Monday, February 27, 2012

Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen

In about two weeks Bruce Springsteen is releasing his newest album Wrecking Ball. The first single “We Take Care Of Our Own” came out a couple weeks ago and I discussed the power of this song in this earlier post.  One of the fascinating things about this album is that the title track is almost three years old.  

“Wrecking Ball” was written to commemorate the closing of Giant Stadium. This song and the shows Springsteen played there served as one last hurrah for that legendary stadium. So why is a song about a football field the title track to Springsteen’s 17th studio album? Because, like with most of his songs, this song is about so much more than what it seems.

The first time I heard this song I thought it was simply a way for Bruce to see how many times he could feature the word “ball” in this song (which by my count is 45, heehee, ball). And no, I am not a 5th grader but I do teach them and some of their humor rubs off on me. Once I got over my initial fits of giggling what Bruce lays out in the first two verse is pretty much a tribute to Giant stadium.

Bruce makes references to  New Jersey, the Meadowlands and past championships. While reminiscing about these memories Bruce calls on to the imminent destruction of a wrecking ball. Maybe it’s bravado or maybe it’s something deeper.  However as he sings “hold tight to your anger, don’t’ fall to your fear,” the song becomes very different.

Something he loves, this stadium is being destroyed and only if he stays angry can he stand up to the destruction of everything he loves. In the last verse, Bruce talks about a game that is already decided while “your best hopes and desire are scattered through the wind.” Then he repeats, “hard times come, and hard times go,” over and over. The conclusion he comes to is that they will simply come again.

This stadium is our lives; everything we build up will eventually be torn down. Hard times will keep coming.  The wrecking balls in our lives are inevitable. So what do you do? Let fear overcome you? No, you’ve got to hold tight to the great memories of the past and know that after the destruction you can rebuild.

Life isn’t reliving and maintaining past triumphs. It’s about building up to new ones. By screaming, “bring on that wrecking ball,” we’re saying that we’re ready to move on.  We want that destruction to plow through our lives so that we can start again and achieve something greater than we could ever imagine.

"We Take Care Of Our Own" asks us about what it means to care for people in our lives while "Wrecking Ball" challenges us to face the trials of life with hope and strength.  I can't imagine what else Bruce has to tell us with this new album, but I can't wait to find out.

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