Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 18, 2007 01:56pm | Post a Comment
There have been very, very few times in my life that I have heard a new song on the radio--  commercial radio-- that makes me stop, pull over, and turn it up. And yes, I am forced to listen to commercial radio in my car because I dont have anything but a cassette player and an AM/FM band. I'm that ghetto. But anyway, the other evening I was driving home, and I happened upon the middle of song that blew my mind. I couldn't quite place the vocals, they were male, and the arrangement was decidedly un-KFOG, the channel it was on.

Now, I'm no musical encyclopedia, but I am good at guessing who's who on the radio, especially when its the same 12 songs that they play over, and over, and over. But this time, hmmm... No. I couldn't quite place it. The refrain was magical: "The girls in their summer clothes, in the cool of the evening sky; the girls in their summer clothes, pass me by." I'll get to the melody soon, but those lyrics really got me. I love songs that can be read two ways. For example, if you listen to Cat Stevens' "Wild World" closely, he's actually not sending off his love with, er, love. No, he is being extremely passive aggressive. "The girls in their summer clothes" could also be read two ways.

  First, he is enjoying watching pretty girls walk by. And second, he is enjoying watching pretty girls walk by who are completely ignoring him because he's a loser. I love it. I listened a bit closer. Could it be? Nah... but maybe. It sort of sounded like an overproduced... Bruce Springsteen? His single from his latest album underwhelmed me, to say the least, so it couldn't be him.

Plus he never has songs that sound like that; a Phil Spector take on Big Star, in my best estimation. No, this had to be some cool indie band that was getting all Americana. I kept listening. The song told a story about a guy who gets up, puts on his jacket and heads out the door. OK, totally Springsteen.

Maybe I was on to something. Then the guy goes to a diner and chats up the waitress. OK, yeah, Bruce. Finally, when it was over, the DJ said as much. I was flabbergasted. Mostly because I am so happy that Bruce made an amazing song at this stage in his game. Let it be said, I love Bruce Springsteen. I like all of his albums from the '70s. I of course also dig Nebraska, which is the staple in every hipster's catalog. But how could he make such an amazing song on what had to be a crap record, this year's "Magic"?

I bought the record.
It is incredible.
"It's so overproduced," said an uber hip musician type that I mentioned it to.
"That single sucks," said his bandmate.
Gentle reader, trust me, the single may suck, but the whole album is great. He adds viola and stuff so, yes, that makes the production more slick, but it's still really freakin' good. But what really gets me is that Bruce Springsteen, who has made a name for himself with his own brand of rowdy and epic rock n' roll, has written the perfect pop  song with "Girls in Their Summer Clothes." Matthew Sweet could only dream of such a song. Bruce is so talented, that he said to himself, hm, gonna write a song like Big Star now, what the heck, and he freakin' hit it out of the goddamn park.
I play that song over, and over, and over. I haven't heard it on the radio again. I suppose I was just lucky that night. That song makes me want to open the windows and have a birdie land on my finger. That song makes me want to wash my hair without conditioner and let it dry in the sunshine while I wear a peasant dress and eat cherry tomatoes from my garden.

That song rules. Bruce Springsteen rules.       - Katy St. Clair


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Katy St. Clair (5), Girls In Their Summer Clothes (1), Bruce Springsteen (24), The E Street Band (1), Magic (13)