The irony behind Bruce Springsteen song ‘Dancing in the Dark’

Bruce Springsteen has never been recognised as the most pop-friendly rock star in the world. Since most of the material by ‘The Boss’ has been about painting a picture with words, it is always difficult to translate these epic tales of grandeur into a delectable package for radio. If it were hard enough for an album artist to transition to the radio format, it would get a lot different with the rise of MTV.

With television quickly becoming one of the biggest radio stations in the world, a whole generation of kids was left to adapt to the next phase of what music was supposed to be. Although Springsteen could get by playing the same stuff he was known for, the next phase of his career started with the same thing he always did: delivering the goods live.

There was hardly a narration in the first handful of music videos that Springsteen released, with songs like ‘Born in the USA’ showing footage of the band in their element delivering to the fans. That didn’t always translate to the best album sales, and Springsteen’s first major hit was all about that separation between himself and his pop star appeal.

Throughout ‘Dancing in the Dark’, it’s easy to sense the adolescent tension in the air as Springsteen talks about getting up in the evening and having nothing to say. Although there are certain elements that might hint at some romance going on, Springsteen wrote the song about his label breathing down his neck.

Since most of his higher-ups talked about him becoming more photogenic and relatable, many of the lyrics in the final draft are about his feelings regarding his star power. Even when he talks about getting up in the evening, his lines about having nothing to say may very well come down to him not understanding what the audience wants from him these days.

In essence, the line about not being able to start a fire without a spark may as well be a way for him to get off his ass and make something of himself while there’s still time. Since the rest of his stories have dealt with lowdown kids dealing with their dreams and dead-end jobs, Springsteen is on the other side of that argument, wondering if he still has anything more to say.

Despite having a few self-conscious moments, ‘Dancing in the Dark’ became a major hit, thanks in no small part to the iconic music video featuring a young Courtney Cox. Even in the video’s storyline, though, Springsteen is still doing what he does best, playing to the crowd and dancing along with Cox as the delicate sounds of synthesisers play in the background.

Though the pop slant may have been intentional, there were a few misleading uptempo tracks, with the rest of Born in the USA talking about how lost Springsteen feels now that he’s become the pop star he had always wanted to be. It would make anyone insecure after being one of the biggest stars in the world, but Springsteen had nothing to worry about as long as he had rock and roll in his veins.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *