10 True Things As Sung By Bruce Springsteen

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. TC mark

image – Amazon.com

More From Thought Catalog

  • Calla

    Only 10? Pretty sure there’s WAY more than that!

    I enjoyed this article and the idea–what a fantastic man.

  • Scott Southard

    Bruce is the best.  He knows how to teeter on extremely cheesy while remaining inspired and inspiring.  You feel that motherfucker in your guts.

  • http://eccentricerrant.wordpress.com/ Alexandrea

    The wisdom of Bruce Springsteen is undeniable.

  • Anonymous

    The Boss > The Buddha

  • https://unemploymentisnotsexy.wordpress.com/ To

    “been in some kinda dark cove,
    just searching for a world with some soul” …he just can’t be fucked with lyrically

  • Dan

    The Boss for Governor of New Jersey.

  • Thunder_Road

    I am a huge Boss fan. Named after the song Thunder Road and raised, like you, on the hopeless romantic wings of his wrong side of the track, long shot–no way am I perfect but I just may be worth it–brutally honest captivating poetry. I will contest to the fact that he has a way with words, and a way of delivering those words that make even the most bitter, worn out, tired old dream seem to have a little life left in it…I will agree with you that there is an undeniable truth in the things that he says, in his tone and in his delivery…however I think this article could have been written a little bit better. Your admiration for his music and for the man got in the way of the true grit of the point you were trying to make and your top 10 pieces of truths were lost to those whom really don’t know anything about his wisdom. Instead of pointing out the whole truth and power of his lyrics an what they mean to you, you sound more like a love struck teenager talking to her group of girlfriends about your current obsessive crush. 

  • Thunder_Road

    I am a huge Boss fan. Named after the song Thunder Road and raised, like you, on the hopeless romantic wings of his wrong side of the track, long shot–no way am I perfect but I just may be worth it–brutally honest captivating poetry. I will contest to the fact that he has a way with words, and a way of delivering those words that make even the most bitter, worn out, tired old dream seem to have a little life left in it…I will agree with you that there is an undeniable truth in the things that he says, in his tone and in his delivery…however I think this article could have been written a little bit better. Your admiration for his music and for the man got in the way of the true grit of the point you were trying to make and your top 10 pieces of truths were lost to those whom really don’t know anything about his wisdom. Instead of pointing out the whole truth and power of his lyrics an what they mean to you, you sound more like a love struck teenager talking to her group of girlfriends about your current obsessive crush. 

    • http://twitter.com/taylafederer Tayla Dam

      ” raised like you, on the hopeless romantic wings of his wrong side of the track, long shot–no way am I perfect but I just may be worth it–brutally honest captivating poetry. ” 
      That is the best thing I’ve ever heard

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mitch-Mitchell/16818031 Mitch Mitchell

    Bruce has an uncanny ability to deliver backhanded compliments.  In Thunder Road he says, “you ain’t a beauty but hey, you’re alright. O and that’s alright with me.”  This goes down as one of my all time favorite lyrics of any song.  Spoken like a true horny teenager, he sends the message that, yes you may be a 4 out of 10 but, you’re here and  so I guess you’ll do.  Way to go Bruce for not sugar-coating anything and way to go for wearing the hell out of those jeans.  

    • Katgeorge

      But then he also says “well, I’m no hero, that’s understood. All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood.” So he makes up for it by saying he’s a bit shit too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mitch-Mitchell/16818031 Mitch Mitchell

    Bruce has an uncanny ability to deliver backhanded compliments.  In Thunder Road he says, “you ain’t a beauty but hey, you’re alright. O and that’s alright with me.”  This goes down as one of my all time favorite lyrics of any song.  Spoken like a true horny teenager, he sends the message that, yes you may be a 4 out of 10 but, you’re here and  so I guess you’ll do.  Way to go Bruce for not sugar-coating anything and way to go for wearing the hell out of those jeans.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Timberman/922794 Steven Timberman

    I think everything that is great about America is in Bruce’s music. I know thats hyperbolic, but I’ll defend his music til the day I die. I discovered Bruce’s stuff when I was twenty and cocksure, a perfect time to suddenly binge on his work.

    And as I get older, I don’t think anyone GETS male insecurity as well as Bruce.  Has there been a better line of any song, ever, than this?

    Well Ive tried so hard baby but I just can’t see
    What a woman like you is doing with me
    So tell me what I see when I look in your eyes
    Is that you baby or just a brilliant disguise

    Great piece, Kat. Loving your recent submissions.

  • http://twitter.com/taylafederer Tayla Dam

     A Bruce Springsteen article on TC! My two favourite things. This article was a bit of a let down but I still loved it. Enjoyed the Bruce love in the comments slightly more

  • HLKPOP

    As a fan since 1973 (at the age of 9) thanks to the influence of my older brother I remember when he came home with the “Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ” record and listening to that album with him for hours on end — trying to figure out what, if anything, madman, drummers, bummers and Indians in the summer meant?!? 

    My Top 10 Truths – plus one:

    Plus one – It struck me kinda funny, seemed kinda funny sir to me, Still at the end of every hard earned day, people find some reason to believe — Reason to Believe (Nebraska)  

    I was 18 when this album came out and I was very disappointed with it at the time.  As I’ve gotten older, I realized what a rich and textured record this was and how little I knew at the time of it’s release and how far I’ve come in 30 years. 

    #10 – Poor man wanna be rich, Rich man wanna be King and the King ain’t satisfied ’til he rules everything — Badlands (Darkness on the Edge of Town)

    Very simple lesson — be happy and appreciate what you have while you have it … nothing lasts forever

    #9 – If I had one wish in this god forsaken world, It’d be that your mistakes would be your own, Yea your sins would be your own — Long Time Comin’ (Devils & Dust)

    An obscure song from an a greatly under appreciated album. Springsteen has written about people being born with the sins of the past on their backs.  This lyric is so deep and yet so simple — don’t pass on your issues to your children.  

    #8 – The only sound I hear is you whisperin’ in my ear, those words that you used to say, Now my days grow longer, cause my love grows stronger and the fever get worse everyday. — The Fever (18 Tracks)

    One of the greatest love songs never released — I’m not counting Southside Johnny’s version — the soul in this version and the longing that can be heard in Clarence’s saxophone — there’s just nothing to compare it to. 

     #7 – Now a life of leisure and a pirate’s treasure don’t make much for tragedy, But it’s a sad man my friend who’s livin’ in his own skin and can’t stand the company — Better Days (Lucky Town)

    What a wonderful turn of phrase and yet another reminder that we should appreciate what we have while we have it.

    #6 – Well now I don’t wanna be greedy, but when it comes to love that ain’t no doubt, You just ain’t gonna get what you want with one foot in bed and one foot out — All or Nothing At All (Human Touch)

    If you’re not “all in” then what’s the point?  This is great approach to take toward anything and everything you do — all out! 

    #5 – It takes a leap of faith to get things going, it takes a leap of faith you gotta show some guts, it takes a leap of faith to get things going, in your heart baby you must trust. — Leap of Faith (Lucky Town)
    Listening to this song always changes my attitude.  I can’t help but feel better and trusting that I am on the right path

    #4 – Once I was your treasure and I saw your face in every star.  The promises we make at night, oh that’s all they are, Unless we fill them with faith and love they’re as empty as the howlin’ wind. –Back in your Arms (Tracks)

    #3 – Hard times, baby well they come to us all, Sure as the tickin’ of the clock on the wall, Sure as the turnin’ of the night into day — Waiting On A Sunny Day (The Rising)

    #2 – Some say to forget the past, Some say don’t look back, but for every breath you take, you leave a track, and tho it don’t seem fair, for every smile that breaks, a tear must fall somewhere, it’s the price you pay — The Price You Pay  (The River) — alternate version

    #1 – Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny. — Rosalita (The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle)

    My favorite quote/lyric of all time — not just by Springsteen, but anything ever written.  This line has gotten me through more difficult times than I can remember.  To me, it just means that this too shall pass and it’s never as bad as it seems.

  • Tinman25

    Like these ten, but Bruce offers wise, meaningful philosophy in almost every song he writes.

    Think the songs the quotes are taken from should be added for those uninitiated to Springsteen.

blog comments powered by Disqus