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.