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"Got the Guts to Budge" -- The case for "Iceman" as one of Bruce's most powerful, beautiful songs ever


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Just listened to the song and question could be, is it really a song? Is it not more a demo? Bruce trying out some lyrics and playing a piano tune before the band would add some more music? (This also maybe a reason Bruce had forgotten about the song, or demo, in 1998).

But then Bruce, or Jon Landau, or both, realised the lyrics are pathetic, ridiculous, pretentious and very bad lyrics and the music is unremarkable and dull and decided to bury the song (or demo) in the vault.

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Love the song - simply something different that did not fit the albums being produced yet something that still holds its own today. Great to reference it to mental health  @ crushonoutlawpete - never thought of it like that but given Bruce's struggle with depression I see it entirely in this song.

The inclusion in the Paris gig was so unexpected and yet so welcomed by those who were there who had been requesting on that tour.

A great reason to go back and dig out Tracks, so many gems in there and as with opinions on here - songs we either like or don't  - and that is a good thing!:mellow:

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14 hours ago, Lampi said:

But then Bruce, or Jon Landau, or both, realised the lyrics are pathetic, ridiculous, pretentious and very bad lyrics and the music is unremarkable and dull and decided to bury the song (or demo) in the vault.

AND THEY ALSO THOUGHT "REAL MAN" WAS WORTHY OF A STUDIO ALBUM RELEASE!!

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3 hours ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

AND THEY ALSO THOUGHT "REAL MAN" WAS WORTHY OF A STUDIO ALBUM RELEASE!!

Big come back poll opportunity, don't you think?

Iceman vs Real man? :)

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47 minutes ago, Silvia said:

Big come back poll opportunity, don't you think?

Iceman vs Real man? :)

It's a nice thought, but after the last poll comeback died a horrible death, it's never again with polls :lol:

"You either stop doing polls with people wanting more, or overdo them to the point that it becomes really tedious" - Paolo's Circus Story, September 2019.

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5 hours ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

AND THEY ALSO THOUGHT "REAL MAN" WAS WORTHY OF A STUDIO ALBUM RELEASE!!

That is because they by mistake put the version, well they put the version that is on the HT album, on the HT album and not the secreet unheard acoustic piano version of Real Man without keyboard intro and with alternatief lyrics.

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5 hours ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

AND THEY ALSO THOUGHT "REAL MAN" WAS WORTHY OF A STUDIO ALBUM RELEASE!!

Well, to be honest, “Real Man” made the final cut on a virtual “double album” which was considered the lowest point of Bruce’s writing career at the time. Not exactly DOTEOT.

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9 minutes ago, Frank said:

Well, to be honest, “Real Man” made the final cut on a virtual “double album” which was considered the lowest point of Bruce’s writing career at the time.

I’ve heard that before.  Lots of gems on both albums IMO, so I personally disagree with that assessment.   

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28 minutes ago, rosiejaneymary said:

I’ve heard that before.  Lots of gems on both albums IMO, so I personally disagree with that assessment.   

Do you really believe that in ‘92 HT and LT were considered better than Bruce’s previous albums? 

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13 minutes ago, Frank said:

Do you really believe that in ‘92 HT and LT were considered better than Bruce’s previous albums? 

I honestly don’t compare albums to other albums, as they are ALL so very different from one another, IMO. 

Most of the songs on both LT and HT I absolutely adore, and many are among my all time favorites.  

Only a few I could take or leave; and only one (IWIWB... but that’s my personal issue.  I completely know it’s a metaphor, but the sentiment really, really bothers me) to which I cannot listen.  

Bottom line is I don’t consider the writing on either album at all ‘weak.’  (Yes, I even like Pony Boy.  I think it’s very sweet.)

I know others disagree, and of course everyone is entitled to their opinion.  

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3 minutes ago, rosiejaneymary said:

I honestly don’t compare albums to other albums, as they are ALL so very different from one another, IMO. 

Most of the songs on both LT and HT I absolutely adore, and many are among my all time favorites.  

Only a few I could take or leave; and only one (IWIWB... but that’s my personal issue.  I completely know it’s a metaphor, but the sentiment really, really bothers me) to which I cannot listen.  

Bottom line is I don’t consider the writing on either album at all ‘weak.’  (Yes, I even like Pony Boy.  I think it’s very sweet.)

I know others disagree, and of course everyone is entitled to their opinion.  

I mostly agree with what you says, but what I was saying in my previous statement concerned the fans general opinion of the ‘92 albums at the time. There are indeed good songs on HT and LT, but I don’t think one can really disagree with the claim that Bruce’s previous production (Greetings/Wild/BTR/Darkness/River/Nebraska/BITUSA/TOL) was/is generally held in much higher esteem by fans. 

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21 hours ago, Lampi said:

Just listened to the song and question could be, is it really a song? Is it not more a demo? Bruce trying out some lyrics and playing a piano tune before the band would add some more music? (This also maybe a reason Bruce had forgotten about the song, or demo, in 1998).

But then Bruce, or Jon Landau, or both, realised the lyrics are pathetic, ridiculous, pretentious and very bad lyrics and the music is unremarkable and dull and decided to bury the song (or demo) in the vault.

A pice of art is not a thing. Even a thing is not a thing. Take for example a stone. It lays wet and shimmering on the beach. Take it home, and you will find, that it dries up and does not at all look the way it did at the beach. So the stone, just like art, whatever else it is, is also a relation. So whats the use of trying to make a piece of art to a stone, when not even the stone is a stone? Art is not a non-relation, someting good or bad in itself, its a relation to its audience. It also is a moment in the becoming of the artist. The streaming water of the artists evolution is also what wets and makes an perhaps otherwise dry and dull stone beautiful for the beholder.

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On 8/13/2018 at 4:11 PM, Floom2 said:

Ok, I agree.   I had that vinyl boot with Preachers Daughter and Iceman a long time ago.  Iceman SOUNDS like the kind of song I should love: it’s mystetious and atmospheric and dangerous and deals with important things, and yet after many listens I came to the conclusion that the song ultimately failed, and thus was not released.  Clearly Springsteen was trying to work the preachers daughter into one of his records, but was never able to find the right vehicle.  

This. Perfect. 

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On 2/28/2020 at 9:37 AM, ulfhpersson said:

A pice of art is not a thing. Even a thing is not a thing. Take for example a stone. It lays wet and shimmering on the beach. Take it home, and you will find, that it dries up and does not at all look the way it did at the beach. So the stone, just like art, whatever else it is, is also a relation. So whats the use of trying to make a piece of art to a stone, when not even the stone is a stone? Art is not a non-relation, someting good or bad in itself, its a relation to its audience. It also is a moment in the becoming of the artist. The streaming water of the artists evolution is also what wets and makes an perhaps otherwise dry and dull stone beautiful for the beholder.

That's a bit deep for a warm saturday night - i need to read this on a stormy cold winter's night :lol:

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  • 4 months later...

Thought I’d pull up this thread again as I’ve recently found a new appreciation of this fantastic track. So much do, I’ve recorded my own take on it. It’s here if you want to have a listen. Anyway, I’m loving It at the moment (Bruce’s version obviously, not mine!). Funny how a track you’ve pretty much overlooked suddenly leaps out at you. 

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On 2/26/2020 at 9:31 PM, TheBoss said:

I think Iceman is one of these out-takes that you get over excited about when you hear them first time. Then after repeated listening the excitement fades away pretty quickly and you realize why it's an out-take. These songs were not built to last like the songs Bruce includes on his albums and become classics.

I thought I should write a respons about the song. Then I found this.

So, well said. I second my own opinion!

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