At some point during the summer I decided that the best course of action for me was not looking at my phone before going to bed. I’d read a book instead. And while steering clear of social media before quitting time worked for a bit, it unfortunately didn’t last. I think this was due in large part to two main factors. The first was that the book I was reading wasn’t holding my attention and the second was that the events and going-ons running wild on social media was. My chosen course of action was short-lived.
Fast forward to the holiday season and I was given the Bruce Springsteen autobiography Born to Run. I was initially hesitant to read it because a year or so ago I read Bruce, a fairly comprehensive and career-spanning retrospective on the Boss’ life, and didn’t initially feel I needed to dive back into Springsteen’s life. But after quickly thumbing through some pages I decided to give it a shot. My ban on social media before bed was quickly reinstated.
Born to Run is a good read, especially if you care about Springsteen. I would say there are parts where an editor could have been a little more assertive, mainly parts where Springsteen spirals a little too far into head, but I can’t fault him for doing that. The book is very journalesque, which makes sense given the fact that the book was written over seven years in fits and starts. Yet as someone constantly fascinated by why people do what they do and more, it was really interesting to get some context to Springsteen’s life. I like hearing stories behind song writing and how influences play a part and especially with his earlier albums, you get plenty of those stories. Some of his later albums get a little yadda-yadda’d, but you still get the gist. The book ultimately works as a killer companion piece to Springsteen’s music. With each album he talks about, the urge to immediately listen to that album is incredibly hard to resist.
As a result I found myself creating a Spotify playlist of my 30 favorite Springsteen songs. I’m not a Springsteen purist; I’m not even a diehard. I would categorize myself as an avid fan with a touch of devotion. My favorite albums are Born to Run and The Rising. My five favorite tunes are probably “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out,” “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” “Atlantic City,” “Badlands” and “Promised Land.” A few years ago “Waitin on a Sunny Day” helped get me through a tough time and even if Springsteen came out and kicked a kitten in front of me, I’d still ride with that song.
The ban on social media before bed lives on, my appreciation of Springsteen knows no end and I’ll immediately start dancing in some form whenever “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” comes on. But I do also think I might be good on Springsteen books for a while. Two seemed to do the trick. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be out cruising the Manasquan Inlet and select Jersey Shore haunts with the high hopes of casually running into the Boss.