Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “The Fuse” (2002)

The great songwriting tradition of blending opposites gets quite a workout on “The Fuse.” We have the vignette of the (possibly doomed) lovers in the last verse, which seems to leaven the darkness of the earlier verses, where death takes on a heavy presence. The lack of resolution of that tension is what gives the song power. That and a couple of simple (but effective) sonic touches. There’s the somewhat claustrophobic and mechanistic opening, bookended by the music falling away before Bruce delivers “Your bittersweet taste on my tongue.”

And deliver they did during The Rising tour dates. Patti’s presence applies some sultry torque to that last line, to be followed by Nils Lofgren’s lifting things up with his slide guitar during the playout.

This is one of those tunes that deserved life after that tour. When was it last played? October of 2003. That’s a shame.

Next up: Mary’s Place

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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.