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1 minute ago, timeisillusion said:

Interesting, I had always interpreted the song as Janey being a prostitute who is used/abused by all these authority figures, hence she needs a 'shooter' or protector, who our narrator with a saviour complex fanatasises about being.

The priest and the cop don't seem to do anything abusive.  The doctor's only doing what needs to be done sometimes, but it's been described in an wildly exaggerated and sadistic way.  He's an easier target than the others.

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Great thread this and interesting discussions. Janey is probably my favourite song from the album together with Song for Orphans. It is the reason why I always go back to storyteller Bruce - especiall

https://www.npr.org/2020/10/22/925358745/what-bruce-springsteen-lost-and-found   Why did you record in the way that you did? In the studio where you're sitting now, I gather? We have th

People are being very over the top about a bloody song. Chill out 

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19 minutes ago, Rizla said:

The priest and the cop don't seem to do anything abusive.  The doctor's only doing what needs to be done sometimes, but it's been described in an wildly exaggerated and sadistic way.  He's an easier target than the others.

Maybe, but I'm not so sure the cop is checking on her every night in such an innocent way. Especially as "her skin would turn pale" and "Janey's small and sometimes he scared her" might suggest.

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Clearly, when he wrote Janey needs a shooter, Bruce was still honing his craft as a songwriter. And I guess this is the reason why the song remained unreleased for such a long time, despite being recorded many times (and despite three major outtake releases, at least). It's a gorgeous piece of music, and it works pretty well on an album where the E Street sound is the main focus, but the lyrics are simply not worth listening (too attentively, at least). In particular, the first verse makes me think of Lady and the doctor, another less than stellar (and rather creepy) composition of that period. It's basically a young composer trying to describe/imagine something he probably doesn't know anything about. A pretty bad b-movie plot. It took Bruce some time (and the guidance of Landau) to understand that what makes his songwriting great is the way his audience can relate to his songs and consider them believable. 

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There's plenty of toxic masculinity in this song. It's hard to imagine early 20s Bruce intentionally writing it that way, as a critique of shitty men (including the narrator). I could say the same about countless rock songs from Chuck Berry's Nadine to Bruce's own Fire and This Little Girl. 

Can it be thematically problematic and also lyrically beautiful? I'd say yes. It is an older song I think would be better served to be released on a box set than a studio album, but it sure sounds great, and the ESB sounds great. It completes a early Dylanesque songs triad.

I also love The Way, The Iceman, and plenty of other '70s era Bruce songs that are peopled by troubled men who are doubtlessly doing a lot of damage to the people around them. 

 

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6 hours ago, Early North Jersey said:

That's how i feel .... Lyrically its kind of icky .....But musically its so powerful ....Like '78 powerful .....and i would be looking forward to a classic 5 minute  E Street instrumental outro in concert !!!!!

 

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7 hours ago, soulcrusader78 said:

I think it means someone to protect her. Love and protect her.

 

 

On BTX, there's three pages and one person thinks it's like a high roller, like so-and-so's a big shooter (has respect and power)

Another thinks straight shooter, and adds to protect her.

I always thought it just meant to protect her.

I like your interpretation 

Art is purely subjective 

I like the darkness in it 

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1 hour ago, timeisillusion said:

Interesting, I had always interpreted the song as Janey being a prostitute who is used/abused by all these authority figures, hence she needs a 'shooter' or protector, who our narrator with a saviour complex fanatasises about being.

I don’t think there is abuse happening, I think Janey is using them all (included the delusional narrator) to fit her desires. 

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59 minutes ago, timeisillusion said:

Maybe, but I'm not so sure the cop is checking on her every night in such an innocent way. Especially as "her skin would turn pale" and "Janey's small and sometimes he scared her" might suggest.

We're not hearing this from Janey herself though, are we?  There's only one person's narrative here.

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In the context of the song, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that ‘shooter’ may allude to drug use, like in ‘shooting heroin’ (wasn’t a ‘shooter jack’ the original verse ending?). That would make sense with Janey’s creepy relation with the doctor, the dope, and her skin being ‘pale’ with the cop. But as I said before, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the lyrics.

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7 hours ago, soulcrusader78 said:

I'll take it over the whole Tunnel Of Love album.

I think it's his best song since the Nebraska album and songs like Atlantic City (as much as I love The Wrestler, Radio Nowhere and The Wall).

And on that point couldn't this song be a precursor to Nebraska itself? As in the protagonists are Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek in a mad dash rather than a stalker who has thought about any of this very much, as such

 

Why did they alter the lyric from "Jack" to "now"? What was Jack btw?

 

It's also a scene that plays out not just in the 1970's but still today among the young teens and twentysomethings on any (mostly white) sink estate in a city in the UK or Ireland - so it seems easy for most of us to dismiss from our comparatively holier than thou middle class suburban outlooks

Perhaps without the priest these days

So no, it ain't necessarily creepy

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26 minutes ago, Magnus said:

There's plenty of toxic masculinity in this song. It's hard to imagine early 20s Bruce intentionally writing it that way, as a critique of shitty men (including the narrator). I could say the same about countless rock songs from Chuck Berry's Nadine to Bruce's own Fire and This Little Girl. 

Can it be thematically problematic and also lyrically beautiful? I'd say yes. It is an older song I think would be better served to be released on a box set than a studio album, but it sure sounds great, and the ESB sounds great. It completes a early Dylanesque songs triad.

I also love The Way, The Iceman, and plenty of other '70s era Bruce songs that are peopled by troubled men who are doubtlessly doing a lot of damage to the people around them.

I've never been able to see anything disturbing in 'The Way'.  It's interesting that Bruce himself says it's creepy yet he clearly can't see that JNAS has far more potential to be disturbing.

As for 'Fire', I think this song perfectly captures the mood of a young girl who wants to make love with her boyfriend but is hesitant for what may be one of a number of reasons - fear of getting caught, fear of getting pregnant, loss of reputation etc.  Will she dare pass the point of no return?  But he's right - she DOES want to and they both know it!   :D

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I came across this great analysis of JNAS. Extra verses throw further light on what may be going on.

The author does brilliant analyses of Bruce's songs. 

http://estreetshuffle.com/index.php/2020/07/27/roll-of-the-dice-janey-needs-a-shooter/

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7 hours ago, Early North Jersey said:

That's how i feel .... Lyrically its kind of icky .....But musically its so powerful ....Like '78 powerful .....and i would be looking forward to a classic 5 minute  E Street instrumental outro in concert !!!!!

Agree with this- I love it musically. Lyrically, I'm not sure Bruce himself knows what it's about- I think he's said as much. I imagine he was writing more for the sounds of the words, as opposed to the narrative (as I think Dylan did?). Having said that, though, in my mind I picture a relationship kind of like Seymour and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors (bear with me here, lol), and the doctor (and the others) is like the dentist character in Little Shop. 

As for what a shooter is, I also think it's a protector. These three old songs have a bit of Western imagery in them (as does the Ballad of Jesse James), so maybe it comes from that? I wonder if Bruce was listening to Tumbleweed Connection in those days?

 

 

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1 hour ago, Frank said:

In the context of the song, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that ‘shooter’ may allude to drug use, like in ‘shooting heroin’ (wasn’t a ‘shooter jack’ the original verse ending?). That would make sense with Janey’s creepy relation with the doctor, the dope, and her skin being ‘pale’ with the cop. But as I said before, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the lyrics.

That's what i always thought 

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37 minutes ago, Early North Jersey said:

Actually is quite similar isn't it ?

 

Maybe that's why it works 

Apples to apples

Not like the oranges of full band The  Promise or GOTJ

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39 minutes ago, Early North Jersey said:

Actually is quite similar isn't it ?

 

Its been a long time since ive heard that

I gotta go compair

That sprinkling of piano is just delightful 

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41 minutes ago, Early North Jersey said:

Actually is quite similar isn't it ?

 

OMG but his voice is to die for

Talk about stone and gravel !

Aren't we so fortunate at 71 we have him with us to look back on this without the usual pain that accompanies nostalgia 

I gotta find Doc's Delorean and set that thing for Homedale 

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8 hours ago, phantomengineer said:

Have to say I prefer the Warren Zevon song, though they have little in common but the title.

Well, I guess it didn’t take a brilliant songwriter like Zevon more than a listening to realize what worked and what didn’t with the song. So, it’s no surprise that he kept the melody and the chorus, completely dropped the verses, (halved the syllables per verse) and rewrote them to fit a better kind of b-movie plot à la ‘Take ‘em as they come’. In short, he made a great ‘The River’ outtake out of it.

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8 hours ago, Rizla said:

I've never been able to see anything disturbing in 'The Way'.  It's interesting that Bruce himself says it's creepy yet he clearly can't see that JNAS has far more potential to be disturbing.

As for 'Fire', I think this song perfectly captures the mood of a young girl who wants to make love with her boyfriend but is hesitant for what may be one of a number of reasons - fear of getting caught, fear of getting pregnant, loss of reputation etc.  Will she dare pass the point of no return?  But he's right - she DOES want to and they both know it!   :D

The Way is a song about obsession, infatuation. This could certainly be romantic if the object of his desire feels just the same way about him, but what if this is a one sided relationship where she's doing all the lifting and supporting and he's the one who is coming on a little too strong? 

As for Fire, well that's what a lot of men might like to think. But the song, when sung by Bruce at least, is from a man's perspective, not the woman's. And yes, when it comes to dating in the real world, sometimes a No is in fact a delaying tactic. But if someone says No, you can't assume that they really mean Yes. If you're dropping your date off at their house and they say they want to be alone, then you say goodbye at the door. Fire is totally a rapey song, at least by modern standards of consent.

It's also a really really great song. And the best part is the silence - that drawn out pause, when he teases the audience.

Rock n Roll is complicated. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Magnus said:

Not that I disagree with you on the main point of your whole post, but I don’t think it’s rock and roll that is complicated. What’s really complicated - virtually impossible - is trying to evaluate a genre that has its roots in a 70 year old imagery and culture, and find it politically correct according to a modern progressive perspective. Rock and roll was first and foremost music for teenagers in a pre-birth control society, when people often married in their early twenties, and women rarely had a job/salary. Youth, sex and rebellion were at the core of this genre. Now, by no means I’m claiming that the early day rock and roll imagery should get a free pass, were used today, out of pure philological reasons. However, it would make little sense to me to listen to past music with today’s “woke” ears. Otherwise, not only ‘Janey needs a shooter’ would be seen as full of ‘toxic masculinity’; even its much edulcorated younger sister ‘Janey, don’t lose heart’ would hardly stand a chance nowadays.

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