Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Out In The Street by Bruce Springsteen

The interesting thing about Springsteen’s works is that they don’t all necessarily immediately capture your attention. “Thunder Road” immediately enraptured me from the very first time I heard it and so did “Promised Land.” Other songs didn’t really speak to me until I heard them live like “Born To Run” and “Waitin’ On A Sunny Day.”

Then there’s the songs I’ve listened to that don’t really capture my imagination until one day when I become obsessed and listen to northing but that one song over and over for a week. “Out In The Streets,” was that song for me last week.

Springsteen has started selling his live shows on his website and I got his Cape Town, South Africa performance. It’s an amazing show and its great t hear Springsteen work a crowd that doesn’t necessarily react the way that he expects.

There’s so many great moments on this show but his performance of “Out In The Streets” really stood out to me.


This song has it all. It’s got that blue-collar perspective, the amazing sax solo, and the vocalized crowd response in the chorus right after “out in the street.” The lyrics don’t have any metaphors. It’s very straight forward, but there’s something so beautiful in its simplicity. Someone works all day and when they hit the streets they feel freedom. That’s it.

Like in so many other Springsteen songs, the music of “Out In The Streets,” captures the feelings of this song as much as the words. Some of the lines hold so much meaning in live performances like “in the crowd I feel at home.”

Like “Thunder Road,” this song starts with an invitation, and it’s less poetic but it’s somehow more immediate. This song puts you so quickly in a place to hope and freedom that’s very different than “Thunder Road,” or some of Springsteen’s deeper songs.

The great appeal of Springsteen is that he allows himself and his music to be different things to different people. Not every song will have the same level of appeal and accessibility. While I love analyzing his most complex lyrics, I also am in awe of a song like “Out In The Streets,” and his ability to capture a different type of feeling so effectively.

There’s this family feeling when Springsteen performs this song. When he brings everyone up to the microphone at the end it feels like a musical group hug. When Clarence comes up, it’s just beautiful. It’s hard to explain what seeing him up on the stage means, but it’s really special. There’s something profound in their friendship and the sound of his saxophone as a musical counterpoint to Springsteen’s voice.

Everything in life is worth taking a second look at. You never know when something comes alive to you in a way that you never expect.

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