Friday, August 28, 2015

Song Spotlight - "Jungleland"

Key Live Performance



I tend to go with more "recent" performances in these sections (if you could call the late 80s or early 00s "recent"), but for the final song, I'm going way back to Bruce's seminal performance at Hammersmith Odeon.  If you haven't watched the whole concert, you are missing out on one of Bruce's best (and easily the best assembly of hats for one single band).

Key Lyrics

"Man there's an opera out on the Turnpike
There's a ballet being fought out in the alley
Until the local cops
Cherry Tops
Rips this holy night"

Sometimes, Bruce's critics like to pick on his flowery lyrics.  However, "Jungleland" sees this criticism, and takes it to the extreme.  This section is among my favorites; various types of performance theater are used to create a holy night.  And why just say "the cops showed up" when you can describe their headlights as "cherry tops"? It's an interesting and engrossing creative choice.

Overall

How do you finish one of the greatest album of all times?  After song after song of epic anthems of youth and freedom, where do you go now?  Well, "Jungleland" answers this by doubling down on all the themes and pulling out all the stops.  The longest song on the album, "Jungleland" is takes you on a journey through Springsteen's world - a world where you can imagine all the other characters in the previous songs living.  As Louie CK once pointed out, you can sense the utter sadness and loneliness at the end, which would set the stage for Springsteen's next three albums.