Sunday, March 14, 2021

"One Step Up" by Bruce Springsteen

Song#:  3432
Date:  02/27/1988
Debut:  64
Peak:  13
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  Springsteen's Tunnel of Love album would perform quite well. It would be his fourth to reach #1 and would be a multi-platinum seller. However, its darker, more personal tone most likely kept it from getting close to the career-defining blockbuster success of his 1984 album Born in the U.S.A. Still, the LP generated a couple of Top 10 hits right off the bat including the #9 title track. Hoping to keep the Top 10 streak going, this third single was released. It would do well at Rock, getting to #2, while becoming his fourth Top 10 on the AC chart at #3. Over on the Pop chart, the song cracked the Top 20, but it faltered and was unable to get inside the Top 10. Oddly, there would be no further singles officially released from the album in the US. Two other tracks, "Tougher Than the Rest" and "Spare Parts," would be issued as singles in other countries while "All That Heaven Will Allow" along with "Spare Parts" would receive enough airplay in the US to reach #5 and #28, respectively, on the Rock chart. The b-side of "One Step Up" was "Roulette," which had originally been recorded during sessions for Springsteen's 1980 album The River. It also made the Rock chart at #45.

ReduxReview:  This is one of those songs that I liked back in the day but it took me years to fully appreciate it. Sometimes you have to gain maturity or experience to really understand a lyric and at the time this song came out I hadn't been in a real relationship and all that it entails. Flash forward a decade or two after going through some shit (like we all do) and this song sounded totally different. As they say, it gave me the feels. While my situations may not have been exactly the same, I had an understanding of what Springsteen's lyrics were about and I could relate. There are a lot of songs that we can listen to, enjoy, and comprehend. Then there are those songs where you feel as if you've lived the lyrics. I think this is one of those songs for a lot of people.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) While some songs on Tunnel of Love were about relationships falling apart, "One Step Up" was certainly one of the more personal ones for Springsteen. At the time he was married to actress Julianne Phillips and things were not going well. Not long after this single was released, the pair would separate. Six months later, Phillips would file for divorce. Springsteen recorded "One Step Up" by himself playing all of the instruments. There is only one other person heard on the recording and that is the voice of Patti Scialfa, the woman Springsteen would eventually marry in 1991.  2) In August of '88, Springsteen would release an EP titled Chimes of Freedom. It contained four live tracks including the title song, which was a cover version of Bob Dylan's 1964 original. The EP was released to support the upcoming Human Rights Now! tour that Springsteen was headlining. The tour was a benefit for Amnesty International. Twenty shows were schedule around the world including three in the US. Springsteen would be joined by other artists like Sting and Peter Gabriel with various special guests joining them for the shows. In the US, Joan Baez would appear at all three concerts while Bono and The Edge joined for one and Roy Orbison performing for one. Springsteen performed "Chimes of Freedom" during his Tunnel of Love Express tour to announce the upcoming concert events. On the Human Rights Now! tour, he would perform the song along with the other artists on the bill. While "Chimes of Freedom" was not officially released as a single, the track did get to #16 on the Rock chart. Oddly, the EP failed to chart in the US and did not get a sales certification. However, it sold well enough in Canada to go gold.


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