Monday, November 18, 2013

Song Meaning: Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen

ARTIST: Bruce Springsteen and the e street band | ALBUM: born in the u.s.a. | RELEASED: 1984
Song Meaning: Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen
Basis/themes for most of Bruce Springsteen's songs are centered around the concept of the American dream, that is, if you work hard you can achieve your goals. Springsteen quite frequently likes to explore the way in which working class folks attempt to realize their own American dream. In that regard, "Dancing the Dark" is no exception.

It's well among the Springsteen fans that the lyrics of the song came to be as consequence of his struggles with the record producer. So the lyrics were written from the point of a frustrated Bruce Springsteen, however what's not to be overlook is the fact that Springsteen brilliantly changed the frame of view such that, upon completion, the song was sung from the perspective of a working-class man.

Analysis of lyrics: 

Song is about a working-class folk, as it's often the case with many of Springsteen's songs. For the ease of analysis, I'll call this person Joe Biden. The song depicts Joe's day-to-day struggles with making a living.  First verse tells us the hardship of Joe's job. He works overnight shifts. This means his a probably a blue-collar worker, because white-collar workers like lawyers and doctors don't work at night.  So Joe probably doesn't also have much post secondary education. One thing to note about such workers is that they do the same job over the course of their entire career, there are no promotions. In other words, if Joe happens to be a mechanic at car company, he'd remain in that job until he retires. This is quite boring, of course, as stated in "I ain't nothing but tired."

I exactly don't know the interpretation of the second verse or the third one. Those two are probably written as fillers, expressing further dissatisfaction of Joe's life. If you know more about the lyrics, please let me know in the comments below.

As for the title of the song, Dancing in the Dark, it means living a dangerous, adventurous life as if tomorrow doesn't exit; it's like living on the edge.

  1. I get up in the evening
  2. and I ain't got nothing to say
  3. I come home in the morning
  4. I go to bed feeling the same way
  5. I ain't nothing but tired
  6. Man I'm just tired and bored with myself
  7. Hey there baby, I could use just a little help

  8. You can't start a fire
  9. You can't start a fire without a spark
  10. This gun's for hire
  11. even if we're just dancing in the dark

  12. Message keeps getting clearer
  13. radio's on and I'm moving 'round the place
  14. I check my look in the mirror
  15. I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face
  16. Man I ain't getting nowhere
  17. I'm just living in a dump like this
  18. There's something happening somewhere
  19. baby I just know that there is

  20. You can't start a fire
  21. you can't start a fire without a spark
  22. This gun's for hire
  23. even if we're just dancing in the dark

  24. You sit around getting older
  25. there's a joke here somewhere and it's on me
  26. I'll shake this world off my shoulders
  27. come on baby this laugh's on me

  28. Stay on the streets of this town
  29. and they'll be carving you up alright
  30. They say you gotta stay hungry
  31. hey baby I'm just about starving tonight
  32. I'm dying for some action
  33. I'm sick of sitting 'round here trying to write this book
  34. I need a love reaction
  35. come on now baby gimme just one look

  36. You can't start a fire sitting 'round crying over a broken heart
  37. This gun's for hire
  38. Even if we're just dancing in the dark
  39. You can't start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart
  40. This gun's for hire
  41. Even if we're just dancing in the dark
  42. Even if we're just dancing in the dark
  43. Even if we're just dancing in the dark
  44. Even if we're just dancing in the dark
  45. Hey baby

Lyrics from


  1. There are doctors who work nights.

  2. Dancing in the dark= having sex
    It all comes down to him wanting her to go to bed with him.

  3. Dancing in the dark= having sex
    Read the lyrics it all adds up to him getting with the girl.

  4. I thought it meant not having a clear view of what you're doing or where you're going. I've been using it incorrectly.


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