Come On And Take Your Best Shot
Posted on January 3, 2012
One of the aspects which caused me, like so many other fellow fans, to fall in love with the music of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is the power and depth contained within his words. Springsteen has the extraordinary ability to write songs which whilst so deeply philosophical can also be taken at face value, and thus be meaningful, in some way or another, to whoever listens to him. It is true that his work has been misunderstood in the past, take “Born in the U.S.A.” for example – President Reagan himself failed to understand this album – where the masses took the famous anthem of “Born in the U.S.A.!” to be a patriotic salute to the ways of the United States, which of course – as any real fan will tell you – is so unbelievably far from the truth behind the album! However, generally The Boss is successful in touching even the most damaged of souls whilst also rocking whole stadiums to the bone. This is one of the things which makes Springsteen so incredibly unique. There are maybe some other artists out there who have a similar philosophical, emotional, and spiritual ability, there are maybe also some out there who know what it is like to rock a crowd to their core, however how many artists can do both? (And simultaneously, too). That is what defines Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band and our love for them, because The Boss and his band have a historical array of music which can reach human beings at any point in their life. From helping us out during our darkest moments, to accompanying us through our best and most elated.
I am often asked what my “favourite” song by Springsteen is. I always answer the same, explaining how I could never truly pick a favourite, but how a few of my most personal songs include “The Promise”, “Racing In The Street”, “Jungleland”, “Thunder Road” etc. One which I don’t often include is “Wrecking Ball”, a song which Springsteen wrote in 2009 in honour of The Giants Stadium before it was demolished. The tone of “Wrecking Ball” is inspirational to say the least. Whilst so much of Bruce’s music centres around deep metaphorical images, using the beauty of language to reflect the harsh realities of life, “Wrecking Ball” is a song which – whilst it does have such an aspect – reflects the desire which we so often feel – to just punch life square in the face for being a bitch.
“Wrecking Ball” exudes a strong fighting energy, a “bring it on” attitude, and a message that, sometimes in life at least, you just gotta fight. The song manages to evoke in us a strong desire to see off that which causes us pain – that which we are done dealing with. Whilst Springsteen’s music is so often about the harsh realities of life and the spiritual ways in which to confront these issues, the simple but powerful line of “Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got” describes – in all the senses which define true Rock ‘n’ Roll – the feeling which we have all felt when the relentless bitch of life just won’t stop.
We are now living in 2012, and despite having hoped that some sort of miraculous force would take hold of me and make me not only a stronger person, but also equally decisive and correct in my judgements, 2012 is here and I have already made a monumental error in my judgement. I have also felt just as lost in life on occasion as I did last year.
However, with 2012 will come a new aspect to my attitude towards life. It is fundamental to my happiness and ability to exist positively, as it is with anyone, to accept the things which we cannot change, but rather than dedicate our lives to questioning why it is that we cannot change them, it is time to look at them and how we can utilise our painful experiences to further not only ourselves, but others too. To become truly healed we have to let go of that which hurts us, but which – with equal truth – we cannot change. It is in our ability to distinguish between life, and our responsive mechanisms to it, where we will find the key to our own happiness. Moreover, once this key has unlocked the door to acceptance and the ability to use our experiences to make us stronger as people, we will find in ourselves the ability to help those with whom we can relate. Thus becoming the light in another’s darkness.
And so it is that I urge you to join me in making a pact that no matter how hard things get in 2012 we will remember that no matter what life throws at us, we can throw something even stronger back at it – the power of acceptance and the desire to fight. Heck, maybe we could even have a little fun along the way.
Until next time… “Take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got, bring on your wrecking ball”.