Bruce Springsteen as a romance novelist
I love Bruce Springsteen. I don't just like him, I don't just have a couple of albums. No. I had Springsteen sung at my wedding (not, Born to Run, though that would be very funny. Should I Fall Behind, for any other Boss fans out there). I go to a Springsteen show and I cry. I try to fight it, but ultimately, I cry like some weird fan/stalker type. It's embarrassing, especially for my husband.
My brother started it - he used to blast The River late at night, keeping me, a young romance novelist, up all night thinking about what those two kids were doing down by the reservoir.
And while those might be the roots - the truth is, to me, Springsteen is the best romance novelist out there. First of all, for those of us who consider category romance a word count challenge, songwriters have to tell a whole story with GMC, with character and setting, with tension in less than...what? Five hundred words? Talk about succinct. Talk about fat free. My head hurts just thinking about it. I need five hundred words to get my characters across a room.
My favourite song is Thunder Road. One boy’s effort to get the girl he wants into his car so they can get the hell out of town. And as far as character and romance – I can’t think of anything better.
Screen door slams
Mary’s dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays
Oh, the mood. The atmosphere. And we already know what our hero (dark, broody, leather jacket) thinks of Mary – she’s a vision. One word and we know she’s a little untouchable in his eyes – a dream. She’s wearing a dress which makes me picture a class vice president. A cheerleader perhaps. A good girl. And later when he cuts through the small talk and tells her:
Don’t run back inside, darling
You know just what I’m here for
Oh. Oh man. That’s good stuff, right? Am I the only one whose heart is pounding a little bit? It took some balls to do that. So, when our make- it-or-break- it hero says :
Show a little faith there’s magic in the night
You ain’t a beauty, but hey you’re all right.
He’s got a mad twinkle in his eye, because we know he thinks she’s lovely. And now, with talk of magic and the night, we know he’s a dangerous dreamer. What else can Mary do but get in the car? If she won’t, I will. I totally will.
I’m probably over simplifying it. Others would see different characters, and that’s the beauty of music – we see who we want. We hear, in part, what we want.
Listening to his music gives me the same feeling reading a great love story provides. It’s part hold my breath heartbreak and throw my hands in the air excitement. It’s hope and despair brought to life by great characters.
I’m sure there are some Springsteen fans out there and if so, let’s share the love. But if Springsteen isn’t your cup of tea, what music speaks to you? Who do you listen to and feel they are talking right to you?