very, very many great ones, and a shocking amount of excellent ones... my #1 favorite that stands even above all the others is Devil's Arcade. No exaggeration. All due respect to the indisputable greats like Thunder Road, Incident, NYCS, Lost in the Flood, Streets of Philadelphia, Dancing in the Dark, Lost in the Flood, Born to Run, Jungleland, Kitty's Back, Born in the U.S.A., Land of Hope and Dreams, and other personal pet favorites like Candy's Room, Tunnel of Love, Something in the Night, Valentine's Day, Unsatisfied Heart, I Wanna Be With You, Seaside Bar Song... all great in different ways, most of 'em better at something or another than DA... they all hold different, special places in my heart, life, and psychology... but Devil's Arcade is the favorite to end all favorites. Remember the morning...
  8. Hey, I haven't really spent time in the bootleg corner of the fanbase - there's just so much, and it's overwhelming! - but is there any interest in recordings of two early Broadway shows? Specifically 2017-10-10 and 2017-10-11. I recorded audio of them both and thought of sharing it with folks, but I wanted to listen to them myself first and was so Bruuuuuced out after that trip that I never got around to even listening to 'em myself, and now they're on an old hard drive. And I guess I gradually just stopped thinking about them and also figured that, with the set being the same every night and having high-quality releases and the Netflix thing or whatever, no one would be as interested now as they would be if I'd dropped 'em back in October 2017. (I don't know what the quality is offhand, I haven't really listened to these, but my phone was wrapped up inside a dark hoodie so I couldn't get in trouble lol, so it's probably a little muffled, but I mean the acoustics were great, so as long as it's not ungodly, that's better than nothing?) But glancing at this nearly 1,000-page(!) thread, seems people like complete collections haha, so maybe there'd be some demand for it? Not sure how many Broadway bootlegs circulate beyond the official release. So just gauging interest - I assumed by now no one would care, but if folks would be interested in this, then one of these days, I'll try to get around to posting them. Sorry if anything about this comment is wrong or off, I don't know how folks usually share this sort of thing.
  9. So, here's my knowledge of "The Promise": - It had some really dope live performances in the 70s that people love a lot?, but I don't know much about this, and studio bootlegs circulated at some point. - Cut from Darkness for being too personal, etc., and then wasn't touched for 20 years. - Excluded from Tracks, then appeared on 18 Tracks in a solo piano version that I personally was fine with as a new fan but that my understanding is disappointed, to say the least, a ton of longtime fans as it lacked the power of the original. - Eventually appeared in a band arrangement on The Promise. However, I think I've heard - and please, correct me if I'm wrong or elaborate if I'm not! - that even the studio version from The Promise disappointed some longtime fans and is considered less powerful than either some of the studio bootlegs and/or some of the live versions from '76-'78? If this is true, what are the definitive versions of "The Promise" I should be checking out that diehard fans would have considered the "real" versions throughout the 70s-90s? I know there's a lot of history to this song but a lot of it is kind of opaque and behind-the-scenes, so I'd really be interested in anyone's insight on how this song was received, which versions get the most love, and how people feel about the version from The Promise; I know the 18 Tracks version isn't exactly beloved, but what about that 2010 release? Thank you!
  10. Haha, it ultimately ended up at 15,868 actually, once I got a couple more plays synced into my library! Average of over 43/day! It was a great year!
  11. Paolo's Circus Story I love your energy and some day will hopefully use these as a resource and if there were a Paolo's Circus Story action figure I would buy it, I'm glad you still post here like 3 years after my activity has waned
  12. A thousand guitars, a thousand guitars... It's so wild to me that we have a "Radio Nowhere" sequel that takes one of my favorite obscure images from that song and unpacks it at length to such a beautiful end
  13. It's been too long since I've posted on here. I still have pages upon pages of LETTER TO YOU discussion to catch up on. But, from what I have seen, it seems some of the initial response to "House of a Thousand Guitars" was... not negative, certainly, but maybe lukewarm, compared to the rest of the album. Maybe that's not the case anymore, but at any rate, I think this song's purpose—on the album, and in the broader context of Bruce's work—has gone unappreciated, at least by some... and it's one of my immediate favorites off the new album... so, let me take a second here to highlight it. --------------- ~ MY LETTER TO YOU ~ --------------- By now, it's clear that Letter to You is a very meta, self-referential album, reflecting on Bruce's work, his band, his fans, and the connection between the three—both in general and, at times, specifically. As Letter to You centers around his metaphorical letter to us, as written and released over the past half a century, it's full of tie-ins to his previous work; look no further than not only the three 1970s songs dusted off for a 2020s Bruce and a 2020s audience ("Janey Needs A Shooter", "If I Was the Priest", "Song for Orphans"), but, indeed, the direct connection between "If I Was The Priest": "In a buckskin jacket, boots and spurs so fine" and "Ghosts", the very next track on the album: "Old buckskin jacket you always wore Hangs on the back of my bedroom door Boots and the spurs you used to ride Click down the hall but never arrive" While some of the lyrics I immediately took as references may just be coincidences (is the "mystery ride" in "Last Man Standing" a callback to the "mystery prize" of "Walk Like A Man"—or is it a coincidental overlap by a guy who's written hundreds of songs? Or, maybe, is that meant to be ambiguous?), the buckskin jacket, boots, and spurs make it undeniable that at least SOME of these allusions are intentional. And "House of a Thousand Guitars" is, in its entirety, an allusion. While it wasn't even written by Bruce, I've thought for a couple years now that "How Can I Keep From Singing?"—a song that espouses the value of art and human connection in the face of love, loss, God, and tyrants—makes for an effective mission statement for Bruce's entire body of work. And I believe that, to those of us who know our Bruce history, "House of a Thousand Guitars" asks that same rhetorical question. It's a song that cannot be analyzed in a vacuum... so let's set the clock back about thirteen years. (And more, when the need arises.) --------------- -----[A DRONE]----- --------------- The year is 2007... and as it happens, as much as "America needed Bruce", the country and its government did not quite follow the lessons, advice, and philosophies of The Rising. We didn't "get things started"... nothing like the positive community of "Mary's Place", at any rate. We damn sure didn't "ask questions before [we shot]." The seed of betrayal's bitter fruit has proven, as Bruce foretold, hard to swallow. His vision of "a blood moon rising in a sky of black dust" from 5 years earlier has proven painfully, painfully accurate. The result is Magic, an album that I (hot take impending) consider an absolute modern classic and even a top 5 Springsteen album of all time. From the sheer grief of "Devil's Arcade" and "Gypsy Biker", crushing commentary of the latter track, foreboding threats of "You'll Be Comin' Down", "Magic", and "Livin' in the Future", and sheer, fiery, cyclical nihilism and tragedy of "Last to Die", the album basically runs the gamut of what you could want a protest album to say or do. But where many of these songs are very specific in their statements, their scopes, and their images, Bruce, in order to set the stage for the whole thing, opens the album on a song—and an image—that's very general - an expression not of any specific protest or political standpoint, but rather of the broad feeling of alienation that the many gaps between these values and the world around Bruce, in their entirety, have instilled in him. A simple, sad statement of a man who feels lost, confused, and betrayed—not only by his fellow man, but by his community. "I was trying to find my way home But all I heard was a drone..." It's the sad proclamation of someone so jarred, shocked, and sickened by what he sees that he feels alone, adrift, and isolated. Refashioning a classic hype line from shows as a metaphorical, social, and really even rhetorical question, our desperately isolated narrator asks, "Is there anybody alive out there?" "A lost number in a file, searching for a world with some soul..." This is a man searching for an identity, and for a community. A man who doesn't want a drone. He doesn't want the lying, the emptiness, the overload, the loneliness. He wants something that works. Something artistic. Something he can connect to, that lets him know someone else IS alive out there and feels the same way he, "trying to make a connection", feels. To this end, he wants to feel some rhythm—and, should you feel the same, he wants to give you rhythm. The give-and-take between human beings whereby 1 and 1 makes 3. He wants the community and frantic, intermingled confusion of a million different voices speaking in tongues. And he wants it to be a rhythm loud enough, booming enough, to crush and stomp the drone utterly into the dust. He wants pounding drums. And he wants a thousand guitars. ~~~~~~~~~~~ MAY THE TRUTH RING OUT FROM EVERY SMALL TOWN BAR ~~~~~~~~~~~ We find ourselves in similar times today, for obvious reasons. When Bruce sings "The criminal clown has stolen the throne, he steals what he can never own", whatever anyone here may believe, for Bruce, we all know who he means. The blood moon has rose once more. I don't think it's a stretch to say many people were hoping for and/or expecting another "political Bruce album" at some point - hearing something that was to Trump what Magic was to Bush. But clearly, that's not what Bruce is interested in writing anymore. I mean, he's already done The Rising and Magic; past that, what more is there to say? Go back and listen to the title track of "Magic", and if you agreed with it then, you'll agree with it today. Bruce's focus is now more internal, more interpersonal, and more focused directly on art in itself, and so, too, is Letter to You. But "House of a Thousand Guitars" stands as at once an exception to, yet also an affirmation of, this change in focus from the days of Magic. The Rising was an album that posited that maybe, through the power of community, optimism, love, and positive human connection, we as a society could effect a positive change in the world, "pull strength out of that black hole on the horizon", and create something positive out of the negative. When that didn't happen, Magic was an album about that failure, an album about what it looks like, how it affects people, and how that makes them feel. The Rising is the hope; Magic is its deferment. But that is not the end of the story. Not anymore. The hopeless isolation of "Radio Nowhere" may feel, at times, very real, for very good reasons... but if you think Bruce Springsteen's philosophy is one of hopelessness and isolation, you haven't been paying very close attention over the years. Is the man who offers to walk you "All the Way Home", even when "the bar's comin' on closin' time", one for giving up? The songwriter who, even when "waist-deep in that black river of doubt", aspires to "rise and WALK"? Is the man who firmly believes that in love, in life, and at the rock 'n' roll show, one plus one equals THREE—who places such a value upon the unique worth of human beings and even more infinitely unique worth of their ability to influence each other, to form some type of intangible connection and impact on each other that goes beyond what either one could be individually—one to let the intense, hopeless individualism of "Radio Nowhere" go unchecked? ...Well, if he were, he probably wouldn't have made an entire album about how much he loves working with his bandmates and connecting with his fans, now would he? In case I'm being too abstract, let me make it clear: It's a "Radio Nowhere" sequel. And it's one wherein our narrator has found his rhythm. He's found a million different voices. And he's found a thousand guitars. It's not just an over-the-top image; it is, in a song that opens with counting your scars even as a blood moon rises, and doing it with everyone from the churches to the jails (I know I don't need to provide a link for that one), a direct homage to one of the most acclaimed Springsteen songs of the new millennium to date. It's an image not just of music and the love thereof, but a metaphor specifically for the harmony between people that can be provided through any type of human connection but, for our purposes here, especially through the arts, especially music. Again, let me reiterate: "House of a Thousand Guitars" is literally a direct sequel to "Radio Nowhere", wherein the writer has, at long last, FOUND the thousand guitars, the pounding drums, and the million different voices speaking in tongues. And maybe it's just that I love Magic more than a lot of people, maybe it's just that I love this type of self-referential thing, but that, to me, is magical. (...No pun intended.) In this way, while The Rising is a hope that we can, through the love of our community, improve it, and Magic laments and protests our failure to do so... Letter to You posits that we need not end at lamentation, we need not "keep from singing", but rather can still connect with each other to, on a micro level, recapture that love and beauty from the most optimistic tracks off The Rising, use it to improve our own lives and thus the lives of those around us, and, in so doing, still form and enhance a social, interpersonal community of love and empathy, even if the political community and state of the world has us down. Is it idealistic? Sure. But so's friggin' "Thunder Road", and that's the best one of them all, so y'know. In the face of mounting political pressure and diseases in society both literal and metaphorical, where "Radio Nowhere" responds by collapsing inward, "House of a Thousand Guitars" finds the hope and strength "Radio Nowhere" could not, and emphasizes reaching outward to those around you to help comfort, support, and uniquely uplift each other. And that, of course, is as Springsteen as it gets. That is, in various forms, LOHAD, "Valentine's Day", "The Ties That Bind", "Frankie Fell in Love", "Thunder Road", "Dancing in the Dark", "All the Way Home", and heaven knows how many others. But while many of those songs are psychological and individual, "House of a Thousand Guitars" is explicitly community-driven and social. As for forming that connection through music... I mean, again, that's just LOHAD for you. That's shades of even a more purely light-hearted song like "Where the Bands Are" or "Out in the Street", or even an offhand reference to James Young and the Immortal Ones in "County Fair". I'm a sucker for well-crafted music about music, and this song is 100% that. If there's one theme Springsteen has been singing about since album 1, track 1, when "some fresh-sown moonstone was messin' with his frozen zone to remind him of the feelin' of romance", and has especially started emphasizing in the past decade, it's the redemptive, healing power of love and interpersonal connections. And with its distinctly community-driven approach and explicit references to the fanbase listening to the song itself, on a level really only matched by "Land of Hope and Dreams"; with its utterly grand, absolutely beautiful, "Jungleland"-esque imagery of people spilling out across the world into music performances to find and form connections with people who feel the same way they do; and with its meta status as a direct sequel to an incredibly bleak song that suggested the exact opposite, I'd argue that "House of a Thousand Guitars" is one of the best and most beautiful songs in the "one plus one makes three" tradition to date. It's classic Springsteen at its core, romanticizing music itself on a scale arguably not seen since LOHAD and "Jungleland" before that, yet with a melodic sensibility and musical delivery clearly and exclusively of these last two albums. And if putting such a fresh spin on themes so true to the essence of his work isn't an instantly great Springsteen song, then I don't know what is.
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