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Songs of Solitude

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Bruce has so many great songs describing the relationships between a guy and his girl (first few albums), a man and his wife (Tunnel of Love and later), two brothers (Highway Patrolman), a son and his father (Independence Day) or a parent and his/her children. He's amazing at writing about relationships, for sure.

However, I think what has always attracted me most about Bruce's songs is this deep sense of solitude that he writes about in a lot of his songs and characters. A lot of his characters end up being alone one way or another and, although in some cases the stories are very sad, it somehow gives me a sense of security and assurance when I am alone and away from my loved ones. For me, they are great examples of overcoming hardships by yourself.

From the man in Darkness On The Edge of Town who vows to climb that hill after losing his wife and his money, to the young Raney Williams who leaves his dying mother to go out West in Black Cowboys, to the Wrestler whose only faith is in his broken bones and bruises, to the Hitman in the The Hitter who just wants to lie down for a minute and who will soon be on his way, to Pete who tries to escape his past by living a solitary life with his Navajo girl, to the Hunter who spends his days skipping through the dark and sharpening his blade. Bruce is just so good at telling these kinds of stories. Anyone else feel the same way?

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Yep..none better than "The New Timer"..

mike

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I beleave what i have heard Bruce refer to as paralysing loneliness, can be found in many wonderful and sometimes heart-wrenching songs

Weather it be due to the haunting sparseness of the musical arrangment

or with lyrics about loss and loneliness/hopelessness, he captures loneliness and solitude like it really feels

...sorry mister,

but not everyone in a Springsteen song is ganna make it all the way to the promised land

When i can't sleep I tend to spend a lot of time with Bruce in the darkness,

and even though the 'Bruce hatin' other half' and the cat are asleep on the other side of the bed

i have given this topic( not so much thought as) great actual feeling

The Nebraska album at 2am !!!

When your the only one awake and all is dark and still, is something else !!!

So even though those radio relay towers are leading him to his baby?

the guy in state trooper is all alone out there (and he's desperate ) Please Mr State Trooper dont stop me !!

Maybe you got a kid maybe you got a pretty wife, the only thing that I got's been botherin' me my whole life

Follow that up with a little darkness something in the night

If you have never listened to this at 2am alone and in the dark you have to do this !!

Well you're born with nothing, and better off that way
Soon as you've got something they send someone to try and take it away........
.........Woah nothing is forgotten or forgiven, when it's your last time around, hm
And I got stuff running 'round my head that I just can't live down.....

.......When we found the things we loved, they were crushed and dying in the dirt

Is I'm on fire really about the desire for a girl with Cybil Shepard like legs?

or is it about staring at the ceiling at 2am wondering what the hell life is all about and why does it hurt so much ?

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife
baby edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley
through the middle of my soul ......

At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
and a freight train running through the
middle of my head

What about the forced solitude of grief in the heart breaking Your missing

Pictures on the nightstand, TV's on in the den
Your house is waiting, your house is waiting
For you to walk in, for you to walk in
But you're missing, you're missing
You're missing when I shut out the lights
You're missing when I close my eyes
You're missing when I see the sun rise
You're missing

also in a similar vein down in the hole from the new album

the sound during the intro is very evocitive of a big empty space

Sun comes every morning but it ain't no friend
I get dressed and I go back again
The rain it keeps on falling on twisted bones and dirt
I'm buried to my heart here in this hurt
Fire keeps on burning, you're waiting in the cold
Down in the hole

The promise (my 3rd fav song ever ever)

So while all his potentially dead-beat mates, Johnny, Billy and Terry carry on with their lives, he has fucked his own life over and is suffering in Darlington

All my life, I fought that fight
The fight that you can't win
Every day it just gets harder to live
The dream you're believing in...

.........The promise is broken, you go on living
It steals something from down in your soul
When the truth is spoken, it don't make no difference
Something in your heart goes cold....

.......The promise was broken, I was far away from home
Sleeping in the back seat of a borrowed car

even the tires rushing by in the rain evoke loneliness

highway 29

a song about sex and a bank robbery ?

I dont think so

The winter sun shot through the black trees
I told myself it was all something in her
But as we drove I knew it was something in me

Something that'd been comin' for a long long time
And something that was here with me now
On Highway 29

The road was filled with broken glass and gasoline
She wasn't sayin' nothin', it was just a dream
The wind come silent through the windshield
All I could see was snow, sky and pines
I closed my eyes and I was runnin'
I was runnin' then I was flyin'

i would be tempted to say the album GOTJ is a very lonely album

Dry lightening

aint nothing more solitude than lost love

I threw my robe on in the morning
Watched the ring on the stove turn red
Stared hypnotized into a cup of coffee
Pulled on my boots and made the bed
Screen door hangin' off its hinges
Kept bangin' me awake all night
As I look out the window
The only thing in sight
Is dry lightning on the horizon line
Just dry lightning and you on my mind.....

......Well the piss yellow sun
Comes bringin' up the day
She said "Ain't nobody can give nobody
What they really need anyway.

what about The river -

Now I just act like I don't remember, Mary acts like she don't care......
........Now those memories come back to haunt me, they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse
That sends me down to the river, though I know the river is dry

or how about downboud train

Last night I heard your voice
You were crying, crying, you were so alone
You said your love had never died
You were waiting for me at home
Put on my jacket, I ran through the woods
I ran till I thought my chest would explode
There in the clearing, beyond the highway
In the moonlight, our wedding house shone
I rushed through the yard, I burst through the front door
My head pounding hard, up the stairs I climbed
The room was dark, our bed was empty
Then I heard that long whistle whine
And I dropped to my knees, hung my head and cried

these are the kind of things the narrator wouldn't be shearing with his buddies

-he'd be feelings these things all alone in solitude

it also reminds me of my fathers house, except instead of a girl, he is now without his dad

She said "I'm sorry son, but no one by that name lives here anymore"
My father's house shines hard and bright it stands like a beacon calling me in the night
Calling and calling, so cold and alone
Shining 'cross this dark highway where our sins lie unatoned

and speaking of fathers the girl from racing in the street

She sits on the porch of her daddy's house
But all her pretty dreams are torn
She stares off alone into the night
With the eyes of one who hates for just being born

year maybe things are ganna turn out ok, but for now she has worry lines and cries herself to sleep while he's off being a boy racer

and WOAD isnt all sweetness and light

the last carnival

the solitude of losing a blood brother (miss you Danny )

Moon rise, moon rise, the light that was in your eyes is gone away.
Daybreak, daybreak, the thing in you that made me ache has gone to stay
We'll be riding the train without you tonight
The train that keeps on moving....

....They empty out the fairgrounds. :(

life itself -one can be in a very long term relationship and still feel alone (its the wind in the the black elms if you ask me )

Why do the things that we treasure most slip away in time
Till to the music we grow deaf and to God's beauty blind
Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart
Till we fall away in our own darkness, stranger to our own hearts

roulette -wow scary and alone and worried for one's family

-plus angry and pissed off !

now that's great R&R !!!!

Down by the river that talks
The night speaks in searchlights
And shortwave radios squawk
The police patrol the streets
But I've left behind the man I used to be
Everything he believed and all that belonged to me
I tried to find my way out to somewhere where I thought it'd be safe
They stopped me at the roadblock they put up on the interstate
They put me in detention but I broke loose and then I ran
They said they want to ask me a few questions but I think they had other plans
Now I don't know who to trust and I don't know what I can believe
They say they want to help me but with the stuff they keep on sayin'
I think those guys just wanna keep on playin'

poor old Catherine in carwash stuck in a crap job

-you can be surrounded by people all day and still feel lonely and issolated by your situation

Well I work down at the car wash
For a dollar and a dime
And mister, I hate my boss
It's at the car wash I'm doing my time
Pick up my water bottle and my towel, sir
And I take 'em one by one
From Mercedes to VW's
I do 'em all and I don't favor none

loose change - not really about picking a girl up in a bar at all -but maybe about not wanting to be alone
Now I'm sittin' at a red light I feel somethin' tickin' way down
The night's moving like a slow train crawling through this shithole town
Got my bags packed in the back and I'm tryin' to get going again
But red just goes to green and green goes red and then
Then all I hear's the clock on the dash tick-tocking
Loose change in my pocket

my persona fav are the characters in its the little things that count

(why is this not on an album !!!) using sex and the physical connection between two people to ease loneliness at least for the here and now -to make the pain of solitude disapair just for a moment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ra9H1ERHtxE‎

shut out the light

Solitude from isolation from being unable to connect with loved ones due to truma?

He felt her lying next to him, the clock said 4:00 am
He was staring at the ceiling
He couldn't move his hands

I always think Iceman sounds particulary lonely

Well it don't take no nerve when you got nothing to guard
I got tombstones in my eyes and I'm running real hard
My baby was a lover and the world just blew her away

Once they tried to steal my heart, beat it right outta my head
But baby they didn't know that I was born dead
I am the iceman, fighting for the right to live

maybe the loneliest song of all for me with some wonderful Danny moments on the old hamond b3

Stolen car

And I'm driving a stolen car
On a pitch black night
And I'm telling myself I'm gonna be alright
But I ride by night and I travel in fear
That in this darkness I will disappear

...............i could go on and on but i better leave some for someone else

...now where is the gin and a box of tissues ......? ;)

No ! An antidote for all this loneliness? :D

-well ok chocolate might do the trick :P

But rather, the all inclusive, all excepting LOHAD

..... aint nothing even remotely lonely on this train :wub:

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Thank you, Daisey. A wonderful post.

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Thank you, Daisey. A wonderful post.

your very welcome SoFastSoShiny (so sharp - i cant write say your name without singing it) :D

ive been listening to sandy all day long :P

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Bruce has so many great songs describing the relationships between a guy and his girl (first few albums), a man and his wife (Tunnel of Love and later), two brothers (Highway Patrolman), a son and his father (Independence Day) or a parent and his/her children. He's amazing at writing about relationships, for sure.

However, I think what has always attracted me most about Bruce's songs is this deep sense of solitude that he writes about in a lot of his songs and characters. A lot of his characters end up being alone one way or another and, although in some cases the stories are very sad, it somehow gives me a sense of security and assurance when I am alone and away from my loved ones. For me, they are great examples of overcoming hardships by yourself.

From the man in Darkness On The Edge of Town who vows to climb that hill after losing his wife and his money, to the young Raney Williams who leaves his dying mother to go out West in Black Cowboys, to the Wrestler whose only faith is in his broken bones and bruises, to the Hitman in the The Hitter who just wants to lie down for a minute and who will soon be on his way, to Pete who tries to escape his past by living a solitary life with his Navajo girl, to the Hunter who spends his days skipping through the dark and sharpening his blade. Bruce is just so good at telling these kinds of stories. Anyone else feel the same way?

Nice, thanks. Yes, solitute - and also isolation. Sometimes this is what makes the love songs, and the friendship songs, so poignant; because they are so often still about characters battling a deeper isolation. 'I'm driving a stolen car...'

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Beautiful post, Daisey, thanks. Isn't it fascinating how much these songs are a part of our daily lives here at the Lake? And still it's good to be reminded from time to time about how brilliant those lyrics are. In reference to another recent post: definitely in a league of his own. Nobody does these things better. Nobody.

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Yep..none better than "The New Timer"..

mike

What a great song.

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Sometimes its just you, the music, and the wind rustling through the trees.

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Sometimes its just you, the music, and the wind rustling through the trees.

also particulary enjoyable (songs of solitude and loneliness can be enjoyable ) when out walking battling the elements in a winter storm -DOTEOT is great fun in a howling freezing cold southerly

or walking to work alone in the dark and cold of a still winters morning -

also when walking to work from the railway station in 'shitsville' - in the predawn

- have Nebraska up so loud its just me and Bruce, but the the picture is of the shit hole town i work in - real life becomes like the video in Atlantic city (not that they have anything nearly as excitting as a casino in shitsville )

I love doing acoustic GOTJ in the train in the morning leaving Porirua (note Porirua is not shitsville) -

when the tide is way out and you can see the odd supermarket trolley and old car tire sticking out of the mud and the graffitti under the motorway off ramp

and the scenery is flashing past and i can see my own refelection in the train window and its only just getting light

i always imangine Ton Joad or his ghosts out there somewhere

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As usual Daisey says it all. These are two more, among those that I love:

Well I woke last night to the sound of rain
The wind rustling branches against the window pane
I searched the pillow beside me for the tears we cried
Baby they were gone, gone over the rise

I searched for something to explain
In the whispering rain, the trembling leaves
Tell me baby where did you go
You were here just a moment ago

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GOTJ is a great album but badly needs remixing/remastering to bring the levels up.

Very, very underrated imo.

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Fantastic main post Daisey......

There is nothing like listening to Bruce at night in the dark

Was the way i got into him.....

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GOTJ is a great album but badly needs remixing/remastering to bring the levels up.

Very, very underrated imo.

It's one of his true masterpieces.

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Good OP! I like you included Hunter Of Invisible Game as a solitude song. I think why there is post-apocalyptic imagery is to represent how the character feels lost and insignificant to the world. What a great line "These days I spend my time skipping through the dark" it is definitely in my top 3 songs from High Hopes.

Nice to see you posting again Daisey! I think you nearly went through every Bruce solitude songs. ;)

Also Rotundo great choice with Over The Rise! I really love that song and most of Disc 4.

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So many good songs listed in this thread. Can't believe I didn't think of Stolen Car. Thanks for contributing guys!

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Good OP! I like you included Hunter Of Invisible Game as a solitude song. I think why there is post-apocalyptic imagery is to represent how the character feels lost and insignificant to the world. What a great line "These days I spend my time skipping through the dark" it is definitely in my top 3 songs from High Hopes.

Nice to see you posting again Daisey! I think you nearly went through every Bruce solitude songs. ;)

Also Rotundo great choice with Over The Rise! I really love that song and most of Disc 4.

Hunter does sound very post-apocalyptic - the precussion or what ever that makes that very industrial sound

i love where his voice is distorted and then comes normal right in the middle of a line

kind of like during the opening credits of the promise doco where everything is dulled down in B&W and then someone wipes the camera lens

and Rontundo's missing is awsome

i think me and Rontundo went to the same school or hung out with the same people in the '90's or somethink ;)

-but as much as i adore missing, im always thinking about the lost hip-hop record when i hear it :D

And seebab stolen car is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good !!

I think it ihas always been my very fav track off the river

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Wonderful topic.

After the massive worldwide event that was Born in the USA I pretty much got into Bruce's

back catalogue, locked myself in my room with my headphones and just listened to Bruce.

That will live with me until the day I die, I'll never forget the impact those six record pre Born in the USA

records had on me. Laced with solitude from start to finish.

None more so than 'Stolen Car', haunting, scary & wonderful.

Thanks for the thread

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GOTJ is a great album but badly needs remixing/remastering to bring the levels up.

Very, very underrated imo.

It's one of his true masterpieces.

Yes!

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Though it might just be the story of a man having doubts about his marriage whenever I hear Cautious Man I imagine someone completely isolated and helpless. A tragic figure for sure, lost in his thoughts and fears.

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Wow great posts....I can't help but think that the greatness of Bruce's solitude songs lies in the fact that Bruce comes in to your solitude and lets you come into his. He's a 64yr old man from the East Coast with a thing for cars. I'm a 56yr old woman who doesn't know how to drive from the midwest. I may not have any of the cares/worries of his characters but Bruce gives me everything I need to be in the same place. To come out of that place comforted, still alive, energized or p***ed as hell and ready to do something about it. He is a great writer.

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Wow great posts....I can't help but think that the greatness of Bruce's solitude songs lies in the fact that Bruce comes in to your solitude and lets you come into his. He's a 64yr old man from the East Coast with a thing for cars. I'm a 56yr old woman who doesn't know how to drive from the midwest. I may not have any of the cares/worries of his characters but Bruce gives me everything I need to be in the same place. To come out of that place comforted, still alive, energized or p***ed as hell and ready to do something about it. He is a great writer.

Well said Gracie.

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I like how the guy in Lucky Man accepts and embraces his solitary fate. It seems the one lone wolf wanderer song Bruce has in which the guy isn't longing for someone or someplace.

"I make my livin' with my hands behind the wheel of this car."

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Though it might just be the story of a man having doubts about his marriage whenever I hear Cautious Man I imagine someone completely isolated and helpless. A tragic figure for sure, lost in his thoughts and fears.

Another great song showing loneliness. He has his wife but he still lives in this great fear that he is completely alone. One of my favourites off Tunnel of Love. Nice one!

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