How do you start your day?
Probably with a blaring alarm. You open your crusty eyes to the same alarm that told Londoners to get ready for another bombing run. Every morning begins with a new level of fury. Good lord. It’s just not right, people.
I’ve found a new rooster, and his name is Bruce Springsteen. And not just any Bruce Springsteen, but a special track off his new album, “Wrecking Ball”.
The song in question was actually penned a decade ago, but we’ve only been privy to it in live performances, or as a recorded track of one of those live shows. Bruce never recorded it in studio (as far as we know).
Now, you might have heard about Bruce’s new album. It’s angry. It’s all of the best parts of The Rising and his live folk-rock album, Live in Dublin. It’s beautiful, foot stomping music, a ode to the sad state of our country, the way we got here, the people who knowingly brought us to this place, who have more or less walked away scot-free, and finally, to the rest of us, left behind.
But the second half of the album (and it is, in the truest sense, a cohesive album), begins to lift us. It acknowledges the suffering, but looks forward to a better day, however far off it may be.
And this hope crests with “Land of Hope and Dreams”.
This version of the song is nearly seven minutes long. But it’s no “Stairway to Heaven”. After a brief, soulful opening, it punches you in the face with the full power of everything Bruce wants you to feel: empowered, energized, rejuvenated, lawfully, spiritually and morally sanctioned to go out and do your very best. And when you finally reach the sax solo by Bruce’s best friend, the late Clarence Clemons, recorded before his death last year, you can’t help but realize: life goes on. Today’s the day I get up and get it done. I move on, I embrace what I have and work for what I don’t. What I want. What my family needs. We live in a beautiful time and a beautiful country.
If there ever was a “seize the day” track, this is it.
I encourage you to do what I did.
2. Get in your car.
3. Turn on your car.
4. Don’t go anywhere. This is key.
5. Press “play” on the song.
6. This is also important: turn it up as loud as you can take it. It’s going to be overwhelming. That’s ok.
7. Close your eyes and let it wash over you. Don’t check your phone or email, don’t fucking text anybody. Just wait. It’s only seven minutes. No one’s going to miss you. Just release, and let your mind be free.
8. Rinse, and repeat.