Republicans don’t listen to lyrics

For the ten billionth time: Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA is not patriotic music. How hard is it to actually listen to the lyrics?

Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

Okay, patriotic start: dead man’s town and dog that’s been beat too much are certainly things that make me start chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A”.

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

Still okay on the patriotism front, since there are probably people who think that a forced enlistment and killing some gooks is the best way to straighten up a juvenile delinquent.

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says "Son if it was up to me"
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said "Son, don't you understand"

Ruh roh, our veteran can’t get a job, and the VA is no help. Um, “U-S-A, U-S-A”?

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go

Ah, hopelessness, and the threat of prison. U-S-A! U-S-A!

If you’re still having trouble grasping the nature of the song, try listening to the version on the Live In New York City CD, where it’s done in the slow, mournful style that I’m told is the usual concert version.


Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2004-02-29 20:06:03

Just in case you’re too young to know why I’m tarring all Republicans: when the song was new, about a million years ago, Ronald Reagan wanted to use it as a campaign theme song.

Son, if it was up to me

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Comment by Jacques Distler #
2004-02-29 20:14:49

In this particular case, the irony of playing the song for Guantanamo Bay ”enemy combatants” is rich enough that I had to sit down for a few minutes before I had regained sufficient composure to be able to craft a response.

Comment by billsaysthis #
2004-02-29 21:15:33

The slower version from Live in NYC is the original, done during the Nebraska sessions, which you can hear on the Tracks box set. Way cooler version IMO.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2004-02-29 21:29:28

I knew I should have gotten Tracks. Various things made me not want to at the time, and now I’ve gotten used to not having it (and getting it now would involve using up years of well-it’s-RIAA-but chits), but I should have.

Comment by billsaysthis #
2004-02-29 21:46:34

Tracks has an amazing cache of tunage, got be purchased!

Comment by FBI Agent Sol #
2004-02-29 21:34:26

We’re on to you, you un-patriotic so-and-so. We know where you have been hiding. You can come back to play now.

Comment by FBI Agent Sol #
2004-02-29 21:59:58

We have your twin, Bearded Jimbob in custody. You should turn yourself in now.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2004-02-29 22:15:34


Comment by Damelon Kimbrough #
2004-03-01 02:51:35

What my wife and I want to know is does US Government pay royalties to Springsteen every time his song is used or have they appropriated the song under some subsection of the Patriot Act?

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2004-03-01 09:02:32

Don’t know, but I’d guess that using songs for torture is covered by the same section of copyright law as Muzak.

Comment by George W. #
2004-03-01 16:00:43

Oh poor ignorant Phillip is someone mad his party won’t be in power for the next four years?

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2004-03-01 18:57:29

”My party”? Ringnalda, party of one. Lone gunman, that’s the whole idea, don’t you get it?

They’re all equally evil, it’s just that some of them spread their evil to not even grasping the meaning of fairly simple lyrics.

Comment by Michael #
2004-03-02 07:42:51

Actually, these were two songs that Ronald Reagan wanted to use. Originally, it was John Mellencamp’s Little Pink Houses. But, as you may recall, the final choice was an obscure little number by Lee Greenwood.

Comment by Makeety Makondo #
2006-05-04 19:43:36

It amazes me how some people still think of ”Born In The USA” as a patriotic kinda song. There’s absolutly nothing in it that would make anybody feel good. Yeah, the more bare, mournful bluesy acoustic version gives a better idea of the true nature of the song, which is very dark and disillusioned.

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