Bruce Springsteen has been a singer-songwriter voice of a contemporary generation for more than four decades. His work reflects the values, dreams and concerns of many people around the world. It’s a commentary stretching from the mythology of adolescence, via the working-class concerns, to the importance of social justice and awareness, and the American dream (gradually getting more political).
As a poet, prophet and preacher, Bruce Springsteen has spoken directly to many people (including me) throughout the years. You often hear fans saying that his music is the soundtrack of their lives and I believe that the explanation to this is to be found in the lyrics, which are not only eloquent and clever, but also down to earth and colloquial. They speak to a wide range of people from all levels in society. In this vast catalogue there are lots of contents in form of brilliant lines that deliver pieces of life advice.
It takes a leap of faith to get things going, in your heart you must trust.
There are many biblical references in the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen and I argue that the lyrics of Springsteen are sacred writing too – they are the Bible- The Springsteen Bible. It does not only contain commandments and guidelines, there are also issues brought up to make you consider the way you live, but also messages of joy and happiness.
I’ve looked through the lyrics that have meant much to me during the years and I’ve found sections where the lyrics seem addressed directly to me and I’ve put together a list of “commandments”.
My 10 Bruce Commandments (in no particular order):
- Don’t look into the sights of the sun [though we all know that’s where the fun is 😏]
- Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night.
- Talk about a dream, try to make it real. (Don’t waste your time waiting for a moment that just don’t come)
- Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive.
- Walk tall or baby, don’t walk at all.
- Hold tight to your anger, and don’t fall to your fears
- When it comes to luck you make your own
- No retreat baby, no surrender
- Don’t worry, darlin’ /No baby/ don’t you fret. (We’re livin’ in the future and none of this has happened yet)
- Don’t trust men who walk with canes (🤨)
I hereby confess to being a “Springsteen Religion” adherent. Although the followers of this cult come from very different backgrounds they (we) are, in a sense alike:
We are tramps who are born to run, and we will eventually end up in the Land of Hope and Dreams. We all learned more from a three-minute record than we ever learned in school and when we are out on the street we boldly walk the way we want to walk. When we fall madly in love, we are tougher than the rest and we’ll drive all night to buy our lover some shoes.
Every morning we get up to work – on the highway, in a factory, as a police sergeant or in a car wash (already with Friday on our minds). Life can be tough at times but we know that we’re just around the corner to the light of day and we always find a reason to believe.
I’m coming on a bit too strong, I know, but what I actually want to say is that Bruce Springsteen is, through his lyrics and what he stands for, a role model. His songs carry a promise that if you work hard and stay true to your ideals you will be rewarded. You should take charge and don’t let life kick you around, “When it comes to luck you make your own”. To me Springsteen remains an inspiration and his music continues to offer hope that there are still better days ahead – in your heart you must trust.