Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Working On The Highway” (1984)

It started on The River, this fan divide concerning “Serious Bruce” vs. “Fun Bruce.” For some, tunes like Crush On You and I’m A Rocker are lower tier songs, to be looked upon with a barely-disguised sneer.

For the same reason that I have a hard time rating albums (read: numerically), the idea of pitting Bruce’s more emotionally charged material against his garage party stuff? Pointless. “Working On The Highway” is no Jungleland. Well, duh, it doesn’t have to be. And neither “Detroit Medley” nor “Quarter To Three” pretend to be Lost In The Flood either.

I just see “Working On The Highway” as a breezy pop tune. It’s a guilt-free confection that Springsteen obviously still gets a kick out of playing. Whether he brings the spirit of Elvis to the show, or quick reference to the K-Pop juggernaut “Gangnam Style” (last week in Charlottesville), Bruce is just having a great time and bringing us along for the ride. No, it’s not serious, but it is serious fun.

Up next: Downbound Train

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Working On The Highway Born in the U.S.A. Born in the U.S.A.
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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, 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
Mark Saleski