Song of the Day #2,641: ‘Devil’s Arcade’ – Bruce Springsteen

springsteen_magicBruce Springsteen’s 2007 album Magic is one of the most resonant artistic commentaries on the G.W. Bush years. It’s loaded with songs about economic and cultural disillusionment and tracks critical of the war in Iraq.

Springsteen’s gift in protest songs like today’s random SOTD is to make these political issues personal. ‘Devil’s Arcade’ is told, at least in part, from the perspective of the wife or girlfriend of an Iraq war veteran. She focuses on their intimate moments, not the violence of the war, but the effect is just as shattering.

Remember the morning we dug up your gun
The worms in the barrel, the hangin’ sun
Those first nervous evenings of perfume and gin
The lost smell on your breath as I helped you get it in
The rush of your lips, the feel of your name
The beat of your heart, the devil’s arcade

You said heroes are needed, so heroes get made
Somebody made a bet, somebody paid
The cool desert morning, then nothin’ to save
Just metal and plastic where your body caved
The slow games of poker with Lieutenant Ray
In the ward with the blue walls, a sea with no name
Where you lie adrift with the heroes of the devil’s arcade

You sleep and you dream of your buddies Charlie and Jim
And wake with a thick desert dust on your skin

[Instrumental]

A voice says “don’t worry, I’m here”
Just whisper the word “tomorrow” in my ear
A house on a quiet street, a home for the brave
The glorious kingdom of the sun on your face
Rising from a long night as dark as the grave
On a thin chain of next moments and something like faith
On a morning to order a breakfast to make
A bed draped in sunshine, a body that waits
For the touch of your fingers, the end of the day
The beat of your heart, the beat of your heart
The beat of your heart, the beat of your heart
The beat of your heart, the beat of her heart
The beat of your heart, the slow burning away
Of the bitter fires of the devil’s arcade

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,641: ‘Devil’s Arcade’ – Bruce Springsteen

  1. Peg says:

    Powerful lyrics

  2. Dana says:

    I really never gave this album much of a listen. I probably should.

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