Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “One Step Up” (1987)

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It wasn’t too many years after the release of Tunnel Of Love that I went through some of the same emotions on display during “One Step Up.” Things were just plain busted. Neither of us were happy in our own skin. My seething anger for her felt bottomless. It’s an awful place to be and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. Not even her. And she deserved it.

Bruce captures the confusion and sadness of that kind of human situation, with Patti’s vocals adding shimmering accents to a situation that’s full of darkness. (I do love that moment when she walks to the microphone.)

This is a great example of how a song’s music can change its resonance factor. “One Step Up” contains none of the annoyance factors (read: sonic cheese) that bring down so much of the rest of this album, allowing me to get to its heart. While I didn’t care for it much back in the day, it’s one of the few that have grown on me over the years.

Up next: When You’re Alone

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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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