Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, "Point Blank" (1980)

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I don’t often use the word “haunting” but dammit, I think I feel it coming on. Here we have a tale, like many on The River, of a troubled life, one that may not even have had much promise to start with. With darkly-lit piano tones and reverb-laden guitar echoes encircling the unfolding story, you’re just certain that the conclusion of “Point Blank” can’t be a happy one.

But “haunting”? First, there’s a musical fragment at the end of the second chorus: You’re walkin’ in the sights, girl of point blank/and it’s one false move and baby the lights go out — and with that Danny Federici lets go with a short but pointed keyboard solo that underscores the desperation. The second comes with the fantasy (our man dreams of a return to his love) vs. the reality…he sees her on the street, but she just shrinks back into the ruins of her life. He feels for her and laments at the fact that she’s given up hope. It’s tough stuff. Gets to me every time.

Next Up: Cadillac Ranch

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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