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Thursday, November 06, 2003

Obsessive Analysis Of Bruce Lyrics

Whenever I here this song I laugh. Yes, that is right, laughter from a Springsteen song. Sherry Darling is an homage to the cruelties of dating. To having and being with the girl you love and learning to accept the goods, cart, horse and all that come with it. In this case, the goods consist of the mother-in-law (or perhaps the mother-in-law-to-be, as the full relationship isn't detailed to the listener.) As Bruce finds himself taking his girl's mother on errands - in this case, one of what the listener can only assume has been many trips to the unemployment office, taken each Monday. Momma is a big girl, and perhaps stubborn. We learn this from the potent line: "Tell her to push over and move them big feet." And the bigness of mother (who we will refer to as Big Momma for the remainder of this analysis) is perhaps physical and psychological. Bruce complains about her presence in his car and her very presence in the relationship as he pleads to Sherry Darling to ditch mother. Defiant, he screams that Big Momma wins this battle if she will just shut up for the remainder of the trip downtown. And the Boss has declared that this ride is it. "'s the last time that she's gonna be ridin' with me." What does this mean? Has Bruce decided to end his relationship with Sherry? Has he decided to stop driving Big Momma around? Or is it more metaphoric? Has Bruce decided to indeed become The Boss and take charge of this relationship? To begin to dictate a few of the parameters of their coupling himself? This appears to be the case. He continues, in the chorus, to describe a perfect day at the beach. A trip down the coast in the car, now free of the verbal and psychological baggage of Big Momma. Pleading, he declares his freedom and asks Sherry to come along with him:

    "You can tell her there's a hot sun beatin' on the black top She keeps talkin' she'll be walkin' that last block She can take a subway back to the ghetto tonight Well I got some beer and the highway's free And I got you, and baby you've got me. Hey, hey, hey what you say Sherry Darlin'"

Soon, we realize that Sherry needs to pay attention to this relationship. As Bruce continues to be harangued by Big Momma, he begins to fantasize about hot girls in bathing suits sunning along the beach. Anything instead of Big Momma. And Sherry isn't immediately recognized in this dream. Bruce is beginning to stray and fight the boundaries of the affair. Fleeing from the baggage that has come with it.

    "Now there's girls melting on the beach And they're so fine but so far out of reach Cause I'm stuck in traffic down here on 53rd street."

Ah, we now learn he can't leave. The Boss knows that he loves the girl. That he isn't going to wander off to the Jersey shore without her. He declares his love for Sherry and again asks her to choose:

    "Now Sherry my love for you is real But I didn't count on this package deal And baby this car just aint big enough for her and me"

Now the beauty, the shear genius of the Springsteen Milieu is that a lot is left to the imagination of the listener. We are now forced to make connections. What happens next? Is this still just a dream, a fantasy, or has Bruce at last ditched Big Momma and taken to the streets with his girl on his arm, showing off to the schoolgirls and the guys on the , declaring his affection for all the world to see:

    "Well let there be sunlight, let there be rain Let the brokenhearted love again Sherry we can run with our arms open before the tide To all the girls down at Sacred Heart And all you operators back in the Park Say hey, hey, hey what you say Sherry Darlin' Hey, hey, hey, what you say Sherry Darlin'"

And that's the tale. Sherry and Bruce together at last. Arm in arm. Side-by-side in his car. Taking in the sights. And all is happy and well again. Until the next Monday morning when Big Momma is taken to the unemployment office. Questions for further discussion: 1. What kind of car is Bruce driving in this song? 2. Is Big Momma an employee of the unemployment office? Is she traveling each week to receive benefits? Is the fact that it is a weekly task (a job) part of the rub, as the errand is focused on unemployment, a brief glimpse at freedom? 3. Is the Clarence Clemmons saxophone solo long enough, or should Big Man be given more face time in this song?