My Bruce Springsteen Mixtape for Pat McCrory

Remember the 1980’s when you used to make mix tapes for people? They were the soundtracks for different facets of life. You put them in your cassette player and immersed yourself down a path of memories and emotions where only certain songs could lead you.

When I found out that Bruce Springsteen was cancelling a show in Greensboro to protest HB2, I felt badly for the fans who had tickets, but I also commended The Boss’s stance on discrimination. Then I wondered how Gov. McCrory might have felt knowing that his signing of this bill into law was the reason that so many like Springsteen are looking at North Carolina with such bewilderment and making strong overtures for the repealing of discriminatory laws.

So I made the governor a mixtape of Bruce Springsteen songs that I thought best represented this fictional reality that North Carolina has been thrown into by a fearful few like Pat McCrory.

I even made liner notes for him.

  1. “Better Days” from Lucky Town. This song talks of maybe having “better days” ahead for North Carolina when McCrory became governor. He did win the election with that hope. Wow! How ironic it is to actually have regressed in the last three years.
  2. “Born in the U.S.A.” from Born in the U.S.A. I put this on the mixtape because the possible nominee for president from the political party that McCrory bows to actually was not born in the U.S.A.
  3. “Brilliant Disguise” from Tunnel of Love. As someone who touted his ability to moderate between political ideologies and reach across the aisle, the governor really has been a puppet for the GOP leaders in the General Assembly.
  4. “Down in the Hole” from High Hopes. This song could represent how in three years we have dug ourselves into a hole created by disastrous policies born on West Jones Street. It makes me think that the governor could have vetoed a lot more when he had a chance to.
  5. “Glory Days” from Born in the U.S.A. First of all, it is baseball season. Second of all, it makes people think of a past when conditions were better.
  6. “Hungry Heart” from The River. Not only are there hungry hearts, but hungry people here in North Carolina where over 20% of people live in poverty and almost 25% of children live in poverty.
  7. “My City of Ruins” from The Rising. This song talks of deterioration and desolation that is experienced by many in our state as the needs of the many have been neglected because of the greed of a few.
  8. “One Step Up” from Tunnel of Love. The chorus of the song says, “One step up, two steps back.” No further explanation needed.
  9. “Red-Headed Woman” from MTV’s Plugged: In Concert. I added this one because Springsteen is married to a red-headed lady as I am and both are beautiful women with great voices. Call this a bonus track.
  10. “Souls of the Departed” from Lucky Town. This is a political song that explores social injustice. Think of the Moral Monday movement and the Voter ID law.
  11. “Streets of Philadelphia” from the soundtrack for the movie Philadelphia. Remember this iconic movie? Tom Hanks plays a gay man who happens to have AIDS. He is ostracized because he represents to the establishment someone who is different and therefore should be treated as an inferior. Hanks’s character simply wants to live as he is without being dehumanized. He was also wrongly terminated from his job because of his sexuality. What law in North Carolina does this remind you of?
  12. “This Depression” from Wrecking Ball. This song is amply representative of the lackluster “Carolina Comeback” that the governor has been so eager to talk about.

Songs have such a way to reflect on real life and a poet/singer like Springsteen has done it for years for so many people. So while he may not have performed here in NC for reasons that are valid, his music can still speak to people like the governor.

That is if he only listens.

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