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what the hell ?lyrics of born in the usa


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1 hour ago, JustDan said:

Jimmy. I think you're a nice guy. I'd sit down & have a beer with you. I'd go see a show with you. The thing is Jimmy, & I'm sorry, but sometimes you come off as simplistic and naive in your views. You want to keep things as simple and black and white as possible. Let me ask you this...What do you mean when you say this song is an "anthem" to you? Is it because people pump their fists in the air when they hear it live at a show, or on the radio? Is it the beat, is it the riff that makes this song an "anthem"? What is your definition of an anthem, song-wise?

Thanks Dan, we have come a long way, haven't we. Actually I kind of thank the lack of the FC in that. I am very simplistic, naïve maybe not so much. An Anthem is part of Americana, even though some of these songs aren't American, they are part of us growing up history. 

1. Stairway To Heaven, 2. Freebird, 3. 2112, 4. Born in the USA, 5. Layla, just to name a few. 

But I still don't think I answered your question what a anthem is. Best I can do is, that song that makes me(you) feel great! 

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Born down in a dead man’s town. 

The astute listener will make the quick determination that our protagonist has a tough road ahead.

 

The first kick I took was when I hit the ground

You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much

‘Til you spend all your life just coverin’ up

 Our protagonist is a victim of some kind of physical violence in childhood. Again, the impression of the life of the protagonist is bleak. 

 

Got in a little hometown jam

So they put a rifle in my hand

Sent me off to a foreign land

To go and kill the yellow man.

Our protagonist is now 18 and is in trouble.  A pregnant girl?  Nope.  “They” put a rifle in his hand.  “They” is the man, the justice system, which invites the obvious conclusion that our man committed some kind of crime, a crime involving property, most likely, as a violent felony would have garnered prison time.  This verse underscores that our protagonist is poor.  The sons of the wealthy are able to dodge the wheels of justice.

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says, "Son, if it was up to me"
I go down to see the V.A. man
He said, "Son, don't you understand?"

 

Yup, even with his veteran status our protagonist is unable to find work. Somehow, even the VA won’t help.  This is Springsteen’s way of illustrating the supposed many ways that American society let down Vietnam veterans.  And yes, the VA is an unwieldy ineffective bureaucracy. In any case, our protagonist has no prospects, either because he is an unemployable loser or because every employer and the government are against him.  You decide.

Had a brother at Khe Sahn
Fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone
He had a woman in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms

A truly great verse showing a close relationship with another soldier and perhaps also showing a changing attitude about the Vietnamese. 

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
I've got nowhere to run and nowhere to go

Ten years later our protagonist is deep in his struggle and unable to get out.  A crushing bleak verse.

Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

And the chorus.  For me, this is the kicker:  There is no American Dream, it’s over for men like our protagonist.  You’ve been sold a bill of goods. 

I guess for others who need this to be something else, the chorus means that even if your life is absolute sh*t and you’ve been abused by your parents and your government and employers everywhere, everything is still great because you were born in the usa.  That’s a completely absurd conclusion to draw from the lyrics, but there it is. 

 

No rational reasonable person who has any knowledge of recent American history and actually makes an effort to  understand what is going on with this song should feel great when they hear it.  It's a complete indictment of America.  You may have a different notion of America, and plenty of people do, but to actually believe that this is some rollicking anthem of America's greatness is bizarre. 

 

Born down in a deadman's town

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6 hours ago, Promise61 said:

More Woke nonsense.

Anyone wanna fight over 'coon skin cap'? Yeah, I know it's shorthand for racoon, but still, there must be some Wokies looking to be offended on someone else's behalf.

Woke nonsense? By who? 

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51 minutes ago, Jimmy James said:

EAST BERLIN 1988. An Anthem was sang! 

 

Jimmy...so you think he sang this song in Berlin just so they could hear the chorus & chant RAH RAH USA, communism's dead? I want to make sure I'm understanding your take correctly...I know you know the lyrics to the song Jimmy....but still, you think this is a "feel good" "anthem"?...Tell me if I'm wrong, sincerely....

You know what? Damn this fucking song. This song should've been buried a long time ago. It's abso-fucking-lutely crazy we're still debating this song's message 37 fucking years after its release, & that it's considered Springsteen best known song...all because of the jingoistic chorus. Nice going Bruce. Great repeating refrain. 

 

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21 minutes ago, JustDan said:

Jimmy...so you think he sang this song in Berlin just so they could hear the chorus & chant RAH RAH USA, communism's dead? I want to make sure I'm understanding your take correctly...I know you know the lyrics to the song Jimmy....but still, you think this is a "feel good" "anthem"?...Tell me if I'm wrong, sincerely....

You know what? Damn this fucking song. This song should've been buried a long time ago. It's abso-fucking-lutely crazy we're still debating this song's message 37 fucking years after its release, & that it's considered Springsteen best known song...all because of the jingoistic chorus. Nice going Bruce. Great repeating refrain. 

 

Dan my brother don't get so upset, that makes no sense. 

OK, I'm hoping I get my Bruce history right here, if I'm wrong or need some adjusting please do so. I believe before that East Berlin show, the promoter and government told Bruce "Born in the USA" was off limits. But Bruce felt the need to play it anyway. I "think" he needed to play it because of the people there needed to feel some kind freedom. Did you hear that crowd!  

BTW: Dancin in the Dark is his best known song! :P

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4 hours ago, Jimmy James said:

Dan my brother don't get so upset, that makes no sense. 

OK, I'm hoping I get my Bruce history right here, if I'm wrong or need some adjusting please do so. I believe before that East Berlin show, the promoter and government told Bruce "Born in the USA" was off limits. But Bruce felt the need to play it anyway. I "think" he needed to play it because of the people there needed to feel some kind freedom. Did you hear that crowd!  

BTW: Dancin in the Dark is his best known song! :P

So what about other anthems? Is Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner an athem? Is it patriotic? It all depends on the listener: 

For me, growing up (9 YO) I really only knew the chorus to BITUSA, now knowing the full story, I don't really understand how someone who at least casually understands the lyrics can be there screaming and cheering the chorus, I get the feeling and it wash over you, but you're cheering on a guy who made mistakes never really owned up to them and now blames the gov't for all their problems. Yes, the gov't has caused a few of them but in an age where work is leaving the country it's either up or out, develop some new skills, don't just complain that it's gone.

Just my take. I am not trying to take the political route here, and we'll all still be fighting over the grass is green v. blue in the end, so maybe we should just let this debate die.

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1 minute ago, zzcoolness said:

So what about other anthems? Is Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner an athem? Is it patriotic? It all depends on the listener: 

For me, growing up (9 YO) I really only knew the chorus to BITUSA, now knowing the full story, I don't really understand how someone who at least casually understands the lyrics can be there screaming and cheering the chorus, I get the feeling and it wash over you, but you're cheering on a guy who made mistakes never really owned up to them and now blames the gov't for all their problems. Yes, the gov't has caused a few of them but in an age where work is leaving the country it's either up or out, develop some new skills, don't just complain that it's gone.

Just my take. I am not trying to take the political route here, and we'll all still be fighting over the grass is green v. blue in the end, so maybe we should just let this debate die.

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Just now, zzcoolness said:
2 minutes ago, zzcoolness said:

So what about other anthems? Is Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner an athem? Is it patriotic? It all depends on the listener: 

For me, growing up (9 YO) I really only knew the chorus to BITUSA, now knowing the full story, I don't really understand how someone who at least casually understands the lyrics can be there screaming and cheering the chorus, I get the feeling and it wash over you, but you're cheering on a guy who made mistakes never really owned up to them and now blames the gov't for all their problems. Yes, the gov't has caused a few of them but in an age where work is leaving the country it's either up or out, develop some new skills, don't just complain that it's gone.

Just my take. I am not trying to take the political route here, and we'll all still be fighting over the grass is green v. blue in the end, so maybe we should just let this debate die.

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@Daisey Jeep may kill me for this, but there are people who find RAtM songs as anthems, yes it may include Tommy Commie, however those are different people who see things from different ways. What good is telling them it's anti-whatever when they'll continue to tell you it's not. Same w/ JJ here arguing it's a good/bad anthem is getting us nowhere.

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6 hours ago, zzcoolness said:

 Same w/ JJ here arguing it's a good/bad anthem is getting us nowhere.

I don't think he's arguing - others are telling him he shouldn't think as he thinks. He's just stating his opinion.

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14 hours ago, High Lonesome said:

The reason I like the song is because it's a good rock song, and that's most likely why the vast majority likes the song. I've been to more than one party where people fist pump the air and yell the chorus to Born in the U.S.A. (I'm Swedish btw), and I don't think anyone in that room thought so much more about it at the moment.

Now, when it comes to the lyrics I've always looked at it as a song that is both critical of the American invasion of Vietnam, and how the veterans where treated when they came back home. Is there really much more to it?

Nope

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When in doubt about the lyrics, rather than relying on some doubtfull personal comment I rather try to rely on the what Writers (from books, magazine, blogs, ...) would say about some hanging Springsteen topics (for example the ever embarassing bullet mic nobody seems to understand but to dislike). Regarding the BIUSA song, I guess we can relay on the Brian Hiatt account in his books to get a more accurate and objective description:

"On the oak writing table in his Colts Neck, New Jersey, house, Springsteen had a screenplay called Born in the U.S.A., sent his way by the film director Paul Schrader. Soon after writing “Vietnam,” Springsteen nicked the title of the script and began to transform the song. The first chorus he wrote rhymed “born in the U.S.A.” with a soon-to-be-discarded line sardonically saluting “the American way.” His reading of American history had recently included the 1979 book Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia (a paperback copy shows up in photographer Frank Stefanko’s 1982 shots of Springsteen’s house), and one draft of the new song feels like private venting over what he learned. After marveling that Nixon never spent a day in prison, Springsteen suggests an alternative punishment: They should have “cut off his balls,” he sings (really). This draft also makes clear, in case anyone ever really doubted it, that the reference to being sent off to fight “the yellow man” in the final song was intended as an antiracist statement. They wouldn’t treat “the white man that way,” he sings, while musing over what it felt like to be Cambodian and witness the horror of bombs “falling like rain.” Other drafts show how skilled Springsteen had become at editing and compression; we learn a lot more about the refinery, down to a description of its pollution blanketing the town, material that only merits a hint in the final song."

1980-1983-nebraska-sessions-0005.jpg.82112fb0c58a42ac4e6e8a82527080e4.jpg

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/bruce-springsteen-wrote-born-in-usa-exclusive-book-excerpt-811634/

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At the end of the day, it's as simple as the lyrics were overshadowed synth riff. Personally, I dont like the song lyrically or instrumentally. I feel like the song Devils and Dust, which is also somewhat of an anti-war song, does a better job of getting the message across that he intended and is a better song overall.

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1 hour ago, el sergio said:

When in doubt about the lyrics, rather than relying on some doubtfull personal comment I rather try to rely on the what Writers (from books, magazine, blogs, ...) would say about some hanging Springsteen topics (for example the ever embarassing bullet mic nobody seems to understand but to dislike). Regarding the BIUSA song, I guess we can relay on the Brian Hiatt account in his books to get a more accurate and objective description:

"On the oak writing table in his Colts Neck, New Jersey, house, Springsteen had a screenplay called Born in the U.S.A., sent his way by the film director Paul Schrader. Soon after writing “Vietnam,” Springsteen nicked the title of the script and began to transform the song. The first chorus he wrote rhymed “born in the U.S.A.” with a soon-to-be-discarded line sardonically saluting “the American way.” His reading of American history had recently included the 1979 book Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia (a paperback copy shows up in photographer Frank Stefanko’s 1982 shots of Springsteen’s house), and one draft of the new song feels like private venting over what he learned. After marveling that Nixon never spent a day in prison, Springsteen suggests an alternative punishment: They should have “cut off his balls,” he sings (really). This draft also makes clear, in case anyone ever really doubted it, that the reference to being sent off to fight “the yellow man” in the final song was intended as an antiracist statement. They wouldn’t treat “the white man that way,” he sings, while musing over what it felt like to be Cambodian and witness the horror of bombs “falling like rain.” Other drafts show how skilled Springsteen had become at editing and compression; we learn a lot more about the refinery, down to a description of its pollution blanketing the town, material that only merits a hint in the final song."

1980-1983-nebraska-sessions-0005.jpg.82112fb0c58a42ac4e6e8a82527080e4.jpg

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/bruce-springsteen-wrote-born-in-usa-exclusive-book-excerpt-811634/

I read this yesterday.  None of the things this guy actually talks about are in the released version of the song.  No one who hears BITUSA has any idea of any of this so none of it has any bearing on the song.  His discussion of the racial aspect of the song is ridiculous.  There is no indication in the song as it was released that ‘yellow man’ is antiracist. 
 

i don’t think Springsteen was a racist when he wrote the song.  He was simply creating a character who had adopted a common view of a war time enemy.  Also, he needed a word to rhyme with ‘jam’, ‘hand’, and ‘land’ and yellow MAN sorta works. ;) 

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Teacher :

''Morning class your first lesson today is history nope sorry I do apologise class its '' changing & destroying 

history '' now have you all brought your matches that  I asked you to bring ? that good.

right then this morning it will be books that we burn and we will dance around the fire then this afternoon its evil L.P's to melt  and written lyric music books to 

tear up and tomorrow we talk about the devil folk who wrote the evil stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

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On 9/18/2021 at 7:31 AM, High Lonesome said:

The reason I like the song is because it's a good rock song, and that's most likely why the vast majority likes the song. I've been to more than one party where people fist pump the air and yell the chorus to Born in the U.S.A. (I'm Swedish btw), and I don't think anyone in that room thought so much more about it at the moment.

Now, when it comes to the lyrics I've always looked at it as a song that is both critical of the American invasion of Vietnam, and how the veterans where treated when they came back home. Is there really much more to it?

good NZ perspective :)

(we actually have much in common with Scandinavians)

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19 hours ago, Floom2 said:

I read this yesterday.  None of the things this guy actually talks about are in the released version of the song.  No one who hears BITUSA has any idea of any of this so none of it has any bearing on the song.  His discussion of the racial aspect of the song is ridiculous.  There is no indication in the song as it was released that ‘yellow man’ is antiracist. 
 

i don’t think Springsteen was a racist when he wrote the song.  He was simply creating a character who had adopted a common view of a war time enemy.  Also, he needed a word to rhyme with ‘jam’, ‘hand’, and ‘land’ and yellow MAN sorta works. ;) 

i do feel some sympathy for @Tenthavenuefreezeout

 

im.not reading he reads/hears it as such so much as others in his country misunderstands Bruce, modern Bruce probably isnt on their radar so 35 year old words are coming off out of context and racist 

its a hard road to be the only Bruce Springsteen fan you know

 

 

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