Am I the only one who thinks of this song as a pseudo-sequel to "Out in the Street"? Besides the fact that "Girls" contains an almost identical line about "watching girls pass by," and the lyrics in general are similar and they both have a similar peppy swagger, the songs are also similar in their little, but distinct differences. For instance, their rhythm. Both are happy, fun tunes, but now its not as block-partyish, but more theatrical and whimsical, which also bolsters the lyrics that, while similar to those in "Street" are also more reflective, ponderous, whimsical and grown-up; the same guy going back to doing the same thing only doing it through the eyes of a man who is much more traveled in life. If the character were the same in both songs he would be 25 years older now, and the song is certainly sung from the view point of an older man watching the girls pass him by, not the young romper-stomper who once upon a time walked and talked the way he wants. If you think of the song and its lyrics this way, its really sort of bitter-sweet, and makes for a neat little wink from the Boss to his fans. If you disagree with my assessment, still it's a nice song.
I wholehearted agree that "Girls" is one of the best songs on this album. The album in general is like a cold glass of water after wandering the desert for 23 years (since Born in the USA)!!! I do think that "Girls" has a Beach Boys feel to it but that makes it more unique to Springsteen's style.
"Living in the Future" is "Tenth Avenue Freezeout" the sequel and up there with "Girls". I am not too crazy about "Devils Arcade". It is a little too wimpy and just a rehash of all the non-E Street albums he has put out in the last 20 plus years. On the other hand, every album needs filler. At least it isn't 95% filler like "Ghost", "Devils in Dust", "The Rising", etc.
I will say the Seeger Sessions was interesting and I purchased it because it was in my opinion the only album in his body of work at that time was listenable.
Carrie, I agree with you about the new stuff, but couldn't disagree more about everything else you said ("Devil's Arcade," "The Rising," "Devils and Dust, the "Seger Sessions" is his only listenable album in 23 years?!?!?!?), but I guess some people just want "Born in the USA" style Bruce and that is certainly their right, but it seems to me if you were actually "listening" to those other albums and songs you so easily dismiss, you would agree nearly all of those works you mentioned are not only better than "The Seger Sessions," but hardly that far in "Born in the USA's" shadow.
'Girls In Their Summer Clothes' might have a fun title and production straight out of 1966, but it's definitely not a happy song. You need to actually listen to the words of the song, or read the lyrics. Bruce, after all of these years, can STILL fool his own fans in that way. Catchy melody mixed with bitterness or melancholy; that's a testament to his writing ability that puts him right up there with John Lennon and Elvis Costello.
My favorites (thus far): "I'll Work for Your Love", "Livin' in the Future", and, yes, "Girls in Their Summer Clothes". My overall opinion: "Magic" is the best Bruce has done since "Tunnel of Love", with which it has little in common, but the sound on "Magic" is terrible.
I'll echo Boss Fan and say that the perspective of an older man makes his music and his perspective interesting. I like Long way Home the best. Your own worst enemy, I'll work for your love, and Girls in their summer clothes are very good also. I think that one of the amazing things about Bruce is that his message is what he sings about and if you understand that his albums are amazing in their ability to communicate. Tunnel of Love is a clear example of a guy in a spurned marriage. Darkness on the edge of town packed his efforts into his new freedom from his old manager. I, myself, really only like one song on Born in the USA- Bobbie Jean which I think is a precursor to leaving his band and moving on. The point is that he isn't afraid to try different things and if you apply that in your life it is akin to being successful in four different careers actually. Some people have a hard time being successful in one. Anyone who has been selling his music since the 60's must be doing something right.
The horribly awkward lyrics in the "Shaniqua pours the coffee" section absolutely ruins this song for me. It sounds like Springsteen bashed that verse out in about 10 seconds. I wish that verse were different, as I could then enjoy this otherwise excellent song.
Ummm.. NO. Bruce can't use the name Shaniqua or something? Why not?! That is a a great verse and the best part of the song is that, and the following verse. The whole song is about imagery, and the verse you are criticizing is one of the best in that regard.
Boss Fan, your comment was incredibly on the button, for I thought the same thing. "...they'll pass me by" is in no way a statement of defeat, but it speaks so much, with so few words. I'm in my 50s now too, and the first time I saw the band was in very early '74. Wow, it's been 34 years, and I loved every Bruce moment. For that, I give thanks! And I always will. When I first heard MAGIC, I almost cried! It's that good!!! I'm looking forward to Feb 28...Bruce in Hartford, opening up (yet again) the second leg of the tour, which will continue through summer '08.