The Ice Saints and Cold Sofia brought some unseasonably cooler temperatures to Hungary earlier this week, but the weather has bounced back in the last couple of days, which means I have spent most of my time outside finishing my chicken coop or going for long walks with the family. As great as the fine spring weather has been for my outdoor activities, it has been anything but conducive to my blogging. Well, life involves trade offs at times, I guess.
In any case, while I was plastering the coop today, an old Bruce Springsteen song inexplicably filtered into my thoughts. I've never really been a huge fan of "The Boss." Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike his music. In fact, I know many of his tunes and would never think of turning the radio dial if he happened to pop up on the airwaves. Yet I have never purchased any of his albums or ever had any particular interest in him or his music beyond the mere pleasure of happenstance.
"I'm on Fire" was the song that came to mind as I was working outside today. The tune is a short, salacious confession of libidinous lust for another man's woman - a real no-no as far as Christian morality goes. Of course, nearly every rock and/or pop song ever written is an affront on Christian morality in some regard. Merely mentioning that Springsteen's lewd little number addresses something sinful seems superfluous, to say the least. As is readily apparent, the lyrics themselves offer nothing redeeming.
Hey little girl, is your daddy home?
Did he go away and leave you all alone? Mhmm
I got a bad desire
Oh oh oh, I'm on fire
Tell me now, baby, is he good to you?
And can he do to you the things that I do? Oh no
I can take you higher
Oh oh oh, I'm on fire
Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull
At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
And a freight train running through the middle of my head
Only you can cool my desire
Like nearly every rock and pop songwriter that has ever existed, Springsteen forgoes Dante's wind imagery from Inferno and chooses instead to capture the essence of sexual lust and indecent desire through the use of trusty old (and worn) fire imagery. In fact, whenever I hear "I'm on Fire", I can't help but think of the Doors "Light My Fire" with Springsteen's song basically elaborating on the state of lusty desire that consumes a person once they have given into the spark of temptation. Put another way, "I'm on Fire" is just another take on Elvis Presley's "Burning Love", or Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire", or Jerry Lee Lewis's "Great Balls of Fire" complete with allusions to losing self-control, burning, and the brain being set aflame.
Of course, the other songs mentioned above are merely about the spark of sexual attraction and being consumed by the subsequent passion the spark ignites, presumably for a woman who is both single and available. Springsteen's song, on the other hand, is about a "bad desire" - licentious attraction to a married woman.
Why am I going on about all of this? Well, as I was working in the yard today, I happened to also remember the video for this song. Though the song itself offers nothing redeeming, the video - surprisingly - does. I'm not sure if the video was Springsteen's idea or someone else's, but I feel the decision to pair this brief visual narrative of resisting the temptation of lust the song communicates was not only a good one, but also perhaps a somewhat brave one.