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what the hell ?lyrics of born in the usa


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9 hours ago, High Lonesome said:

Isn't it possible for a song to both be a rock anthem that works great as a show opener or something to turn on at a party AND a song with a deeper meaning with lyrics you can read while listening to it and learn to appreciate another way? I can listen to Born in the U.S.A. and sympathize with American veterans that were treated like shit, but I can also listen to it when I'm at the gym because the music gets me pumped when I deadlift etc. 

And that's not the only Bruce Springsteen song that works in more than one way. Hungry Heart is kind of a sad song about an unsatisfied man that leaves his family, but judging from live clips I've watched it doesn't seem to make people gloomy and make them contemplate over how fragile marriages can be. Even the lyrics to Cadillac Ranch is basically about the inevitability of death, and that's one of Bruce's most popular part songs and when I watch liveclips from it being played in the eighties, it's just joyful to watch, even if I'm  aware what the lyrics really are about. 

The same goes for other artists and bands as well. I mean, Bad Moon Rising is about the apocalypse but I sure don't mind putting it on when I'm in a good mood.

Spot on! Depending on the time and place, sometimes it’s just about the tune.

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23 hours ago, JustDan said:

I cannot fathom anyone with a modicum of logic who is familiar with the lyrics could conclude this is a happy, uplifting song. I think putting this song out as a full-band rocker lead people (mostly casual radio listeners) to believe this was a fist-pumping, flag-waving anthem. All they heard was that refrain. If Springsteen has kept the original sparse acoustic version released on the 'Tracks' set 14 years later, the song would not have suffered the misrepresentation/misappropriation it suffered. I understand why he did it, but as a result, the song suffered.

Yeah, but that acoustic version is as boring as hell. No wonder he threw the band at it.

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29 minutes ago, Promise61 said:

Yeah, but that acoustic version is as boring as hell. No wonder he threw the band at it.

One man's coffee is another man's cup of mud.

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Didn't Bruce say that the reason he was initially reluctant to make videos was that he wanted listeners to be free to interpret songs as they wished (or words to that effect)?

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Every time I've heard BITUSA performed live at a show, it's been ferociously angry.  Difficult to interpret the mood as celebratory.  That doesn't mean you can't sing along with it though.  But the anger doesn't come across so fiercely in the studio version.

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If it’s a misinterpreted song, that’s Bruce’s fault. He wanted to make some money and that wasn’t going to happen with that boring acoustic version. If he didn’t want it to sound like an anthem, he shouldn’t have gone for the cash. 

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On 9/21/2021 at 5:51 AM, Jimmy James said:

At a Bruce concert with this mine set 

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Bruce with my mine set 

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i think Bruce has made his peace with the misunderstanding and he is happy people are having a good time

he has had plenty of  other occasions to get his point accross 

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Sometimes I think like this:

Born in the USA is in time close to Nebraska, and still so different. The heroes of the two albums are all alienated, but it seems to me, that the heroes of Born in the USA are double-alienated: they are alienated from the society, but also alienated from the poet who performs them. If that is so, how can we understand the reason for this difference?

The poet who created Darkness tried to secure an existence for him selves by pretending he could himself overthrow the badlands and in its place establish the promised land by renunciation of the ties that bind. And he propagate this his renunciation via the heroes of the album. But in the end the poet experienced, that the use of this mean did not give him an existence, instead it threatened to dissolute him into nothingness. He then realized, that what could save him from tumbling down into this nothingness was the ties that bind. Hence in the River the heroes a) propagate the necessity of the ties that bind (The Ties That Bind ), b) despises the idea of his earlier propagation of the one mans fight for a promised land (The Price You Pay), and c) lend his voice to people, who, seemingly unlike him selves, not by an voluntary act, but by socioeconomic circumstances lost the ties that bind (The River).

But his new mean is not enough. For he is, as a poet that tries to tie the binds that ties, still a poet. And as a poet he still is forsaking. What, then, is he forsaking? Well, a real life. A non-poet life. He sees, that he in the poet is just as alienated from a real life, as is the heroes of Nebraska. And so he finds that he in that, in which he during his whole life has tried fo find his existence, namely the poet, is prevented from acquiring a real existence. To really exist, he has to escape his narrow existence in the Poet. This contradiction is his existential crisis.

He tries to work his way out of this crisis by freeing himself from his prison: the poet. But who is he outside the poet? Outside the poet a life can consists in having a family, friends and income. Is this what he wants? Anyway, he wants to be free from him selves as Poet. Because as a Poet he lives via his heroes, and he wants to live with walking, talking human beings, not to be confined to live with and through his heroes. And so he tries to create a life in which his heroes are no longer necessary for his existence. He openly turns his back to them. They no longer speaks through him, he speaks through them. He is permanent in the center of it all, and his heroes, well they come and go. They are his servants, he not theirs. He performs them with haste, without inanimateness. Not they, but he is dancing in the dark.

And so he may for a moment imagine that he is free. It seems to him, as if his own life is the base for his heroes, not as if his heroes still is the base for his life. But of course, in reality he now is his own hero that he as a poet creates. And so he will in the end experience, that he himself as this poet-hero is in contradiction with himself, and with contrasting solemnity he later on has to confess: two faces have I.

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On 9/18/2021 at 1:12 PM, 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 dismiss your comments about 'this guy', because this Rolling Stone article is part of "The Stories Behind the Songs", one of the best Springsteen related books from the last 10 years. Regarding the 'yellow man' anti-racist remark, another indication is this early verse:

Richard Nixon’s on the lam
After dropping bombs on the yellow man
I don’t care what shit they say
They wouldn’t bomb a white man that way
Not a day in prison did he spend
They should have cut off his balls and let them twist in the wind

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2 hours ago, el sergio said:

I dismiss your comments about 'this guy', because this Rolling Stone article is part of "The Stories Behind the Songs", one of the best Springsteen related books from the last 10 years. Regarding the 'yellow man' anti-racist remark, another indication is this early verse:

Richard Nixon’s on the lam
After dropping bombs on the yellow man
I don’t care what shit they say
They wouldn’t bomb a white man that way
Not a day in prison did he spend
They should have cut off his balls and let them twist in the wind

This is the stuff that I back then, after Nebraska, was expecting to be on the upcoming record Born in the USA.

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On 9/20/2021 at 5:16 AM, Jimmy James said:

What is the purpose of Bruce's music? I think I actually started a thread about this topic.

A. Fun, Happy and hopeful!

B. Unhappy, depressed, hopeless.

I prefer A.

I think I heard Bruce talk about Born In The USA sometime and I believe that he said then that you have to be able to keep several ideas in your head at the same time. I assume (as a Swedish person) that you're brought up being told of how lucky you are to be born in such a great country as the U.S. and you hear about all the ideals of freedom and justice but then this character, while still being just a kid, gets shipped off to the other side of the world to witness the U.S. "liberating" a country. Bombs falling. Young people, kids, dying on both sides. Lives destroyed. The contrast between the ideals and the reality. That's what this song is. That's what Bruce claims to have spent his life as a songwriter and poet describing... the gap between the American dream and the American reality. 

As I said, you have to be able to keep several ideas in your head at the same time. There can be no light without darkness. Look at songs like Badlands, The Promised Land and Born To Run for example. The core message of those songs is that things are pretty shit right now but someday we might reach some sort of higher potential. Someday we'll get out of here and find something better than the cards we've been dealt. Bruce songs aren't simply about hope, they're about finding hope in the darkness. This I relate strongly to. Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode and tear this whole town apart, sometimes I feel that I just want to find one face that isn't looking through me, that I want to find someplace I belong, someplace where I can spit in the face of these badlands. 

When I feel bad I don't listen to Bruce because I want to pretend that everything is good and hear someone sing about having no troubles. When I feel like shit I listen to Bruce and the music just hits me in the deepest part of my soul because he's telling me about how shitty he feels. There is a connection and I can relate to the pain and I feel that can be a stronger connection than just relating to happiness. It's not some sad and gloomy, feeling sorry for myself, "everything is so bad" approach but it is the addressing of reality.

In this dark chaos of all the negative feelings however Bruce manages to create something even bigger when he manages to instill hope. He creates hope in the darkness. The hope that there just is a chance that things are going to get better. The idea that "heaven is waiting down on the tracks", that "we'll keep pushing until it's understood and these badlands start treating us good", that "I ain't a boy, no I'm a man" and that I can "believe in a promised land". The message he gets across strikes so deep on so many layers because it addresses the hope, the pain, the love and the sorrow simultaneously. 

Then there are songs like Born In The USA and Darkness On The Edge of Town which have different messages. These songs focus on the things that are bad and the things that feel bad and are a reflection upon these things. An attempt to come to some wise conclusions based on looking at the problems from the characters´ perspective. 

Born In The USA is a powerful song and I do feel that the original album version has a lot of weight and depth in many ways. The other versions manage to achieve weight and depth through a more appropriate approach to the verses and the story being told but there is something about Max´s mighty drumming, the simple synth riff and Bruce´s gut wrenching vocals that gives it a sense of "heavy-ness" if you ask me. I would never see it as a happy and inspiring anthem. It's an angry protest song. ANGRY. I feel angry when I listened to it and that is when the drums and the vocals make sense. It's supposed to piss you off. Bruce is not singing about how happy he is to be born in the usa he is singing about his friends who got shipped off to Vietnam to go die in the service of a bullshit war for no reason along with hundreds of other american kids and the vietnamese homes and families that got destroyed. It's worth listening to because of its heavy message but if I was Bruce I would also be ashamed of how misinterpreted the song has been and I would feel really sad over people abusing what is a strong and powerful message and perverting it into a stupid "YEAAH AMEERICAA #1!!!!!" thing. 

If anyone feels like it is an uplifting anthem to them then I have no right to say that they're wrong for feeling that way. However there is something much bigger and deeper to be found in it. To me the music that Bruce makes manages to capture so many aspects of the human spirit and that is the power of music. It creates something bigger than simple words or sounds could ever do on their own. 

It's been a long time since I last sat up and wrote a bunch on this forum late at night but I have to get up in about seven hours and I know that I need way more than eight so I'm just gonna try to sleep really hard and then I might be able to compensate for the amount of time I should have spent sleeping. 

Goodnight Europe, good day/evening America and good morning Australia. 

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I tried to explain the two faces of Born in the USA as an expression of Mr. Springsteens struggle to escape from himself as an absolute artist (his goal up to and including Nebraska) and to create a civil life outside rock n roll. Now, after I have read Mumfords text, I can wery well imagine, that the songs ambivalence between text and music can be looked upon also as an commentary on how we, not only in the USA, but also in Europe and the rest of the rich world, are enticed not to acknowledge what we deep inside know is true. We want to escape the guilt we feel, will not face, that we are part of an order that let people starve, although there is food for everyone, that wages war and commits crimes against humanity because we feel that our "superior" way of life is threatened and so on. So we are looking for amnesia. And so Mr. Spring-steen song is an apt lesson: we choose to look upon it as an anthem (for what we deep inside know is a lie), and do not bother about the disturbing message of the text. Looked upon Born in the USA in this way, it is an Trojan horse. Without this perspective, I prefer the version given by Floom2, with it I see the merits of the ambivalence of the studio version.

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On 9/20/2021 at 3:20 PM, Jimmy James said:

 

When Born in the USA comes up on the Radio, Ipod and or in concert. I singing with it and at a show I'm bouncing with it. I'm just a happy kind of guy. 

Really, if you go to a Bruce show, and knowing the meaning of some of the songs like BITUSA, Dancin in the Dark, Cadillac Ranch, Badlands, Darkness, WOASD, and many others, are you just going to sit or stand there and say what a depressing tune, I'm just going to sit or stand here and think about it? Or will you be enjoying the music as presented and bounce and sing along? I do the second. 

I have too much real life to deal with everyday, to let it get involved into my music I listen to. 

There are three classes of readers; some enjoy without judgment; others judge without enjoyment; and some there are who judge while they enjoy, and enjoy while they judge. The latter class reproduces the work of art on which it is engaged. Its numbers are very small.

Goethe

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14 minutes ago, Jimmy James said:

I'm going to crawl in my hole and die! Because I'm so upset. 

 

Some folks, when they are upset, choose to crawl into a hole and die.  Some, when they are upset, choose to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, preach the word, fight the power, make art.  The choice is yours.

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5 minutes ago, clemente3000 said:

Some folks, when they are upset, choose to crawl into a hole and die.  Some, when they are upset, choose to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, preach the word, fight the power, make art.  The choice is yours.

And your choice was........? 

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34 minutes ago, clemente3000 said:

Some folks, when they are upset, choose to crawl into a hole and die.  Some, when they are upset, choose to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, preach the word, fight the power, make art.  The choice is yours.

Or to put it differently:

Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece.  Some guys come home from work and wash up and go racing in the street.

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On 9/28/2021 at 9:30 PM, Jimmy James said:

Look at all the depressed people! 

To be patriotic, Bruce Springsteen suggests with the song’s unsparing story, requires devotion to the standards on which the country was founded. When we as a nation fail in that regard, anyone singing along to the massive refrains of “Born In The U.S.A.” must do so with a sense of ironic disgust instead of swelling pride.

Counting Down Bruce Springsteen: His 100 Finest Songs,Jim Beviglia

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On 9/28/2021 at 3:16 PM, clemente3000 said:

Some folks, when they are upset, choose to crawl into a hole and die.  Some, when they are upset, choose to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, preach the word, fight the power, make art.  The choice is yours.

The other choice is to buy your daughter a million dollar ‘orse 

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4 hours ago, el sergio said:

To be patriotic

Something else.

In a mid-80s interview Bruce said 'I am a patriot; that flag [the American flag] is also my flag'. [i.e. it can not exclusive be claimed by those who pretend to be 'the real Americans'; the flag belongs to all Americans].

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Artists have amended lyrics over time that don't hold up, or were in poor taste to begin with.  Paul Anka overhauled "She's a Lady" (a hit for Tom Jones) to remove chauvinistic sentiments.  And Bono's original line in Do They know it's Christmas was changed in more recent performances.

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