Monday, November 28, 2005

"Held Up Without a Gun"

Once in a while Bruce Springsteen goes a little crazy. If you've ever seen him live, you'll know what I mean. He'll take one of his faster-paced songs and, to put it politely, he'll tear the living crap out of it.
But what happens when the default take of a song is already nuts-crazy-bastard out of control? Then you have this song. Originally recorded as part of the sessions for "The River", this song has been one of his live favorites and after one listen you're easily persuaded why. It starts at 100 miles an hour and never lets up for one second. You're thrown headlong into cacophony, the drums splashing joyfully alongside the guitars and brass, galloping breathlessly in every direction while Bruce shouts over the top in his best hog-caller's hoot. There's even a micro-instrumental break that must have taken about ten seconds to organise.
The whole thing sounds like a frat party, a night out on the town: "Now it's a sin and it oughta be a crime/You know it happens buddy all of the time/Try to make a living try to have a little fun/You get held up without a gun." At the end you're left exhausted, shaking, feeling the sweat prickle through your pores; and you've just been sitting down.

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