Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Worlds Apart” (2002)

The musical palette employed during “Worlds Apart” — the tablas and the vocals delivered by Asif Ali Khan and Haji Nazir Afridi — was almost shocking. This is a Bruce Springsteen song?! But as the East-meets-West (or is it East vs. West?) story unfolded, everything began to make perfect sense. Two lovers from opposite sides, dealing with the world’s realities that would force them apart.

It’s a moving vignette made that much more powerful by the collision of musical worlds: the song begins in that very non-Western, very non-rock and roll way, but later explodes into guitar fireworks. When I first heard “Worlds Apart,” I had to put it in repeat mode for quite a while, as that transition from East back to West placed a mysterious hold on my attention.

For some reason, I didn’t think they’d be able to pull this off live. What was I thinking?! The mini-duet with Bruce and Patti brought the lyric alive and then Bruce and Steve burn the house down with their guitars.

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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 writes several 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.