19 November 2011

An Essential Album: Bruce Springsteen, and any guy with the guts to fall in love, need to be "Tougher than the Rest"

Editor's Note: My computer crashed; my warranty uncrashed it. My bad; sorry, mates; nuff said. We Are Back!

In the "official video", below, Mr. Springsteen (hereinafter "Bruce") sticks to his trademark visual simplicity. For with Bruce, as with a long tradition reaching back to Lao Tsu, less is more. The songwriter lures us back to a time -- a time in the 1950s and early 60s -- when carnival rides capture the part of our love lives now filled by the automobile back seat.

So let's take the ride with Bruce, see how the transition, for him, from supermodel wife to soul and band member Patti Scalfia (duet and harmony vocals here).

Tunnel of Love (1987) is Bruce's advice diary on the sublime finding a partner and losing a wife. In other words, life.

Tougher than the Rest is a how-to win-the-girl-with-your-blue-collar-cool track that teaches us everything we need to know about if you are gonna win that girl of your dreams across the bar:
.... Well it aint no secret Ive been around a time or two
Well I dont know baby maybe youve been around too
Well theres another dance all you gotta do is say yes
And if youre rough and ready for love honey Im tougher than the rest ...

Another Note: Personally I'm not crazy about the plodding arrangement of the studio version of the song on Tunnel of Love. Not only is this live video better, but Emmylou Harris and Everything Thing But the Girl have also done essenially definitive covers.

This song, my friend, is gonna last. And gives you a taste of why this album is essential.

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