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CrushOnOutlawPete

LAKERS! Give me your opinion of... "THE WAY"! Please!

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"The.... The Way?" Yes! "Why do you want my opinions of The Wa--"well, when was the last time you ever saw anyone even mention it? Exactly! Fan discourse on "The Way" is, uh, limited, to say the least, but I think this song occupies an...... interesting?, spot in the canon, and so I've got a couple questions on it.

 

I mean, it's an unlisted hidden track on what's ALREADY a compilation of 30-year-old outtakes, and its lyrics feature Bruce just straight-up fantasizing about imprisoning his significant other. Which... is...... different! It's an oddity, to say the least, right?

 

Here's a refresher.

 

 

And here's where I'm coming from: I mean, this is clearly a possessive song, right? Like -- it's got all this passionate, flowing, beautiful, loving imagery... to be honest, I'm not sure ANY Bruce song has quite as romantic of lyrics and vocals together as this one. Body and soul, the rivers running to the sea... all these lovely images. Yet they're always paired with the titular line: "the way you belong TO me."

 

Note: Not "belong WITH me", something that's also a little entitled but that's more of a common phrase culturally, and that still at least pretends to try to place them as equal partners. But "belong TO me". ....That's different.

 

So what I'm wondering is: Do you guys think this song is intentionally possessive, in order to make a point or get into the head of a darker character? Or do you think it's just kind of a weakly written outtake he probably didn't think about, written when he was 27, the same sessions as the at times controversial "Fire", at a time when he -- according to himself -- still didn't have the best grasp on adult relationships?

 

What leans me towards the former is, near the end -- this is the most interesting part of the song -- when it ultimately crises, on its biggest musical, emotional, and vocal crescendo, towards "And if I could, girl, though I know it'd be wrong / I'd lock you deep inside until the last rains fall / And hide you from the emptiness of it all..."; the "I know it'd be wrong" shows that Bruce was, on some level, aware of the possessive nature of this track -- and the fantasy about "locking [her] deep inside" forever takes that to by far its greatest, darkest height, as the band rises and the vocals darkly soar... that suggests to me a song that, like some of the Nebraska material, is, knowingly, getting into the head of a darker, potentially unwell protagonist -- in order to illustrate to us the emotions that bring them to that point, to show us (in this case) the very authentic feelings, at least, of passion and love, that are driving them towards being possessive, objectifying, and maybe, to an extent, toxic and harmful. Not that we know this guy's on the level of the "State Trooper" protagonist or anything, but that I think this track may, similarly, be intentionally tapping into darker aspects of human psychology -- empathizing with, but not outright condoning, them.

 

And if that's the case, then this is honestly a FASCINATING song -- a fascinating exhibition of the beauty and positivity of passionate love, its immense power... yet also a statement that it is, of course, not inherently positive in its potentially consuming, damaging power. A song that shows an everyday person sinking deeper into an initially sympathetic psychological hole - that starts with a mild feeling, but turns into something darker. That is, to me, a fascinating idea for a song.

 

But what makes me lean against that interpretation is the simple, everyday way "The way you belong TO me" is delivered throughout the entire song... I don't know: do you guys think Bruce put much thought into that titular lyric? Do you think it's MEANT to sound possessive, in the pursuit of a broader storytelling aim? Or do you think it shows that Bruce just wasn't really trying to do anything that deep here, and was simply writing a love song that ended up possessive, one he then forgot about for over 30 years?

 

I've spent a good couple years unsure of what, exactly, to make of this song, but never quite digging into the weeds on it to see what others think. Thus, I would really love to get other people's ideas here.

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When it first circulated back in the 70s it was running a bit slow, but I'm not sure anyone really knew. It was a revelation when an updated version at the correct speed popped up on YT many years later.

Great song. Loved it from day 1. I'm surprised that there haven't been any major covers of it.

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It is one of my top five- think I have listed it in one or two of the subjects in the near past.

I absolutely love it.
The way he sings it and the tone of his voice in this song, suits the mood of the song perfectly.

I found it by accident when listening to the cd in the car and noticed in strangely lengthy period of time left after City of light.
 

Moody, intense and some excellent lyrics imo.

 

As for the interpretation of the “Contentious phrase”, I don’t get hung up on the possessive Intent. The other lyrics  show his feelings and that phrase has been used time after time - Bryan Adams, Carly Simon, even used in Shrek the movie. 

This subject came up on here before, and if I recall correctly, some were questioning the use of phrases like “little girl” and the likes. People will interpret any lyric Differently in a way that they see fit. They may also be swayed to change their opinion when certain aspects are pointed out to them.

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Didn't Bruce say that he couldn't write love songs back then? I wonder if he's a bit embarrassed at having written this type of song during that period.

Lovely tune and a nice bit of sax from Clarence. 

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Easily one of his best love songs in my opinion....

Bruce doesn't like it though apparently.

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Thank you for posting this. For me as a new fan this was totally new. 

While listening I looked the song up at Brucebase and it is amazing that with a total of 66 takes it was eliminated from the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album less than 2 months before release. Is it known why Bruce doesn't like the song? You would think the opposite, why would he otherwise have spend so much time on the song in the studio? 

About the song itself, I like it (and I only heard it once now).

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I didn't need a refresher before reading the comments but listening to it now. The song is written on my soul - I loved it the first time I heard it all those years ago. I love it still.

Wanting to lock yourselves away, if only for a little while, is part of experiencing that wonderful, all-embracing moment that, hopefully most of us will experience.  He just voices the thoughts of someone baring his soul.

It's called passion. Earth-moving passion.

I can see, however, how the words he chooses can make one think the person in the song is a tad 'needy' and could be capable of, well, harm. I'm too lost in the music, the sax and the passion to think too much about the what ifs.

I'll just go and have another listen ... I could be some time ...

 

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A beautiful love song. "You belong to me" is usual in love song lyrics - I don't see it as possessive. The Way should have been included on The Promise on its own instead of being tagged on the end of (an inferior) song.

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I love it too.   I do think people nowadays get far too hung up on what have always been stock phrases, clichés even, in romantic lyrics.  Wanting to read something sinister into it.  That needs to stop.

As Eileen said, these are words of passion, and typically that brings with it hyperbole.  It expresses strength of feelings. 
In the words "the way the rivers belong to the seas" I sense a suggestion of the lovers being "one flesh", a concept that's as old as Adam and Eve.
We aren't meant to take any of it literally, any more than the words in 'Janey' (till every river runs dry, until the sun's torn from the sky). 

The part that's always quoted as being particularly contentious:

And if I could, girl, though I know it'd be wrong
I'd lock you deep inside till the last rains fall
And hide you from the emptiness of it all

To me that's just expressing a desire to protect her.  It's "wrong" because he knows it's unrealistic, he can't protect her from all the ills of the world.  Nobody can do that.  I'd say it's almost parental, only somebody would be bound to take that the wrong way. :rolleyes:

Anyway it's a deeply romantic, passionate and moving song, and I am sorry that Bruce apparently doesn't like it.  Perhaps it comes from a place he'd rather forget.

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I seem to recall that it was sufficiently highly rated that it raised eyebrows when the the tracklisting of The Promise was announced and it wasn't included. If I remember correctly, the subsequent discovery that it was included after all was considered worthy of its own thread. A highly regarded song indeed (except by Bruce!)

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Oh that sax solo.......its classic tear inducing e street.....I'm separated physically from my baby right now because of an accident and covid and just the thought of the song is making me tear up.......

 

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So, a song where the protagonist is pretty much obsessed with a significant other and would do anything to keep her with him/away from anyone else - that is also hated by the songwriter?

There's always one, isn't there?

 

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13 minutes ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

So, a song where the protagonist is pretty much obsessed with a significant other and would do anything to keep her with him/away from anyone else - that is also hated by the songwriter?

There's always one, isn't there?

 

What an incredible album Rubber Soul would have been if only they'd replaces this and What Goes On with a couple of decent songs.

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53 minutes ago, Early North Jersey said:

Oh that sax solo.......its classic tear inducing e street.....I'm separated physically from my baby right now because of an accident and covid and just the thought of the song is making me tear up.......

 

Hey, ENJ ...? What's up?

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2 minutes ago, Born To Walk said:

What an incredible album Rubber Soul would have been if only they'd replaces this and What Goes On with a couple of decent songs.

I like "What Goes On" (and find "Run For Your Life" really catchy too) :ph34r:, but I get what you mean. There are a few Beatles albums that you could say something along those lines about, it's just that they were able to make the good songs on them great to cover for the 'filler'.

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I don't particularly like it, the alleged possessiveness isn't bothering me at all, more the cliche lyrics, and the slow tempo.

I do like the humming & piano outro. 

Which girlfriend is it about? 

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49 minutes ago, Born To Walk said:

What an incredible album Rubber Soul would have been if only they'd replaces this and What Goes On with a couple of decent songs.

I love Run For Your Life ... don't care for WGO - not a fan of Ringo-led vocals.

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10 minutes ago, Silvia said:

Which girlfriend is it about? 

Now that is the  £64k question, isn't it. 
Very possibly it's a sore point and something he doesn't like to be reminded of, hence the song being out in the cold.

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4 minutes ago, Rizla said:

Now that is the  £64k question, isn't it. 
Very possibly it's a sore point and something he doesn't like to be reminded of, hence the song being out in the cold.

@Promise61:D

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It is where it should be, a hidden track on a Outtakes album! 

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11 hours ago, stillilllife said:

Great song. One of my favorites.

Same here.  Always loved it... 

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