My Top 1000 Songs #156: Growin' Up
The greatest, most emotionally thrilling of those early tracks--rising up even among Bruce standards like "Blinded By The Light," "Spirit In The Night," and "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City"--is "Growin' Up," taking the recurring rock motif of youthful rebellion and giving it an infusion of Springsteen's unique lyrical gifts.
"I took month-long vacations in the stratosphere, and you know it's really hard to hold your breath. I swear I lost everything I ever loved or feared, I was the cosmic kid in full costume dress." Yeah, works for me. Hell, even the seemingly basic "When they said sit down, I stood up" takes on mythological significance in Springsteen's telling.
And while I have limited patience for some of the Boss' lengthy storytelling exercises in concert, his mid-song "Growin' Up" narratives, captured on various bootlegs (and the Live 1975-1985 box set) can be pretty damn captivating. In one telling, he and Clarence encounter a Martian stranded in the wilds of Jersey, and in return for getting his space ship out of the mud, he's granted 3 wishes. Bruce and Clarence ask to be movie stars... and the alien says, sorry, you ain't got the looks... but would you settle for rock & roll? Damn, that kills me, I could listen to it over and over.Live in 1978, mid-song storytelling and all:And one day after talking about Superchunk--I love the cover version from Mac McCaughan's Portastatic side-project, giving the tune a more rocking but still faithful sheen.