Saturday, April 18, 2015

Crush on You

Sometimes I don't understand my fellow hominidae.

For reasons which escape me, many hardcore Bruce fans not only don't think "Crush on You" is a fine song, they actively dislike it, thinking it's the weak spot on the otherwise magnificent River album, and a low point of his recording career.

Which is just asinine. The song is, at worst, an enjoyable throwaway, certainly no less good than fun frat rock songs like "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)" or "Wooly Bully" or "Nobody but Me" or "Wild Thing" and how much less vibrant would our lives be without those gems?

I mean, musically, this is just great down and dirty gutbucket rock and roll right here.

And lyrically?
My feets were flyin' down the street just the other night
When a Hong Kong special pulled up at the light
What was inside, man, was just c'est magnifique
I wanted to hold the bumper and let her drag me down the street
Okay, the "Hong Kong special" line may not have aged terrible well, but rhyming "c'est magnifique" with "drag me down the street" is seriously sheer gold.

Admittedly, the chorus
Ooh, ooh, I gotta crush on you
Ooh, ooh, I gotta crush on you
Ooh, ooh, I gotta crush on you tonight 
is not likely to make Bob Dylan nervous, but then again, I submit my beloved "Louie Louie" and trust the point is made.
Sometimes I spot a little stranger standing 'cross the room
My brain takes a vacation just to give my heart more room
For one kiss, darling I swear everything I would give
Cause you're a walking, talking reason to live
And there 'tis right there, reason enough—far more than, in fact—for the song to exist. "My brain takes a vacation just to give my heart more room" is, no two ways about, great damn writing. That sums up, in one line, the effect of love—let's call it love, shall we?—on humans, or at least humans of the young male persuasion. That is exactly what it feels like and no denigration intended to its forefathers but if forced to choose I'd hold out as long as I possibly could but in the end I believe I just might take it over some other famous lines expressing the same sentiment, such as "a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom" or "da-doo-ron-ron-ron" or "sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-tee-da" or "de-do-do-do-de-da-da-da."
Well, now she might be the talk of high society
She's probably got a lousy personality
She might be a heiress to Rockefeller
She might be a waitress or a bank teller
She makes the Venus de Milo look like she's got no style
She make Sheena of the Jungle look meek and mild
I need a quick shot, Doc, knock me off my feet
Cause I'll be minding my own business walking down the out!
And again, although the song needs no further justification, "she makes the Venus de Milo look like she's got no style " is simply wonderful writing. It's good enough, in fact, that the conclusion of the couplet, which is a fine line on its own—"she make Sheena of the Jungle look meek and mild"—seems a mild let-down by comparison. But no matter. A song with lines as fine as the two best here is more than good to go.

Springsteen himself said, during a soundcheck back in November 2009, in preparation for playing it for only the second time since the few dozen times he performed it back in 1980:
"Yes, folks, it could have been...let me think...'Loose Ends' could have been 'Take 'em As They Come' could have been 'Roulette' could have been 'Where the Bands Are' could have been...But instead it two three four!"

Later that same night, after playing the wonderful version embedded right above this very line, you can hear him crow, "a hidden masterpiece!" Sure, he may have been speaking with a healthy dose of sarcasm, but then again, he may not have been. And either way, he was very nearly right.

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