February 6, 2010

The twenty best Bruce Springsteen lyrics.

If you haven't heard, I love Bruce Springsteen. I love his music, his politics, what he stands for -- pretty much everything about him.

But what he does best is lyrics. Some people call them simple, but I think he writes with a passion and honesty that few can match. He tells great stories, inventing characters that seem to hop from song to song and creating subtle backstories with nothing more than a throwaway mention.

That being said, compiling a list of the best Bruce Springsteen lyrics is a daunting task. Almost every song has a gem or two that sticks with you. Nevertheless, it's a task I feel up to. Plus, I get to spend a hungover Saturday morning listening to Bruce.

I've tried my best to forgo a lot of the generic, overused lines you'd expect to see on a list like this. So, whether you're a fanatic like myself or a newcomer to the Boss, in no particular order (picking twenty was hard enough), these are the best lines Springsteen has to offer:

"And the poets down here don't write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be."
"Jungleland" from Born to Run

"When I die, I don't want no part of heaven, I would not do heaven's work well. I pray the devil comes and takes me to stand in the fiery furnaces of hell."
"Youngstown" from The Ghost of Tom Joad

"The Daily News asks her for the dope, she says, 'Man, the dope's that there's still hope.'"
"Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?" from Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.

"I said, 'I'm hurt,' she said, 'Honey, let me heal it.'"
"Spirit in the Night" from Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.

"These days I'm feelin' alright, 'cept I can't tell my courage from my desperation."
"Local Hero" from Lucky Town

"You do some sad things, baby, when it's you you're tryin' to lose."
"Living Proof" from Lucky Town

"You'll be fine, long as your pretty face holds out, then it's gonna get pretty cold out."
"You'll Be Comin' Down" from Magic

"Love's a fool's dance, and I ain't got much sense but I still got my feet."
"Girls In Their Summer Clothes" from Magic

"I'm no prince and I can't lay the stars at your feet."
"Wings for Wheels" (the early version of "Thunder Road") from a live performance

"If I'm a fool, I'll be a fool, darling, for you."
"Countin' On A Miracle" from The Rising

"This is a town fulla losers, and baby I was born to win."
"Wings for Wheels" from a live performance

"There's a girl across the bar, I get the message she's sending. Mmm, she ain't lookin' too married; me, well, honey, I'm pretendin'."
"One Step Up" from Tunnel of Love

"You've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above."
"Tunnel of Love" from Tunnel of Love

"Come on out for just a little while, you know that heart of stone, girl, it just ain't your style."
"Where the Bands Are" from Tracks

"I just can't understand it, you're not pretty at all, but I come when you whisper, I run when you call."
"I Wanna Be With You" from Tracks

"He tried selling his heart to the hard girls over on Easy Street, but they sighed, 'Johnny, it falls apart so easy, and you know hearts these days are cheap.'"
"Incident on 57th Street" from The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle

"I ain't here for business, I'm only here for fun."
"Rosalita" from The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle

"So walk tall, or baby don't walk at all."
"New York City Serenade" from The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle

"I'm gonna sit back right easy and laugh when Scooter and the Big Man bust the city in half."
"Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" from Born to Run

"Winners use the door."
"Rosalita" from The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle


Adam said...

How could you leave out "Is a dream a lie if it don't come true? Or is it something worse?"

Niel said...

For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside.
That it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive
I want to find one face that ain't looking through me.
I want to find one place
I want to spit in the face of these badlands.

Sam said...

How could you leave out all of Thunder Road?

"There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road
In the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets"

Those lyrics are just incredible.

Andy K said...

it's a town full of losers and Im pulling out of here to win......

darthgus said...

God have mercy on a man who doubts what he's sure of