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Thunder Road Days of Summer

July 29, 2010

The Rangers had a homecoming in Harlem late last night
And the magic rat drove his sleek machine over the jersey state line
Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge
Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain
The rat pulls into town rolls up his pants
Together they take a stab at romance and disappear down flamingo lane


“Jungleland” (Supertight black polo-era Bruce circa 1980)

Seriously, how good does this 9+ minute opus sound coming out of crappy car speakers or a jukebox after midnight? Lately, this epic about a pretty girl, a fast car, honorable thugs, nights spent getting into trouble and urban dreaming; and “Streets of Fire” are all I want to listen to as I’m walking to the light rail drinking a little afternoon beer.

Bruce has a way of telling his urban fairytales in a way that makes it feel like I have memories of the same things happening. I never really had summers the way Bruce describes them, but damn if he doesn’t hit the right core buttons that make me think I’ve seen that barefoot girl on the hood of a Dodge, or that I’ve spent my summers living like The Magic Rat. Maybe it’s because the story of Jungleland is a story I wish so badly I could have lived out in some way or shape when I was younger, that it makes me smile so much on these hot days. Living vicariously through The Boss. I still have Bruce when, inevitably, Oregon becomes overcast again in just a few short weeks. Thanks, Boss!

Bonus: Alternate version with bitchin’ “spoken word” style intro and the organ has the groove turned to 11.

I love that in the comments someone has suggested a musical about The Boss to heal our GDP. I mean, why not? Let’s pitch it.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2010 6:21 pm

    Clearly it should be titled Tenth Avenue Freezeout and have muses like the ones from Hercules narrating the story.

  2. July 30, 2010 12:41 am

    Nobody has a way of making New Jersey sound both tough and romantic the way The Boss can do. He is a Full Metal Alchemist!

    I think if I stop to analyze just what’s going on with Mr. Springsteen, I would say that he surely tapped into a vein of deep meaning that resonated with a lot of people. I’m not even sure Bruce himself had summers quite the way he sings about them (ok, he definitely had more than a few nights, but even this Asbury Juke must have had a few strikeouts)! But between the story, the phrasing of it to the music and the fantastic pure rock tracks he laid it all down to, it’s an experience we all would have wanted.

    Bruce Springsteen is right at the corner of being an adolescent and not having the responsibilities of paying rent, buying groceries and doing the laundry… and being old enough to drive, party, lust after the opposite sex and occasionally score… Or, to put it another way, where a whole lot of people would love to spend their entire lives, even if that meant spending it in Jersey!

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