Literally enough said.
Some shit has gone down here recently and as a die-hard member of the Springsteen society it has... it has been a lot to process. I feel like the universe is giving us a consolation prize for surviving literally everything it could possibly have thrown at us in the span of a year? ANYWAYS, we shall take it.
If you know what I'm talking about - you know what I'm talking about. But if you don't, well saddle-on-up partner because we are diving into two new releases from Bleachers and The Killers featuring Bruce Springsteen. We'll also be having a brief discussion on the marvel that is The Boss himself and the influence that he's had on his most recent collaborators. Plus of course, be sure to enjoy the curated playlist directly below :)
Okay so Chinatown really rocked my shit. Here's the deal with this song - it's dangerous because pulls it you into a nostalgic world that isn't even yours.
Think falling in love for the first time, think radio blasted top-down car rides, think late-night french fries - and THEN think of what it's like trying to grasp those memories years later with your bedside pen and paper.
Jack Antonoff, frontman of Bleachers, invited us into his heart's corridors with this song. Its use of his usual atmospheric vocals paired with a mosaic of sonics, chimes, and beautifully sculpted harmonies pulls the listener's emotions to the surface in the most innocent, childlike way.
Then, right there at Chinatown's sundown, bossman Bruce breaks in with his clear and rustic voice echoing the verse and chorus, and let me tell you... when he sings the phrases "cause I wanna find tomorrow with you baby", and the closing "I wanna run",
It is in fact over for you hoes. Like emotionally.
Chinatown sounds like the anthem of a man who has known love and conquered demons. It invites you to take a drive to a spot he knows and look out at the world with memories in the back of your eyes and a leather jacket on the back of your shoulder.
Doesn't really get more Springsteen than that.
Killers fans, this past week we received a reimagined favorite. You may remember this song originally featured as "A Dustland Fairytale" on their iconic 2008 album, Day & Age. When we first met this song, it had access to a wisdom that it hadn't yet earned. It's a bright, upbeat ballad that feels like setting sail with a young captain who knows exactly where he's going.
From the first phrase "a dustland fairytale beginning... " to "I saw the ending when they turned the page" and of course, "moon river what'd you do to me?" it is clear that this song is about telling an epic story as much as it is about starting one.
In contrast, this latest release serves as a deeply poetic and vivid reprise that gives the listener a second chapter from Dustland's weathered and wiser hero.
It opens with a slowly moving curtain of shimmery synths that seem to float just above your head. A solemn break-out of the grand piano takes over and invites Brandon Flowers to do that thing that he does so well. Queue strings, queue cymbals,
The two then proceed to blow our minds with the anthem rock style that they're each notable masters of. As the wall of drums and symphonic synths build, so do the listener's emotions.
The killers and The Boss both have this way of completely consuming their audience with their compelling productions. To be honest I'm not even sure if it's legal for such powerful sound-makers to join forces like this so no one say anything to the government.
The power of this song, however, is not just in the production and lyrics. It's in the story. What was once a youthful voyager is now a decorated veteran of life who has resurfaced to say that he isn't quite done yet and may not ever be.
With both Tracks
There are recurring themes of journey and nostalgia, which isn't surprising considering that these are heavily explored elements for each party. However, here they both feel like graduations of some sort.
Springsteen has had a major influence on both The Killers and Bleachers' work, which isn't surprising as there are familiar uses of subjects and sounds across the board - all being delivered in a unique and important way by each party, of course.
Gospel, blues, rock, and even folk are common elements used by each of these artists to help them tell the truth and explore the beauty and mystery of life.
So again, these collaborations seem particularly significant. I can't help but feel like we've witnessed Bruce take part in the delivery of Jack and Brandon into the hall of fame as fellow masters of soul-rock.
That may just be my humble opinion but, regardless, here is to these three musicians who help earth feel like home again by reminding us that life is both beautiful and important in every pair of shoes that it's walked in. And that no matter how bad things get - at least we were born in an era where Bruce Springsteen exists.