I’ve been listening almost exclusively to Bruce Springsteen since last Wednesday. Let me tell you about how this has come to pass.
So I was reading this thing over at Stereogum, “Edgy and Dull: 20 Covers of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire,’ Rated.” I’m pretty sure I saw it promoted on Facebook. I clicked on it because I’m a person who keeps a list of my favorite Springsteen covers and I wanted to see if my picks for “I’m On Fire” were on the list. They were. I listened to the covers by Chromatics and Bat For Lashes a few times. I wished I could sing “I’m On Fire” at karaoke, which got me thinking about Springsteen songs that I could maybe sing at karaoke, which landed me at Patti Smith’s “Because the Night.”
Springsteen started writing “Because the Night” while recording his fourth album, Darkness On the Edge of Town. He gave the song to Smith, who reworked it for her album, Easter. I know this because I have watched the The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story, a documentary about the making of Darkness on the Edge of Town Story included in a box set reissue of the same name. One of my favorite scenes is Springsteen sitting at the piano, working on “Because the Night,” looking at a notebook with handwritten lyrics as he bangs on the keys. I watched this documentary with my dad in 2010, on Christmas morning, shortly after he’d unwrapped the box set.
I should mention at this point that my dad is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. The memories I have of driving in any of the family cars we’ve had over the years, windows down, listening to The Boss are innumerable. Most of our Christmas celebrations include a loud singalong to Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s live recording of “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” If it weren’t for his fandom, I very highly doubt that I could name the original lineup of the E Street Band, that the never-included-on-an-album “Thundercrack” would be my favorite Springsteen song, or that I would have seen Springsteen live more than any other artist.
Anyway, I was trying to find the clip of Springsteen playing “Because the Night” in this documentary, which got me to listening to Darkness on the Edge of Town, which I’ve probably listened to a million times because I think my dad has had it in his car’s CD changer for the past ten years. But I don’t think I ever really listened to it, because I never thought anything about it – like, as an album – until this past week. And what I think now is that I love it and it might be my favorite Springsteen album. It does include a lot of my favorite Springsteen songs.
Here is one:
One last one:
Once I realized that, I started making a Spotify playlist of all of my favorite Springsteen songs, which I’ve been adding to – and listening to – since Friday. I subjected my friends to this playlist on Saturday, while we were driving through Brooklyn on our way back from the beach. (Actually, I started playing it when I had run out of fun-timey playlists while we were sitting in traffic on one block in Bed-Stuy for about 30 minutes because of a street festival.) I’ve been listening to it on the subway. I’ve been listening to it at work. Basically, I’ve been listening to it…a lot.
So I guess hit me up if you want my playlist, which I will be guarding carefully until it’s totally finished. There’s no better music for the last few weeks of summer than Bruce Springsteen. If you don’t believe me, ask my dad.