In the final installment of this five-part series, we reflect on five more subtly scary tunes from the unsung master of quiet horror.
If this series has proved anything, it’s that Springsteen is intimate with the darkness on the edge of life. In the final edition of this series, we will look at five more softly scary songs that the boss has penned. If you get too frightened… feel free to run.
1. STRAY BULLET
In this song, Fate quietly sneaks up on a man and the woman he loves. Fate quietly adjusts the aim of the gun. Fate quietLy stands back and watches the trigger get pulled back. Fate wipes the blood spatter on its cheek and moves on to its next unaware target…
2. STOLEN CAR
The soft horror of this song tends to avoid detection. The narrator of this song has lost the only light that’s shown upon him. The narrator of this song is desperate for any light…even if it’s the light of a cop car in the rear view mirror. Our narrator wants to be recognized. He wants to exist again. He steals cars and drives them around, but no cop stops him. No cop offers the light, the recognition that he requires. Some don’t mind slipping into the shadows. Others drown in the shadows. The narrator of this song is drowning slowly…in the driver’s seat of a stolen car.
3. BORN IN THE USA
The horror in this song is so soft that it tends to get lost by politicians (and grimy Rochester NY Radio personalities) who misuse it. This song is NOT a celebration of the American dream. Instead, it’s about condemning that dream’s transformation into a nightmare. The lo-fi version offered below doesn’t allow its terrifying message to get lost. It strips away the comforting blanket of the American flag to reveal a gutted copse underneath.
In this song, bitterness cuts into the soft flesh of a friendship once strong now gone. What once was THE life is now just life. What was once exciting is now exhausting. Time has corrupted the tender glow of past adventures. The present is cold, empty, and full of betrayal. The backstreets are no longer an escape – there’re an ant maze with no exist.
Have you ever lost a portion of your life? Have you ever misplaced a person you never wanted to lose? Have you ever stared at a completed puzzle, looking for the missing piece? If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, then YOU are the narrator of this mildly chilling melody.