Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Devils & Dust” (2005)

When Devils & Dust was released, I was in the middle of a vacation. Late at night, sitting in a big comfy chair at our hotel, I sipped a glass of scotch while I listened. At first, what came through my little headphones was not the story of the title track’s conflicted soldier, but a short chain of Bruce-related memories that said a lot about my relationship to this music.

For people who are long-time fans of any music, the attached memories can grow in importance over time, making the music not just a “soundtrack” (Oh gawd, how I hate that “soundtrack of my life” description) but an integral part of the timeline. That time I listened to The Ghost of Tom Joad straight through with TheWife™? That shared experience was a revelation for us. We’d gone from lives where nothing was shared, escaping emotionally dead relationships to discover that perfect other person. Sharing was again possible.

When I hear Bruce sing “Fear’s a powerful thing/It can turn your heart black you can trust,” I think of those dark times and am glad to have come out on the other side.

So now when I hear this song — and particularly when the music swells at the midway point — I remember that one night at the hotel, and the Joad release, and Nebraska, and…

Up next: All The Way Home

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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.
  • Oats

    It’s great that Bruce and his music can bring forth those vivid memories and I’m glad you are now on the other side of them. Everyone should have a Soul Mate. That being said; couldn’t you have had someone talk a little bit about Devils and Dust?