Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Valentine’s Day” (1987)

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As I close out Tunnel Of Love, I encounter the one song in the entire cycle that I truly enjoy start to finish. Most of the themes on this album carry with them some elements of universality. That is, people have dealt with both the good and bad sides of love so the stories that Bruce presents naturally resonate. As I’ve said before, in my ear parts the music holds much more resonant potential than the words, so Tunnel comes up short. But here, the combination fits perfectly. A man worries about might have been and what might be (or not)…supported by a simple, yet relentless chord progression. It’s that relentlessness that ties it all together. We can’t stop time and we can’t (mostly) influence what the heart wants. All of it feels out of our control.

True story: I’m giving away my copy of Tunnel Of Love to an acquaintance who is just getting into Springsteen. She recently spent a stretch of time listing to nothing but a cassette of Born In The U.S.A. Many point to this as Bruce’s worst album. I’ve said it before: all of this is opinion. And it’s my opinion that I’ve had enough of Tunnel Of Love. Still, I’m not unaware of music’s power to change, and so Megan gets at crack at Tunnel…because she’s a lot younger than me and it’s a big world out there and you just never know what will happen.

Up next: Human Touch

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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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