There are plenty of other songs that turn my crank, so why does uber rock god, The Boss, leave me so tepid? I think, maybe, the music and lyrics conflict for me. The music is upbeat and edgy, but the lyrics are just kinda sad - they're about a lonely lunkhead who likes to drive around fast, and uh, drive around fast, who is staving off imminent Al Bundydom for a night. How? By talking a girl into joining him for an exciting evening of flirting with wrapping his engine block around a lamp post (or, if he's less lucky, smashing it through the neighbour's kid). It's like a romantic invitation to play chicken on the highway, or to stand right on the edge of a very tall building or something, just to feel some thrills. All of which is just... sad.
So what am I not getting? I think it's the cultural meaning that cars have in the states as the (not) living incarnation of freedom. If you're 16 and don't have a car, you're a caged victim stuck at your parents house, while those with wheels can explore the whole world*. I understand that, but as a guy who grew up on public transit, who has literally never owned a car in my life, only in an intellectual way. It's like how I understand that some South American tribes think it's pretty tough to paint themselves red and poke a stick through their bottom lip - I get the meaning, but not the vibe.
I try to think of my equivalents. I figure I could get myself a bit worked up about the freedom of hockey blades, how you can cut on them, carve and coast, how you can take off and reverse direction without even slowing down, all with the wind blowing through your hair - and most Americans wouldn't even get what I was talking about on that intellectual level...
So I guess that until someone writes a good song about life on ice, I'm just stuck with Arcade Fire, Pulp, and Billy Joel. Only The Good Die Young, now THERE'S a seductive song :)
* Operationally defined by most