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What do you think is Bruce's most Catholic song?


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I have just mentioned on another thread how I think I'll Work for Your Love is one of Bruce's most Catholic songs. What other songs from Bruce are full of Catholic iconography and originate from his childhood in the shadow of St. Rose of Lima?

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The Price You Pay

Across The Border

Perhaps not most Catholic, but these two were my impulse reaction.

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Walk Like A Man (Edit: and the whole Tunnel album)

Reason To Believe.

The first two songs I thought of.

Without doubt, many more.

Edit: American Skin, not the song you might first think about, has the lines 'cross this bloody river to the other side' and 'we're baptized in these waters and in each other's blood'.

Janey trying to drown her baby in the river in Spare Parts-and then not doing it-is that Catholic?

Cautious Man: 'Filling their room in the beauty of God's fallen light'.

Part Man, Part Monkey. As evolution vs. creation maybe more an anti-Catholic (or anti-religion) song.

Stories in Growin' Up about the meeting with God and the 11th Commandmenth and the Teenage Werewolf story has a little bit about that too (pissing in his desk at the Catholic school).

If I Was The Priest.

I´ve Got A Date With The Preacher´s Daughter (this actually not the title of the song, it seems, according to Bruce himself).

Lions Den.

Wages of Sin.

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If I was the Priest

I'll work for your love

Lost in the Flood

Adam raised a Cain

Jesus was an only son

As a catholic myself (who is not long back home from sunday mass !), that's the five I would immediately think of when looking at and assessing the catholic imagery in Bruce's songs.

Can't see it at all in Reason to Believe I have to say. I don't think the song is specifically about catholicism or religious belief per se, I think it's just about believing and having faith in anything you encounter in life.

 

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1 hour ago, Silvia said:

The Price You Pay

Well, I don't see TPYP as a particularly Catholic song, lyrically speaking. I mean, the biblical references are to the Old Testament (or probably to ending of Hollywood's blockbuster with Charlton Heston more than the scriptures).

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15 minutes ago, MacBruce said:

ICan't see it at all in Reason to Believe I have to say. I don't think the song is specifically about catholicism or religious belief per se, I think it's just about believing and having faith in anything you encounter in life.

I agree with you it is not especially about religious belief, more about 'believe'  in general-or not believing.

Reason To Believe is a very ambiguous song: is the narrator mocking the belief of others, or jealous of their ability to believe, or both? In this it is also a very dark song.

The reason the song is also Catholic are the lines 'Take a baby to the river, Kyle William they called him;  wash the baby in the water take away little Kyle's sin' -(and also the next two lines of that verse); and also 'congregation gathers' and 'preacher stands with his bible'.

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14 minutes ago, Lampi said:

I agree with you it is not especially about religious belief, more about 'believe'  in general-or not believing.

Reason To Believe is a very ambiguous song: is the narrator mocking the belief of others, or jealous of their ability to believe, or both? In this it is also a very dark song.

The reason the song is also Catholic are the lines 'Take a baby to the river, Kyle William they called him;  wash the baby in the water take away little Kyle's sin' -(and also the next two lines of that verse); and also 'congregation gathers' and 'preacher stands with his bible'.

Not sure about 'preacher' being Catholic (wouldn't 'priest' be more appropriate?), especially when it comes to Springsteen's lyrics. I mean, how about the Preacher's Daughter (or the preacher's girl in 'The Iceman')? Unless some nuns ran indeed bald through the Vatican halls, I mean... :o

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2 hours ago, Accountant Pete said:

I have just mentioned on another thread how I think I'll Work for Your Love is one of Bruce's most Catholic songs. What other songs from Bruce are full of Catholic iconography and originate from his childhood in the shadow of St. Rose of Lima?

Rosalita is Rose of Lima ...... is she not?

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Another tike myself @Accountant Pete ( he says wondering if tike is a particularly Australian term for a Catholic).

If this is an area you wish to pursue further I recommend you read an article by an American priest/catholic scholar Andrew M Greeley entitled ‘The Catholic Imagination of Bruce Springsteen’, in which he unpicks the Catholic imagery of Bruce, Most particularly in that article,  the images used in Tunnel of Love.

They are generally images rather than idols discussed, and most of them are universal rather than peculiarly Catholic.

Whilst I’ll Work for your Love uses Catholic images, I wouldn’t say that it was particularly Catholic in message. The title describes the message of the song. I believe the more Catholic songs deal with redemption.

I would say songs like Badlands, Souls of the Departed and My Beautiful Reward.

But some of these are personal in my Catholic experience and opinion. This is a topic I can rabbit on about all night.

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21 minutes ago, Kent Guitar said:

Another tike myself @Accountant Pete ( he says wondering if tike is a particularly Australian term for a Catholic).

If this is an area you wish to pursue further I recommend you read an article by an American priest/catholic scholar Andrew M Greeley entitled ‘The Catholic Imagination of Bruce Springsteen’, in which he unpicks the Catholic imagery of Bruce, Most particularly in that article,  the images used in Tunnel of Love.

They are generally images rather than idols discussed, and most of them are universal rather than peculiarly Catholic.

Whilst I’ll Work for your Love uses Catholic images, I wouldn’t say that it was particularly Catholic in message. The title describes the message of the song. I believe the more Catholic songs deal with redemption.

I would say songs like Badlands, Souls of the Departed and My Beautiful Reward.

But some of these are personal in my Catholic experience and opinion. This is a topic I can rabbit on about all night.

I've read the article by Greeley and it is very interesting but a lot of holy water has gone under the bridge from Bruce since then. 

Bruce has spoken about the tensions within himself and his fellow Americans  between individualism and community. It started very early with him in the shadow of the steeple.

 

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Just now, Accountant Pete said:

I've read the article by Greeley and it is very interesting but a lot of holy water has gone under the bridge from Bruce since then. 

Bruce has spoken about the tensions within himself and his fellow Americans  between individualism and community. It started very early with him in the shadow of the steeple.

 

And yet he is on the team

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2 hours ago, Lampi said:

Reason To Believe is a very ambiguous song: is the narrator mocking the belief of others, or jealous of their ability to believe, or both? In this it is also a very dark song.

I never thought of it as ‘mocking.’  More like an accolade of sorts.  Like no matter what happens, people find ‘some reason’ to believe.  

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8 minutes ago, rosiejaneymary said:

I never thought of it as ‘mocking.’  

'struck me kinda funny', is that not mocking? But it is indeed ambiguous; just what Bruce probably meant, not a black-and-white clear interpretation of the song.

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4 hours ago, Lampi said:

Edit: American Skin, not the song you might first think about, has the lines 'cross this bloody river to the other side' and 'we're baptized in these waters and in each other's blood'.

I agree with the quotes of the lyrics. 

However, beyond that I’ve always took American Skin to be a statement/reaction to what happened to be one  of utter contempt and disgust at how Amadou Diallo,  (and of course many, many others) were/are) NOT being treated as the teachings and commandments tell us to treat others.  

So yes, I feel the premise of this song, (like many in his catalogue), to be a definite reflection and response to his Catholic upbringing.  

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2 minutes ago, Lampi said:

struck me kinda funny', is that not mocking? But it is indeed ambiguous; just what Bruce probably meant, not a black-and-white clear interpretation of the song.

I get what you mean, but no, not ‘mocking,’ IMO.  Amazed maybe, or something along those lines... 

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8 minutes ago, rosiejaneymary said:

However, beyond that I’ve always took American Skin to be a statement/reaction to what happened to be one  of utter contempt and disgust at how Amadou Diallo,  (and of course many, many others) were/are NOT being treated as the teachings and commandments tell us to treat others. 

'Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto you'. And 'You shall not murder'.

This indeed, that is a very good observation.

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1 hour ago, Lampi said:

'struck me kinda funny', is that not mocking? But it is indeed ambiguous; just what Bruce probably meant, not a black-and-white clear interpretation of the song.

No, it's not mocking.  I take it to mean "It made me wonder (why the person would do that)".  It got him thinking.

As for Catholic, I'd say there's plenty of Christian imagery in Bruce's work, but very little that's specifically Catholic.

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