The video is about the storm! (When I was almost done, a cable station started playing it over pics of the storm, and I was yelling at the set: "stop! stop!" because I was just about finished, and they were doing it, and I was p**ed! But it has been much appreciated by the people in the area.)
My father was born in New Jersey, and my mom spent the first 6 years of her life there, in an orphanage. (Long story.) And my mom is buried in Paramus. So, it was important to me to make this video. Whatever anyone thinks of the song - and songs change their meanings in different contexts. That's what's so great about music!
That said, about the song
The song is about something else; it's on the Nebraska
album, which is filled with criminality, and Bruce's urge at the time, to understand it. And there's a lot more to Nebraska
, the album. Some saw it as a metaphor for the times, but I'm not sure I saw it exactly that way - well, not in that limited a way. Because it is really quite timeless. Nebraska
was about "conscience," and how people decide what is right and what is wrong, and how thin the line can become. This song really captures that, along with "Highway Patrolman" and others. I love the line that goes "nothin' feels better than blood on blood," because it's true. But is it right to do what Bruce says in the voice of the song's character: "when it's your brother, you look the other way"? These are important questions, and to me, it's his best album, period.
I see Bruce in your avatar, and I'm not sure he sees this song's protagonist as "weak." He sees him as trapped, unable to see any other way out. Maybe there were other ways out, but the guy in the song can't see it. It's about the death of possibility, but it also has this dim echo of hope . . . of something better. "Maybe everything that dies, some day comes back." That was in there to indicate some hope for the future, when it seems like there's no hope at all. Which lends itself to other interpretations, such as my video.
But really, as to the song itself, I'd like to ask you something. You ever been broke? Ever had the bill collectors approach on your own driveway, in the dark? Ever had to "put something back" when checking out at the supermarket? Ever been evicted? Had to leave town? Ever feel like there's no future at all, and all your dreams that you worked so hard for, are down the drain?
I've been there once or twice. And I would never even consider the "little favor" the character sings about. But there are times when you almost feel like giving up: like doing "a favor" to yourself, if you know what I mean. But somehow, you get hope back, and you realize that "everything that dies, some day comes back" in some kinda way. And you go on, and things do "come back." Not the same, but they do come back. But not everyone sees any possibility, not everyone is able to see any way out, other than to do something wrong - not murder, but perhaps just total escape, because they feel trapped, and hopeless. And Bruce wanted to give voice to that, even if the protagonist does something extreme. Art takes things to extremes.
Yo, Doc, and other Bruce aficionados, who must dig this album, I could use some
But the video is about the sturdiness of the people of the Jersey Shore, who weathered this storm with grace and fortitude. It is also a benefit; all you do is click the link on YouTube, in the blurb, to give to the recovery efforts. The people of Staten Island, NY are still in so much trouble, and they could use any help you could offer. It's really cold now, and because of subsequent "smaller" storms, some have no heat.
Please read about the tragedies on Staten Island: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/nyregion/how-a-staten-island-community-became-a-deathtrap.html?pagewanted=all
They always seemed to come in last . . .
Any funds you give to the relief effort will help them, as they are in the most immediate need right now.
I was born in Queens, where all those apartments burned down. I have two cousins who live in the general area: NYC, and Long Island, where I lived for many years. It's close to me, in many ways.
Hope that helps.
Last edited by rjm on Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.