Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bruce lyrics, the spinoff

The love affair between New Jersey and Bruce Springsteen is well-documented. With the possible exception of Tony Soprano, there's no Garden State native as renown nationwide than The Boss. Bruce is an icon in his homeland.

I'm wondering if he gets a free pass.

I'm not ripping the cat by any means, but I'm a little surprised that Jersey residents are blinded by the light of his stardom -- terrible pun intended. While Jersey worships Bruce, I'm not so sure the feelings were always reciprocal. Look at the following lyrics:

"It's a town full of losers, and I'm pulling out of here to win." -- Thunder Road

"This boardwalk life for me is through. You ought to quit this scene too." -- 4th of July, Asbury Park

I don't know if you noticed, but he just called Freehold a town full of fucking losers. There's not much doubt he's referring to his hometown. In Born To Run, he makes it clear he's ditching Freehold, driving down Highway 9 for the freedom of the open road. Thunder Road being the tandem piece on the same album, I think you can infer that he's talking about Freehold.

The more startling comment is the lyric from 4th of July, surprising if only because it was written in 1973, the exact time Bruce is known for embodying the essence of Jersy Shore rock. Yet here he is, long before he ever became a rock-n-roll star, proclaiming his desire to be done with the Jersey Shore scene.

Now, before you go getting your panties in a wad, I'm not saying that Bruce hates Jersey. I'm just surprised some people haven't gotten ruffled that he portrayed the place with such candor.

Perhaps I can answer my own question here a little bit. Why does he get a free pass? Part of his statewide appeal lies with the blue-collar crowd. He can rip Freehold because his dad got laid off from the same factories as the lunchpail crowd listening to his music.

And I think his yearnings for something more than Asbury Park are forgiven because, well, who the hell hasn't wanted to get out of Jersey?

I didn't want to go to Rutgers. This is not shocking. I don't think anyone at Rutgers wants to really go there. There was a universal high-school student desire to go out of state -- Penn State, Syracuse, Boston College and Maryland were the favorites, if I recall, from my particular school. Anywhere. As long as it was out of state.

Most people want to leave Jersey. It's a strange phenomenon, probably worthy of its own thread here, because I've never encountered that desperate hit-the-road-and-get-the-fuck-out desire anywhere else. People elsewhere are proud of their home states, and it can sometimes be annoying.

But Springsteen had that same desire and people identified with it.

And as a postscript, I'll say that even though I left, I am indeed proud of Jersey. Like all the Mexicans waxing poetic about their home country in the current immigration fiasco, I will rally to Jersey's defense whenever it comes under attack. I'm very territorial, especially if some douchebag from, say, Iowa is asking me "What exit are you from?". And, no, I'm not from "Joisey" you fucking asshole. Go shove that cornstalk up your ass.

There are a hell of a lot of places worse than Jersey. Iowa is definitely one of them.

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At 8:00 AM, Blogger Jay said...

My question is if so many people want to get the hell out of nj, how come it's still so damn expensive to live there?

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Pete said...

Because of the proximity to New York.

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Todd Cohen said...

I think it's funny that if you go to Rutgers you have defend yourself TWICE (first the whole NJ thing and then the whole "school that can't win in the postseason in ANYTHING" thing).

Damn...even OJ didn't even have to do THAT!

Which leads me to this pic (for those who have myspace)

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Local Shill said...

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that most people from New Jersey/New York aren't nearly as smart and sophisticated as they make themselves out to be.

Just one man's theory.

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Pete said...

If you buy some of the pragmatic opinion dispensed in Bill Gillette's New Jersey History class in Murray 301, he would argue this:

As a state, New Jersey has a terrible inferiority complex that originates in colonial times because of its geography. Centered between New York and Philly, it was always traveled through but never a destination itself.

(We know it should be, because the Shore is largely a secret gem).

This geographical misfortune was exacerbated when the media grew, television in particular, and New Jersey never had any powerful station to call its own.

That, of course, was before Michael Mariano started working for News12.

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Joependleton said...

I think the fact that Bruce rips NJ makes him more respected by people in the state.

I mean, he's the typical Jersyan. He loves the state, but certainly can find plenty of faults with it. This way, he comes off more like a true Jerseyan instead of a certain Sayreville High grad who comes off like a NJ schill.

If some a-hole from Pa. wrote a tune ripping NJ, he was be ripped.

At 9:51 PM, Blogger heather said...

Heya, I can't find your email addy to reply to the comment you left on my blog about the Pearl Jam/Tom Petty shows July 2. Are you going? I got fanclub tix to the one on the 2nd and YES pricey indeed - $200 for the pair. I like Tom Petty as much as the next gal, but I am hoping that Pearl Jam gets ample time to play. Have you been to the Pepsi center? What's it like inside? I've only driven past it on my trek downtown.


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