Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “My Hometown” (1984)

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My 1984 self just couldn’t identify with this song. My dad was a factory worker, but health issues forced him to retire long before his job vanished. By the time Born In The USA came out, I’d moved away and was more than a little ignorant about the state of my hometown. I had a cousin who used to joke that the place should be renamed “Shit City.” I laughed him off, mostly because I was uncomfortable with the truth he was relating. What was once silver was now shit.

The story of that town was replicated all across the country. Manufacturing jobs moved way, downtowns became vacant, tensions rose.

And yet, my 1984 self had just moved to a suburb where everybody was employed, keeping those lawns tended, the patios well-appointed. The resonance that “My Hometown” should have fostered just never came around. Instead, I was slightly annoyed that Bruce chose to end this album on such a boring note.

It wasn’t until years later that I was able to fully appreciate how the song helped to form such a cohesive conclusion to the album. Art is like that. Sometimes things make perfect sense…even if it takes years to reach that point.

Up next: Ain’t Got You

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uAr5JRPc3g?rel=0&w=420&h=236]

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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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