Why would Bruce close out a poignant album of dark and troubled times with a short, sweet, and cliché-ridden song? As with most things Springsteen — and Bruce himself has said this many times about his lyrics — you’ve got to look deeper.
“My Best Was Never Good Enough” was partly based on the main character of Jim Thompson’s crime novel The Killer Inside Me. Lou Ford’s speech can make him seem like a homespun kind of guy, “Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining,” and and the like. It turns out that he’s a psychopath.
Well, surely you don’t get any of this from a straight reading of the song’s lyrics, especially with quotes from the movie Forest Gump coming in toward the end. But there is that little bit of disaffected cynicism that glints off the title line:
Come on pretty baby, call my bluff
‘Cause for you my best was never good enough
What’s going on here? That question is never answered, and from that mystery comes the darkness.
Up next: Lonesome Day
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