Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tunnel of Love, Indeed

Photo by Jamie UK on Flickr
Thanks to a largely dry summer, I hadn't needed to mow the lawn in a few weeks.

Until today. Which is always dangerous because it gives me time to think.

Sometimes I put a game on in my headphones. Alas, the Steelers were still over an hour away from kicking off. The Yankees were scheduled to play someone tonight.

As I moved a car to get the tractor out of the garage, I spied a title on the radio: "Tunnel of Love."

It seemed like fate.

Bruce Springsteen and I are on speaking terms, and it's certainly not the split of 1984, when I was just sick of him (and can still not entirely tolerate Born in the USA). Indeed, for me, "Bobby Jean" is still the best track on the album.

But I've felt a disconnect with the Boss lately. The reasons aren't entirely clear or important, I guess, though I admit that I've felt a little un-Boss-worthy because I've only seen him once.

Yes, some fans - especially Springsteen fans - look down on such things.

There is a certain amount of resentment built it. I feel it towards him because his tickets are normally obscenely high-priced. Then again, they're not easy to get, and I generally resist scalpers, save for one time outside The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY, when Sean's mother and I plopped down winnings from a football pool to see a band called The Sports Section.

They're usually known as Huey Lewis and the News.

I resent myself because I can't afford his obscenely high-priced tickets.

Oh, and not that this matters, but I don't really have a date for such events. That's for me to deal with. The aforementioned Mr. Lewis is playing Long Island in October. Tickets are reasonable. But...nah.

I'm getting way off-track here.

I set up a system that sent the music from this very computer to my radio so that I could listen to Tunnel of Love. If not for the J. Geils Band, the album could easily be called Love Stinks.  The album is as much about flawed romance as it is about loss. His marriage to the actress Julianne Phillips was crumbling. He was splitting from the members of the E Street Band (and "shacking up" with Ms. Scialfa).

The words, as usual from the poet Bruce, hit home.
"I tried so hard, baby, but I just can't see, what a woman like you, is doing with me." (from "Brilliant Disguise")
"When I look at myself I don't see the man I wanted to be." (from "One Step Up")
"Ought to be easy. Ought to be simple enough. Man meets woman and they fall in love but this house is haunted and the ride gets rough. You have to learn to live with what you can't rise above if you want to ride on down, down into this tunnel of love." (from "Tunnel of Love" and, quite honestly, one of my favorite song lyrics.)
Of course, that's just a small sample of the collection of the quotable lines.

We've touched on "One Step Up" before (Jan, 2013).

I'm sure if I had written this post immediately after I finished mowing the lawn, or even while I was on the tractor (kidding...sort of), this would have been a little deeper, and more profound. Probably a lot darker, but I'm guessing that's pretty much assumed by this point.

For the record, Bruce and I aren't totally on the outs. I'll still find a higher volume for "Born to Run", "Spirit in the Night", and others, and I know both Sean and I have an extremely tight bond for "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)."

But something's not right. Today didn't patch that up, but it didn't hurt either. It was the right album for the right mood.

No easy answers.

One step up and two steps back.

*Incidentally, if you ever want to hear another great "Tunnel of Love" song, and have never heard it, I encourage you to listen to Dire Straits' 1980 song from their masterful album Making Movies, with the gorgeous "Romeo and Juliet." A fascinating tidbit between the two "Tunnels" is that Roy Bittain - yes, "The Professor" on E Street - plays on both versions. The things you learn.

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