Bruce Springsteen is one of my personal favorite singers of all time. He also has been an inspiration to many Americans (and beyond) for decades because of his songs that have lyrics about hardworking blue-collar workers just struggling to get by. Recently, his big album that launched his career, “Born to Run” celebrated its 40th anniversary. The eight track album is stuffed to the brim with songs about various different characters who are longing for many things. There’s at least one song, if not more, that pretty much everyone can at least kind of relate to. One of the things about Bruce Springsteen that people love is that he GETS people. At this point in his career, he was desperate for a hit record, he was longing for something. This record will continue to be a classic album that people just turn to when they need to escape or are wanting more out of life.
The record kicks off with one of my all time favorite songs by The Boss, Thunder Road. I can’t explain exactly what it is that I love about it. It’s partly the desperation and longing of the song as a whole combined with Springsteen’s gorgeous and tragic tone of voice. It also has such sad, to the point of almost being pathetic, but still relatable lyrics. You can’t help but feel sorry more for the object of Springsteen’s affection in this song, more than feel sorry for him. Why do I say this? Well, just take note of this lyrics. “You ain’t a beauty but, hey, you’re alright.” Like I’m pretty sure “Mary” (the girl he mentioned in the first line) isn’t going to appreciate just being alright. However, my favorite line of the song is definitely, “It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win.” I love this because it’s just so optimistic and hopeful, regardless of whether or not the narrator actually makes it out, he has hope and that’s enough for now.
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out has more of an upbeat tone and it’s not all that depressing of a song as a whole. It’s basically just telling the story of how the E Street Band was formed. However, it’s not exactly clear what a Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out even is. Even Springsteen himself can’t really answer that question. It’s not close to being one of my favorites but I still think it’s an important song in relation to the album. It’d feel wrong to exclude it when talking about Born to Run.
Backstreets is an interesting Springsteen song. Again, it’s not one of my favorites at all, but it’s still one that I enjoy. Since Born to Run doesn’t have all that many songs to pick from, some of these that I’m talking about aren’t ones that I’m a really huge fan of, but I think it’s a pretty decent song as a whole. It paints a very vivid picture of a friendship that turns into a relationship that doesn’t last but is still important to the narrator. I love the line, “With a love so hard and filled with defeat, running for our lives at night on them backstreets.”
The last song I have to talk about is obviously the title track and one of Springsteen’s most famous hits, “Born to Run.” Like the track Thunder Road, this one has a similar theme of longing to escape small town life. There’s just something about this song that immediately sticks with people. I think it’s the combination of the lyrics and the melody that makes it such a classic. Plus Bruce Springsteen’s voice is just filled with longing as he sings about taking Mary and leaving everything behind.
Whatever it is about Bruce Springsteen, it’s made him a classic artist who still is played on a daily basis in many homes. His fans belong to many different generations, he’s a guy that people have always cheered for. There’s something relatable and sad about his music that people just instantly click with. While the reasons may vary from person to person, Born to Run is still an album that has been a favorite of people all over the world. It’s a classic album that needs to be heard in my opinion.