Tuesday, October 13, 2020

"Brilliant Disguise" by Bruce Springsteen

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3286
Date:  10/03/1987
Debut:  40
Peak:  5
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Springsteen's 1984 LP Born in the U.S.A. turned him into a rock mega star. Spawning seven Top 10 singles, the album would go on to sell over 15 million copies in the US (30 million worldwide). He would follow it up with 5-LP set Live/1975-95, which would debut at #1. After a whirlwind three years, Springsteen then had the task of recording a proper studio follow-up to Born in the U.S.A. That album was recorded with the E Street Band, but when he started recording the new album, Springsteen made it a more personal affair and did most of the work himself with members of the band lending a hand on a few tracks. The completed album, Tunnel of Love, would be a dark, more introspective effort and this first single got things kicked off. It would immediately head towards #1 on the Rock chart. Over on the Pop chart, the song debuted in the Top 40 and then made its way to #5 becoming Springsteen's tenth Top 10 hit. While the album wouldn't debut at #1, it would only take three weeks for it to hit #1. Although it would only stay there for a week, it would continue to ride high on the chart into '88 and eventually sell over 3 million copies.

ReduxReview:  Of course anticipation for this song and the album was extremely high at the time. When I heard this song for the first time, I think I was a bit underwhelmed. Probably like many others, I was expecting something more explosive. Perhaps another big anthem that would spark up the airwaves. So when this subdued, chugging pop tune came out it wasn't what I expected. However, the tune then began to settle in the more I heard it and I developed an appreciation for it. It was easily going to make the Top 10. The question was if it could top the chart. It settled for a #5 showing, which was probably a sign that folks might have felt the same way I did. The song didn't have "smash hit" written all over it, but it was a very good song that introduced the album quite well. In retrospect, I did like how Springsteen didn't force a Born in the U.S.A., Pt. 2 and wrote the album he wanted to at the time.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song earned Springsteen a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. It was one of three nods he received in that Grammy year (he would win one, which will be covered in another post). Up to that point, Springsteen had received seven nominations with one win.  2) The video for this song was directed by Meiert Avis, who had previously directed several videos for U2 including two award winners, "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "With or Without You." The video for Springsteen's song was unusual in that it was all done in one continuous take. It featured Springsteen performing the song in a kitchen setting. Although the video features the recorded backing track of the song, Springsteen actually sang the vocal part live as the camera slowly zoomed in on his face making the performance quite intimate and nearly uncomfortable.


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