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The Good Soldier
In stock. Dispatched within 24 hours. Add to basket. View more Hide Product information. The track features gently loping acoustic guitar, layered with accordion and the most soothing vocals, like a mountain stream. Springsteen learned so much from Elvis Presley, including what not to do. With a strong assist from Chuck Berry, the Boss pays tribute to the King with this simple, pointed, almost-rockabilly track. He initially recorded the demo with a drum machine and could have re-recorded it with real drums at any point, yet chose not to.
If you ever go to Memphis, play it right as you turn onto Elvis Presley Boulevard on your way to Graceland. It is timeless in the best way, glorious and soul affirming. The idea of using music as a form of prayer is a beautiful sentiment. An awful lot of gambling metaphors set against a standard rock melody. A strong, straightforward anthem. Springsteen minces no words with this one, though it loses a few points for extraneous electronic effects and textures that add nothing to the composition.
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An optimistic track, both lyrically and musically. First, an early rockabilly version was cut early in the —81 recording sessions that led up to The River. The River version is just a straight-ahead rocker, so it fits better with the record overall, but the rockabilly version absolutely has more depth. The quietest song on the record, but easily the angriest.
The Good Soldier: Running on the Road of Hope
He asks a lot of questions here without actually asking any actual questions. The power of this song lies in its specificity, the little details and the big ones. He sets the tone with tuba, accordion, acoustic guitar, and mandolin, telling the story of a circus from setting up and settling in to packing up and moving on.
What distinguished this particular cut in his mind? This is the kind of song Springsteen thinks about when he describes why The River needed tracks that evoked an E Street Band show. The disbelief manifests itself in his voice. The good-time sax solo and get-down party music juxtapose with the lyrics in such a strong way.
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Bruce wants us to understand the hypocrisy of violating basic American civil liberties in the name of keeping America safe. With all those clever turns of phrase, this song gets better every time you listen to it. This tale of the inveterate rambler rolling to a stop is a keeper. Think about that again: He wrote it for Elvis Presley.
Star time! He lost a lot of weight. For a long time, you only knew about this song if you were there back in the day, or you bought the Live — box set. Its inclusion was one of the things they got right with that release. It was probably thrown on just because Bruce misses Clarence. The track has its basis in the Starkweather killings ; he saw Badlands , which led him to a book written by a local journalist named Ninette Beaver , whom he would also interview.
Sit down real close and listen good. Van Zandt perfectly colors the chorus on backing vocals, and the entire band is feeling it, slow and steady, with perfect, soulful precision. If you could bottle the sound of that one night, this is what it would be. Definitely one for the ladies. A perfect single, a heartfelt paean to the days of catching AM signals across the country, an anthem to the power of the radio airwaves. The song owes a lot to punk rock.
A highly underrated number in the catalogue. Disc two strikes again! The song is a sympathetic celebration of music fandom, delivered with earnest, ebullient vocals, and half a dozen little sonic touches: hand claps, oooh-ooohs, aaah-aaahs, heys, and compact sax solo. It embodies the sultry, languid attitude of a cocksure young Casanova, with the music to match.
This is what it sounds like when Springsteen pursues his power-pop agenda, even though the vocal delivery belongs on a rock-and-roll number. This song catches you by surprise. It opens with random guitar strumming, then the band comes in solemnly, with an almost-orchestral sound.
| Young & Associates
Only the E Street Band could get away with something so unabashedly corny and unironic. Bruce does his best Jackie Wilson imitation on this track, and he pulls it off with aplomb. The vocals are full of exuberance and ecstasy, and Clemons is the unequivocal star, his sax running a counterpoint beneath the vocal melody. The intricate subtlety of the background instrumentation is simply outstanding: pedal steel and strings, brushes on the cymbals.
The same words appear in every chorus, but they imply different emotional states based on the preceding verses. Go, Janey. The sound of summertime on the Jersey Shore, period. The first of the great epics. It swells when it should, then drops back down in the next measure. His voice is open and full of yearning, Van Zandt adds delightful harmony vocals in counterpoint, and a quasi-Farfisa organ noodles in the background.
This would be a sad story of lost love and regret, but two elements elevate it: the lonely, hollow organ chords underneath the main melody, and the bridge. So simple, yet so compelling. The first song Springsteen wrote for the album. The sense of duty, the courage. An optimistic, boisterous statement of intent.
By Ford Madox Ford
The emotion in the vocals is what sells the song. Everybody jumps back in, though, as Bruce keens with anguish to close the track. Springsteen at his most dramatic and deliberately cinematic. Pure pop for modern people.