Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Call for Reasoned Debate

Proposed: Born To Run is the greatest rock song of all time.
Wendy let me in I wanna be your friend
I want to guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs 'round these velvet rims
and strap your hands across my engines . . .

Beyond the Palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss

The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybody's out on the run tonight
but there's no place left to hide
Together Wendy we'll live with the sadness
I'll love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I don't know when
we're gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go
and we'll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
baby we were born to run

It is epic, lovelorn poetry. Discuss.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, cockgobbler. The epic, love-lorn poetry of New Jersey, maybe.

Go back to giving Gladwell and Remnick reacharounds.


(PS: The Eagles suck.)

Anonymous said...

anon 10:14, that is the funniest comment I've read in a long time.

Come on, it is rock song.

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to think that allcaps anon is really matt labash pulling pranks on the g-slaves because he's upset he wasn't asked to blog with them. this dates back to years ago when vic and jvl messed with fred barnes's fountain pen ink and blamed it on labash, who promptly ratted out the real culprits, those pranksters jvl and vic matus. i have it on good authority that weekly standard offices are a prank-a-minute joketown similar to espn sportscenter HQ.

David Polansky said...

Wrong. The lyrics are schlocky even by Springsteen standards, though it surely remains an anthem (as anyone who has been to a concert can attest) for various baby boomers who were not in fact "born to run". Born to Run is not even the best rock song on the album. Thunder Road is the contender.

Anonymous said...

Again! Again! Now you are talking about MUSIC on this blog. When you could be devoting serious intellectual energy to battling the left-wing conspiracy? WHY WILL YOU NOT ANSWER ME? It's like you're TRYING to infuriate me by refusing to address my extremely important and civil points. HOW CAN YOU NOT TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY? HOW CAN YOU CONTINUE TO POST ABOUT LIFE AND SPORTS AND CULTURE, AS IF ANY OF THAT MATTERS!


Anonymous said...

Springsteen sucks. Neil Young is the true poet of that generation:

Bruce Berry was a working man
He used to load that Econoline van.
A sparkle was in his eye
But his life was in his hands.
- Tonight's the Night (1975)

He worked in an Econoline Van reference! Let's see Mr. Jersey try that!

Seth said...

Thunder Road has been my desert island song for many years. I still get chills when I hear the opening bars. It's the perfect combination of the 3 driving forces of all great rock and roll - cars, girls, and teenage angst.

And something tells me that Springsteen would agree - after all, is there any other song that he's played so consistently over the years?

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget Mr. Bon Jovi. Also from New Jersey.

Tommy used to work on the docks
Union’s been on strike
He’s down on his’s tough, so tough
Gina works the diner all day
Working for her man, she brings home her pay
For love - for love

He works in Tommy, Gina, love, the docks, the union, and the diner. I mean, come on. THAT is poetry. Go New Jersey!

-SLJ said...

Thunder Road and Born to Run are IMNSHO fantastic, but my favorite from Springsteen is The River. Consider:
And those memories come back to haunt me
They haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don't come true?
Or is it something worse?

For me those lines are positively chilling. As for the greatest rock song of all time, that's tough to say. In the Air Tonight is a fantastic song, though it has become less of a rock song, drug down as Phil won an Oscar for a Disney Movie and edged away from artistic (think Genesis in the immediate post Peter Gabriel days) Rock and Roll and into Pop. I would chart it tops in terms of playability and overall quality of the lyrics and instrumentation.

Music is such a subjective discussion topic, so I will indulge my own narcissism and share that my favorite rock song presently is "rearviewmirror" by Pearl Jam from vs. good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Puh-lease. Sure, if the Eagles made “Born to Run,” it would be their greatest song. But this is a mediocre song by Springsteenian standards. The lyrics only work when you don’t listen to them as a whole but rather let the phrases wash over you, in and out of mumbled comprehensibility, while you drown in the droning power of the music. The more you pay attention to the lyrics as such, the less compelling the song becomes. Billy Joel could have made “Born to Run.”

I'd definitely take John Hiatt’s “Crossing Muddy Waters” or just about anything by Robert Earl Keen over this entry in the Springsteen canon.

Anonymous said...

I may be reaching back a long way but the best live R&R song has to be Johnny Winters' cover of Rock and Roll Hoochiecoo (Beware the wimpy Rick Derringer version- and yes, I'm aware he actually wrote the song).

jk said...

Sympathy For The Devil

Anonymous said...

Springsteen, yeah, that song rocks.

Then you grow up and graduate to Dwight Yoakam, who writes lyrics beyond the capability of Springsteen and Neil Young, among the others mentioned on this thread.

There's Dwight's brilliant original work, then things like his cover of Train in Vain with Ralph Stanley playing banjo and singing backup, which happens to be the most ingenious cover of ALL TIME....The song's theme is perfectly suited to bluegrass.

bob said...

Music is odd in that your mood has a lot to do with what you would label your favorite. One day maybe John Lennon's Imagine the next it might be Squeeze's Tempted.

Sarah said...

hard to pick a favorite Springsteen song, though I think I'd have to say The River for best lyrics and Thunder Road for best overall. But this point in Born to Run

The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive

always gets me.

Anonymous said...

Please, best song on the album is neither Born to Run NOR Thunder Road. It's Jungleland. And the best Springsteen song begins as follows:

Sandy the fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight
Forcin' a light into all those stoned-out faces left stranded on this Fourth of
Down in town the circuit's full with switchblade lovers so fast so shiny so
And the wizards play down on Pinball Way on the boardwalk way past dark
And the boys from the casino dance with their shirts open like Latin lovers
along the shore
Chasin' all them silly New York girls

Sandy the aurora is risin' behind us
The pier lights our carnival life forever
Love me tonight for I may never see you again
Hey Sandy girl

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but Sweet Jane is still the best rock and roll song of all time.

Anonymous said...

Songs that are better than Born to Run:

1. Rosalita. "windows are for cheaters/chimney's for the floor/closet's are for hangers/women use the door. So use it Rosie, that's what it's there for!" If Bruce played this song as the first song of a concert, I would walk out right after he finished.

2. For You
3. Incident on 57th St.
4. Sandy (4th of July)
5. Jungleland
5. When You're Alone

AN said...

Anon 3:23,

I'm right there with you on "Rosalita," but the line is "Winners use the door."

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:23 -

I'd agree with you that Rosalita and For You are better than BtR and TR, as are (as I posted above) Sandy and Jungleland. I would also add to the list of songs better than BtR and TR the live version of The River that's included on the Live '75-'85 box set... you know the one where he talks about his bad relationship with his father when he was young, having a huge fight with his father where his father says "wait til they get you in the Army - they'll make a man out of you", getting his draft letter but failing the physical, and then when he comes home to tell his father he failed the physical, his father says "good". I have a tear in my eye just thinking about it. Great, great beginning, and the version of The River is also great.

--Anon 2:24

Anonymous said...

"Born to Run" is up there (make the thread "best rock album" and you'd have a better case). But I think I'd still take The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again."

Anonymous said...

Right on about Dwight over Bruce. Try not to let "Readin, Writin, Rte. 23" or "Bury Me" completely shatter your heart while also filling you with joy at being alive. Great, great stuff. And what about "One Time One Night" by Los Lobos? Most underappreciated rock song ever.

Anonymous said...

"He worked in an Econoline Van reference! Let's see Mr. Jersey try that!"

Nanci Griffith wrote an entire ode to an Econoline. Not sure it qualified as great rock and roll...more aging folk singer.

Seth said...

"One Time One Night" is a great song.

That Dude said...

"(PS: The Eagles suck.)" go back to the tard factory.

greatest song of all-time? "Simple Man", Skynyrd.

Matt said...

Best Springsteen song: Rosalita, as previously stated. "The record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance!"

Best Rock song ever: Sympathy for the Devil. Compelling, sexy rhythm, viciously honed guitar fills, and satanic lyrics that are simultaneously threatening and alluring. Everything that your grandparents were afraid of when your parents started buying rock records.

Anonymous said...

Surely at least half of Bob Dylan's and Neil Young's catalog is better than anything by Springsteen's sorry ass. Dylan and Young completely dominate Springsteen (and most others) in every way possible. No one can match their intelligence and poetry.

Check out Dylan's "Visions of Johanna", "Boots of Spanish Leather", "If You See Her Say Hello", "Girl of the North Country", "Most of the Time", and a boat load of others.

Check out Young's "Train of Love", "Harvest", "Winterlong",
"Danger Bird", and "Thrasher".

Also, Tom Petty has a few gems, like "Walls", "Change of Heart", "Insider", etc.

The best rock and roll comes from smart people, not from a bunch of New Jersey bums or British hacks.

Anonymous said...

C'mon folks, let's talk Rock, as in Rock-n-Roll. Pure Rock-n-Roll. Let's talk about a song that makes you feel great. That you'd be happy to be be stranded on a desert isle with. A song with great guitar. A song that other great rock bands want to cover. A song you're proud to have sent into interstellar space. Let's reach back to when Rock-n-Roll was really Rock-n-Roll. Let's...

Go go
Go Johnny go, go
Go Johnny go, go, go
Go Johnny go, go
Go Johnny go, go, go
Johnny B. Goode

Chuck Berry rocks!

Patrick O'Hannigan said...

Rock isn't just about down-and-outers in Jersey, or rebelliousness that harks back to Old Scratch. It's also about yearning, and unforgettable hooks. Ergo, let's give it up for Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman," Boston's "More Than a Feeling," and Gillian Welch's "I Wanna Sing That Rock and Roll."

IndependentMind said...

There must be SOME LEVEL at which even diehard Republicans will balk. Please define what level of political disinformation, political greed, and political incompetence is necessary for you to disown George Bush and what he stands for. I'd think reality must be getting pretty close by now.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Jersey and both SpringStein and Bon-Blowme suck

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm a Republican who disowns Bush.

BUT, Springsteen is still the lamest "rocker" of all time, the putz.