Silvia

Songs of hope vs. Songs of eternal damnation

Songs of hope vs. songs of eternal damnation?  

41 members have voted

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  1. 1. What's your choice?

    • songs of hope
      21
    • songs of eternal damnation
      20

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  • Poll closed on 08/30/2019 at 10:00 PM

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'I write two kinds of songs. Just two. They are songs of hope and songs of... uh... what was that other thing?  Oh, yea, eternal damnation. And goddamnit I'm good at both of them.' (Trenton, 22/11/2005)

I love this quote, I think it essentially simplifies what I'm sure could be a lengthy dissertation titled "What kind of songs Springsteen writes?" I love it because of its biblical connotation, which to me is always a bit mysterious and questionable. But if you listen carefully to his songs, his definition proves to be an accurate one... There are just two kinds of songs...

On the Bridge thread, @bobfan1976 used the term masochistic streak, which could be one of the reasons why the songs of eternal damnation are so treasured by the fans. We like the soft pain they inflict. Well, at least I do. I love it when he sings straight from his dark zones. It was @TheBoss who had written recently how the darker stuff comes naturally to Bruce, and the majority of the "happy songs" ring false to his ears.

What are your thoughts, which category is your instinct selection? 

This poll is open until the end of August, thanks for voting!

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Youngstown is obviously the song about eternal damnation.

And Adam Raised A Cain, 'paying for the sins of somebody's else's past'. Curses going down from generation to generation.

 

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....and Reason To Believe, offering some hope after everything which came before. (Galveston Bay does that too; but such a pity the song is dull beyond words, not even a song).

And The Price You Pay, one of the most typical Bruce Springsteen songs (in terms of lyrics; the music not so much). (And one of the greatest Bruce Springsteen songs of course:)).

Edit: and also 'Pulling out of here to win'  and indeed 'I believe in The Promised Land'. As opposed to: 'wanting things that can only be found in the darkness on the edge of town' and 'with the eyes of one who hates for just being born' and, again, 'wash these sins off our hands'.

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4 minutes ago, Lampi said:

....and Reason To Believe, offering some hope after everything which came before.

I see "Reason to Believe" as belonging to the other category. 

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40 minutes ago, Scott Peterson said:

I see "Reason to Believe" as belonging to the other category. 

Yes; there's an ambiguity in the song. The narrator sees no Reason To Believe, but the characters still do, despite all odds. Is the narrator making fun of their belief, or jealous of the fact they are still able to believe, or both? (So I stand corrected).

The ambiguity just adds to the greatness of the song, of course.

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3 hours ago, Lampi said:

Youngstown is obviously the song about eternal damnation.

It absolutely is.  Says so plainly (He wants no part of heaven...prays the devil comes and takes him to stand in the fiery furnaces of heeeeelllllllll) in the lyrics. 

However I also see it as standing up to bear witness in the face of horrible obstacles and oppression.  So in that way to me, in some weird way, it becomes a song of hope. 

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7 minutes ago, rosiejaneymary said:

However I also see it as standing up to bear witness in the face of horrible obstacles and oppression.  So in that way to me, in some weird way, it becomes a song of hope. 

In the electric version there is indeed an element of not giving up, of 'you are not getting me' or 'you got the others, but you will not get me'.

In the acoustic versions, or at least the album version, there is more resignation in the last verse.

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When I die I don't want no part of heaven,I would not do heaven's work well
I pray the devil comes and takes me to stand in the fiery furnaces of hell

 

Some of the greatest lyrics ever.

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this is a hard one Sylvia

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I'm a happy type guy, so hope is always good. 

But most of the hard rockers i love are the damnation type. So go figure. Again, to me it's only music. 

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I can't decide. (Not being able to decide is a sign of insanity, my ex used to say.) But there are some really dark songs that I love because of their defiance and power, and sometimes there is the need for something hopeful as in Land of Hope and Dreams.

It's like life: you need either one at times, and life itself is made up of both.

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35 minutes ago, Daisey Jeep said:

this is a hard one Sylvia

 

12 minutes ago, berlintramp said:

I can't decide. 

I intentionally left out the third option, because I feared that the majority of votes would fall into the 'can't decide' category. ;)

The only way to vote is without thinking too long, and just following your instinct. But I'm not going to force you to make up your minds...

No right or wrong answers here, and as @Jimmy James said, it's just music. 

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2 hours ago, Lampi said:

In the electric version there is indeed an element of not giving up, of 'you are not getting me' or 'you got the others, but you will not get me'.

In the acoustic versions, or at least the album version, there is more resignation in the last verse.

Agree. 

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2 hours ago, Lampi said:

In the electric version there is indeed an element of not giving up, of 'you are not getting me' or 'you got the others, but you will not get me'.

In the acoustic versions, or at least the album version, there is more resignation in the last verse.

well going on this and what Sylvia said about not thinking too much (i was going to list my 20 fav songs and my 20 most played songs ..... ??? and try and work it out)

so im voting for external  damnation because if that abomination of electric Joad has even one tiny piece of hope in it i don't want it 

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8 minutes ago, Daisey Jeep said:

so im voting for external  damnation because if that abomination of electric Joad has even one tiny piece of hope in it i don't want it 

 There is hope in the lyrics, without doubt. Not something that can be said about most otherJoad songs.

Dry Lightning, and Across The Border of course. But the optimism of Across The Border then becomes the eternal damnation -or at least death- in Matamoros Banks.

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I like the songs of hopeful damnation.

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16 minutes ago, soulcrusader78 said:

Eternal damnation.

me too 

i love the promise but i limit my exposure to it 

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9 hours ago, Daisey Jeep said:

well going on this and what Sylvia said about not thinking too much (i was going to list my 20 fav songs and my 20 most played songs ..... ??? and try and work it out)

so im voting for external  damnation because if that abomination of electric Joad has even one tiny piece of hope in it i don't want it 

I love your typos. :D

It got me wondering whether the damnation Bruce writes about is external or internal. Probably both. 
 

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3 hours ago, Jerseyfornia said:

I like the songs of hopeful damnation.

Burn To Run

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Harps and clouds versus eternal debauchery.

Um...…...……...

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Hope for me - Y’all are a dark bunch sometimes ;) 

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