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Tom-Joad

Gave it a name

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I was listening to this beautiful song and I can't, for my life, figure out what he means with that chorus. After all three verses, what name is who giving what? Thoughts?

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I've always heard it as a justification for one's actions.  Even bad ones.

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19 minutes ago, Promise61 said:

I've always heard it as a justification for one's actions.  Even bad ones.

I agree with that.

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Or at least labeling it as something you can live with. Kind of like why people are out placed these days in stead of being fired or calling an act of war an intervention.

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Accept what's been done - hopefully learn from it and move on. But it's always there.(Hence giving it a name - acknowledging it)

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55 minutes ago, SoulBoogieAlex said:

Or at least labeling it as something you can live with. Kind of like why people are out placed these days in stead of being fired or calling an act of war an intervention.

This is what I think, too. Because he's very specific about giving it a name. 

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I think it's about making something solid and definable. By naming a lion a lion, you and I both know what is meant. I think the song is about the beginning of understanding through consciously reflecting. 

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It was used in the very first scene of the excellent mini-series "Show me a hero" and it does seem to fit the "coming to terms with something bad I've done" theme.

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Just now, Tom-Joad said:

It was used in the very first scene of the excellent mini-series "Show me a hero" and it does seem to fit the "coming to terms with something bad I've done" theme.

I think so. It shares part of its lyric with Big Muddy, another song about these realisations. The shared line comes from Paris Trout a novel and also a film, that touches on similar themes. 

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54 minutes ago, Tom-Joad said:

It was used in the very first scene of the excellent mini-series "Show me a hero" and it does seem to fit the "coming to terms with something bad I've done" theme.

Forgot all about the song being used in the series.  That was a "whoa good pick" moment for me when I heard it.  Love when folks responsible for a show's/movie select more obscure shit.  

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5 hours ago, Tom-Joad said:

I was listening to this beautiful song and I can't, for my life, figure out what he means with that chorus. After all three verses, what name is who giving what? Thoughts?

 

1 hour ago, losing_kind said:

Original Sin...

I posted this exact same question around these parts several years ago, and the general response from many was that the narrator is giving the name 'sin' to his actions.

Suddenly all made perfect sense to me

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great song, one of my favorites from the 2nd half of the Tracks box.  I do agree, always thought the unnamed word was "sin"

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4 hours ago, SoulBoogieAlex said:

Or at least labeling it as something you can live with. Kind of like why people are out placed these days in stead of being fired or calling an act of war an intervention.

that's very deep

1 hour ago, losing_kind said:

Original Sin...

completely off topic but I love your user nane

I love those Nebraska outtakes 

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5 hours ago, Promise61 said:

I've always heard it as a justification for one's actions.  Even bad ones.

I have no doubt.

The bloke in the song "hit her once hit her twice" 

The same bloke couldn't stand the shame, so he " gave it a name"

The bloke was a piss head who hit his wife, he tried to justify what he did, like most wife beaters or  other criminals so..

the name he gave was probably " her fault " 

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I am extremely late to this thread, but woke up this morning remembering I'd been meaning to talk about this for a while, so searched and found others had also talked about it. I wanted to say that if any of you have ever seen the movie "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead", then the phrase "give it a name" will be very familiar to you. Characters say it all the time, and here's some discussion of it:

"One of the expressions peculiar to the movie is “Give it a name,” which betokens affirmation and endorsement. It means “You got that shit right,” “Tell it like it is,” or “Word.” It seconds the motion on a thing that needed to be said [...]

Actually, the phrase itself has been around for quite a while, although with a different and more direct meaning. In the Charles Dickens novel Hard Times, published in 1854, a bartender asks a customer what he’ll have. Will it be sherry? “Give it a name,” he says. In the short story “Ulysses and the Dogman” by O. Henry, we find these lines:

“S-h-h-h!” said the dogman, signaling the waiter; “give it a name.”
“Whiskey,” said Jim.
“Make it two,” said the dogman.

The term is also used the same way, coincidentally, in the great Ulysses of James Joyce.

“Arrah, give over your bloody codding, Joe,” says I, “I’ve a thirst on me I wouldn’t sell for half a crown.”
“Give it a name, citizen,” says Joe.
“Wine of the country,” says he.

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5 hours ago, harley123 said:

personally I always thought it was jealousy

That was my thoughts also

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On 3/13/2019 at 1:11 AM, EvanMorris said:

I am extremely late to this thread, but woke up this morning remembering I'd been meaning to talk about this for a while, so searched and found others had also talked about it. I wanted to say that if any of you have ever seen the movie "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead", then the phrase "give it a name" will be very familiar to you. Characters say it all the time, and here's some discussion of it:

"One of the expressions peculiar to the movie is “Give it a name,” which betokens affirmation and endorsement. It means “You got that shit right,” “Tell it like it is,” or “Word.” It seconds the motion on a thing that needed to be said [...]

Actually, the phrase itself has been around for quite a while, although with a different and more direct meaning. In the Charles Dickens novel Hard Times, published in 1854, a bartender asks a customer what he’ll have. Will it be sherry? “Give it a name,” he says. In the short story “Ulysses and the Dogman” by O. Henry, we find these lines:

“S-h-h-h!” said the dogman, signaling the waiter; “give it a name.”
“Whiskey,” said Jim.
“Make it two,” said the dogman.

The term is also used the same way, coincidentally, in the great Ulysses of James Joyce.

“Arrah, give over your bloody codding, Joe,” says I, “I’ve a thirst on me I wouldn’t sell for half a crown.”
“Give it a name, citizen,” says Joe.
“Wine of the country,” says he.

Yes.  I always thought it was about defining something; as in getting your thoughts clear enough to define a feeling or action. 

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In recent years I would class this as one of my favourite Springsteen songs. One I often put on mixed-artist playlists for non-bruce fans.

My interpretation, as above, is that is it about compartmentalising life and action in order to excuse them. i say excuse because the song clearly has an abusive undertone.

It is  a hugely self aware and insightful song. As always, Springsteen has the ability to distil the extremely complex with a simple and relateable messages.

 

 

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Isnt 'gave it a name' frequently repeated in the film "Things to Do In Denver When You're Dead"?

Agree - great track. Should be played live

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1 hour ago, USAman said:

Isnt 'gave it a name' frequently repeated in the film "Things to Do In Denver When You're Dead"?

Agree - great track. Should be played live

This would kill live. A long B3 heavy intro that would crescendo right into the loneliness of thay simple guitar riff and then keyboards again right where Bruce sings “fields”. 

Is Bruce looking for a musical director?

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While this is still in the spotlight: does anyone have any lowdown info on the provenance of this track? I've checked Brucebase and it just says "Tracks 1998" (and obviously, sadly, zero live performances). Was this song in fact recorded for Tracks? When was it written? Was it ever intended to be on an album? Is is a standalone moment, unconnected to anything else? What's the story?

EDIT: Never mind, found the answer by poking around even more into the Recording Sessions area of Brucebase. Here's the answer:

GAVE IT A NAME 2:47 TRACKS

Note: Recorded at Thrill Hill East (Bruce’s NJ home studio) on August 24, 1998. Produced by Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin. Bruce handles vocals all instruments except for keyboards (Roy Bittan). "Gave It A Name" was initially recorded between December 1990 and January 1991, but Bruce was unable to locate the master tapes while working on the Tracks box set so the decision was made to re-record the song. Springsteen told Melinda Newman in an interview with Billboard published in November 1998, "What happened is I cut the original at the time I cut these other songs [Bruce is referring to songs like "Over The Rise", "When The Lights Go Out", "Loose Change" etc, which were all recorded around the December 1990-January 1991 period], but we couldn't find the master tape of it, and I really liked the song. So Roy [Bittan] came out, and we re-cut it in August."

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