Song of the Day #922: ‘Queen of the Supermarket’ – Bruce Springsteen

I suppose when you’ve had a career as long, varied and successful as that of Bruce Springsteen, there comes a time when you feel like you can do anything you want.

And in Bruce’s case, on his 2009 album Working On a Dream, he decided what he wanted to do was write a song about falling in love with a supermarket checkout girl.

Being Bruce Springsteen, he wrote the most poetic song about falling in love with a supermarket checkout girl that you can imagine. He has made a living telling the tales of regular folks in florid language more worthy of a short story than a song, and this track is no exception.

Bruce sings of a “wonderful world where all you desire and everything you’ve longed for is at your fingertips,” referring simultaneously to the beauty behind the scanner and the cereal aisle.

He goes on, “With my shopping cart I move through the heart of a sea of fools so blissfully unaware that they’re in the presence of something wonderful and rare.” I love his use of language in this song, how deliberately ornate and romantic it is in spite of (and because of) the subject matter.

He further explores this unrequited love, painting a sad portrait of the song’s narrator, how he “take[s his] groceries and… drift[s] away” and “pray[s] for the strength” to confess his secret obsession.

My favorite line comes at the end of the song: “As I lift my groceries into my car I turn back for a moment and catch a smile that blows this whole fucking place apart.” What a great way to describe that stolen moment.

There’s a wonderful world where all you desire
And everything you’ve longed for is at your fingertips
Where the bittersweet taste of life is at your lips
Where aisles and aisles of dreams await you
And the cool promise of ecstasy fills the air
At the end of each working day she’s waiting there

I’m in love with the queen of the supermarket
As the evening sky turns blue
A dream awaits in aisle number two

With my shopping cart I move through the heart
Of a sea of fools so blissfully unaware
That they’re in the presence of something wonderful and rare
The way she moves behind the counter
Beneath her white apron her secrets remain hers
As she bags the groceries, her eyes so bored
And sure she’s unobserved

I’m in love with the queen of the supermarket
There’s nothing I can say
Each night I take my groceries and I drift away
And I drift away

With guidance from the gods above
At night I pray for the strength to tell the one I love
I love I love I love her so
I take my place in the checkout line
For one moment her eyes meet mine
And I’m lifted up, lifted up, lifted up, lifted up

I’m in love with the queen of the supermarket
Though a company cap covers her hair
Nothing can hide the beauty waiting there
The beauty waiting there

I’m in love with the Queen of the Supermarket
I’m in love with the Queen of the Supermarket

As I lift my groceries into my car
I turn back for a moment and catch a smile
That blows this whole fucking place apart

I’m in love with the queen of the supermarket
I’m in love with the queen of the supermarket
I’m in love with the queen of the supermarket
I’m in love with the queen of the supermarket

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #922: ‘Queen of the Supermarket’ – Bruce Springsteen

  1. Marile Cloete says:

    As an avid Springsteen student I loved this post! Can only agree with everything you said.

  2. Dana says:

    I haven’t really followed Bruce’s music too closely of late and some of the songs I have heard of late seemed like more generic versions of his classic output of the 70’s and 80’s. But that skeletal listening is probably not fair to him, as a song like this reminds me that he is still putting out interesting and good music.

  3. Clay says:

    I feel the opposite. I’ve found his recent albums more interesting and creative than his older stuff. But I agree that the singles they’ve released have been aimed at bringing back memories of the “glory days.”

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