THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON has never been a site limited to Hoyas coverage, and as the dog days of August take hold of our souls with the Hoyas season still months away, we now take a look at one of the site's biggest passions, the catalog of Bruce Springsteen.
Georgetown alum @ManvilleHoya, who you all should be following on twitter, has reviewed each and every Bruce song on his twitter feed over the past couple of years and has now come up with his rankings of Bruce's releases.
As promised, here are my rankings for Springsteen's releases. Covers are included, as they are part of the canon as far as I'm concerned. Songs in the Top 25 have accompanying live evidence of their greatness.
A couple notes on this whole endeavor, which took about 18 months in total. My ranking system has been unscientific- I'd review a daily song, then find a place in my Springsteen list word document that was after a song I liked more but before a song I liked less. I didn't compare each song to the next, so that could lead to a cascade effect where some songs ended up much lower than they should. That's why I've been very receptive to constructive feedback on placement. That being said, this is my list, and when I feel strongly about a song's placement, such as "Adam Raised A Cain" being very low or a lot of the acoustic album stuff falling below 200, I'll stand by it. It's not that I don't like acoustic; it's that I don't like these acoustic songs as much as the stuff that rocks. I turn to the immortal words of The Nature Boy as response.
Finally, here is my top five to complete the list.
1. Rosalita- This is the last song on every party mix I've ever made. It reminds me of being on the precipice of something great and the electricity that comes with being so positioned. No song makes me happier when it comes on, and that ultimately is what gave it the top slot.
"Now, I know your mama, she don't like me 'cause I play in a rock and roll band
And I know your daddy, he don't dig me, but he never did understand
Your papa lowered the boom, he locked you in your room
I'm coming to lend a hand
I'm coming to liberate you, confiscate you, I want to be your man
Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny
But now you're sad, your mama's mad
And your papa says he knows that I don't (have any money)
Whoa, your papa says he knows (that I don't have any money)
Whoa, so your daddy says he knows I don't have (Papa says he knows that I don't have any money)
Well, tell him this is his last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance
Because the record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance
And my tires were slashed and I almost crashed, but the Lord had mercy
And my machine, she's a dud, out stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of Jersey
Well, hold on tight, stay up all night, 'cause Rosie, I'm comin' on strong
By the time we meet the morning light, I will hold you in my arms
I know a pretty little place in Southern California down San Diego way
There's a little café where they play guitars all night and all day
You can hear 'em in the back room strummin'
So hold tight, baby, 'cause don't you know daddy's comin"
2. Thunder Road- It was tough putting "Thunder Road" at #2. It's a nearly perfect song, and we sing it to PGS at bedtime every night. It's like ranking your favorite children at this point.
"You can hide 'neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a saviour to rise from these streets
Well now I'm no hero
All the redemption I can offer girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now ?
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow
Back your hair
Well the night's busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back
Heaven's waiting on down the tracks."
3. Backstreets- An epic tale of lost friendship, rebellion, abandonment, and ultimately nostalgia, capped with a soaring refrain. A powerful song about what we do to get by when experiencing the alienation of youth and how the memories of that time shape us forever.
"Remember all the movies, Terry
We'd go see
Trying to learn to walk like the heroes
We thought we had to be
Well after all this time
To find we're just like all the rest
Stranded in the park
And forced to confess "
4. Born to Run- Windows down, crossing the Key Bridge from Georgetown into Virginia. This is a song about defying expectations, saying goodbye to limitations, and embracing opportunity. It's Springsteen's greatest contribution to the rock canon and I already feel I'm insulting it by making it #4.
"Together Wendy we can live with the sadness
I'll love you with all the madness in my soul
Oh-oh, someday girl I don't know when
we're gonna get to that place
Where we really wanna go
and we'll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
baby we were born to run."
5. Girls In Their Summer Clothes- This placement will get the greatest pushback from the peanut gallery, but I don't care. This is a beautiful, haunting song, which skillfully modernizes a 50s sound. I don't know that a song better captures what it feels like to get older, and it contains my single favorite Springsteen lyric. I have pretty good seats for the show on 9/1 and I'll be carrying a sign for this one, hoping to hear it live for the first time.
"She went away
She cut me like a knife
Had a beautiful thing
Maybe you just saved my life
In just a glance
Down here on Magic Street
Love's a fool's dance
I ain't got much sense but I still got my feet"
6. Promised Land
8. Atlantic City
two great versions:
9. Death to My Hometown
10. American Land
11. Born in the USA
12. Tenth Avenue Freezeout
13. Jersey Girl (cover)
14. Glory Days
16. Wrecking Ball
17. 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
18. The Rising
19. The Ghost of Tom Joad
20. Independence Day
21. We Take Care of Our Own
22. Meet Me In the City
23. I'll Work For Your Love
24. The Promise
25. The River