1. “You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart”
I was born shortly after the release of “Dancing In The Dark” and was fortunate enough to be raised by two fanatic Bruce Springsteen fans. I remember being about 11 years old when my dad sat me down on the couch, put a VHS tape in the VCR player and I watched in awe as Courtney Cox danced on stage with a young Bruce Springsteen. I wanted to be her, up there dancing with Bruce—I still do.
“Dancing In The Dark” is the kind of song that takes you everywhere you go, and picks you up when you’re wallowing in self-pity. It tells you that sometimes, not only are your problems petty, dissatisfaction can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unless you shake off your lethargy, you’re never going to succeed in the dreams you’re chasing—you may never get to dance on stage with Bruce (although I’ve checked and dancing in front of your bedroom mirror in your underpants to “Dancing In The Dark” is just as satisfying).
2. “’Mother, still your tears, for remember the soul of the universe willed a world and it appeared’”
The charm of Bruce is that he’s always reminding us that we don’t have it so bad, to keep on chasing the horizon. Here, Bruce makes the world bigger than the individual (even bigger than Jesus, which is quite a feat). It exists for us, but not because of us, and maybe, just maybe, it exists for some cosmic reason beyond our reckoning.
3. “Hey I know it’s late but we can make it if we run”
It’s never too late—but if you feel like time is taking its toll, don’t dally in following your heart.
4. “Lives on the line where dreams are found and lost, I’ll be there on time and I’ll pay the cost for wanting things that can only be found in the darkness on the edge of town”
Bruce Springsteen eats suburban dissatisfaction for breakfast. If you’re willing to lurk in the shadows on the outskirts because you believe in something, and are willing to make sacrifices to find that something, chances are you will.
5. “’Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run”
Dead-end, back-water, daily grind getting you down? Take a ride in Bruce’s car, break free, don’t look back. There’s always more out there—it’s a huge world and it’s a wild ride if you’re brave enough to take it.
6. “Well don’t waste your time waiting… It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.”
What did I say about Bruce Springsteen eating suburban dissatisfaction for breakfast? Well, I’m pretty sure he eats it for lunch and dinner too. Life can be a trap, The Man can enslave you, but Bruce knows that as a blessed Westerner your commitment should be to living, not to surviving or a misplaced sense of propriety.
7. “Like a river that don’t know where it’s flowing, I took a wrong turn and I just kept going”
Sometimes making a mistake is the best thing you can do to break a bad cycle. Missteps aren’t necessarily bad—they’re part of the journey, part of what makes you uniquely you.
8. “Well time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days”
One day you’re going to be old and all you’re going to have left are shitty stories about getting drunk at the Lucky Dog.
9. “I’ve done my best to live the right way, ?I get up every morning and go to work each day, but your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold”
There’s an irony in living the “right way.” “Right” does not always equate with happiness—monotony will kill you, especially if you have an adventurous spirit.
10. “You can’t shut off the risk and the pain without losing the love that remains”
If we’ve learnt something today, it’s that Bruce Springsteen is inspirational. So live and love recklessly, because Bruce would. You might fall down. You might get your heart broken. But your life and love will have been all the better for your abandon.