Out in the Street

A song that is guaranteed to get me in a good mood is Out in the Street, which was released on the 1980 album The River. It’s a song that emotes a great feeling of freedom and joy. Basically it’s a song about being young and free, with a few bucks in your pocket after a long hard week at work and the only thing you are looking forward to is the weekend. There is no boss (no pun intended) or anyone else, who is going to tell you what to do. It’s a song about being free to do what YOU want.

All day you’ve been working that hard line. Now tonight you’re gonna have a good time

Back when Bruce Springsteen wrote this song, the lyrics were about the disillusioned working class, who had little to celebrate in life except when the whistle blew and they could be out on the street to spend their hard earned money.

When transferring the meaning of the lyrics to present day there are other aspects to take into consideration. There are, of course, still differences between socio-economic classes. The wealthy (the upper class) are still there (a small fraction of the population who are the ones everyone else works for), as well as the working class (totally dependent on their work to survive). However, a growing part of the population (including myself) fit in the so called “middle class” (up to 30% or more of the population). They have disposable income, and savings that allow them the luxury of worrying about other issues such as keeping up appearances.

There are so many expectations in society today and many people (including myself) feel immense pressure to live up to them. I was raised to be “the good girl” and that has followed me throughout my life. We strive to meet expectations and to be perfect and what we constantly see on social media are images of perfect lives – people are always comparing themselves to others and social media has become a window where friends, neighbours and relatives display their “perfect life”.

This last week I’ve had the privilege to meet and listen to pupils from my school discussing these questions as their competencies of oral interaction and production were assessed as a part of the National Assessment Tests. I’m happy to say that when it comes to social media and media in general many of them have a much better and healthier attitude than most grown-ups. They’ve been brought up with social media and in school they have been taught source criticism and that affects their view on what is posted. They know better than to try and compete against a facade. They know that what is posted on, for example, Instagram is a selection, a “best of” if you will and that information on the internet should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Cause there’s a party, honey, way down beneath the neon lights. All day you’ve been working that hard line now tonight you’re gonna have a good time.

Anyhow, (returning to Bruce’s lyrics) this song has aged very well. There are more reasons than ever to try and break free from what is expected, to celebrate freedom and the end of a hard working week- no matter what socio-economic class. People ought to walk the way they want to walk and talk the way they want to talk, and not only on weekends.

The music alone in this song makes you happy, the sax solo is spectacular and also the final coda which features weaving vocals from members of the E Street Band (and the audience). It’s a great celebratory song and the kind of song that makes you feel like a winner, and that sums up the mood of listening to this song and (preferably) seeing it played live.

Photo cred: Takahiro Kyono (Flickr)

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