September 10, 2007

"Atlantic City"

Wikipedia entry:

"Atlantic City" is a song written and recorded by rock musician Bruce Springsteen, which first appeared on Springsteen's 1982 solo guitar album Nebraska, which is generally considered one of Springsteen's darker albums musically.

Released as a single in most parts of the world except the United States (with "Mansion on the Hill" as the B-side), it reached # 15 in the United Kingdom.

Image from Gowanus Lounge

The song depicts a young couple's romantic escape to the New Jersey city Atlantic City, but also wrestles with the inevitability of death as the man in the relationship intends to take a job as a hitman once arriving in the city, a fact he keeps secret from his female partner ("Honey, last night I met this guy and I'm gonna do a little favor for him.").

The opening lines of "Atlantic City" reference mafia violence in nearby Philadelphia, with Springsteen singing: "Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night, now they blew up his house too." (The "chicken man" was a mafia boss named Philip Testa, who was killed by a bomb planted at his house in Philadelphia in March 1981.) The song also references widespread uncertainty regarding gambling during its early years in Atlantic City and its promises to resurrect the city. This uncertainty and the man's uncertainty about taking the less-than-savory job are echoed in the lyrics "Everything dies, baby, that's a fact, but maybe everything that dies some day comes back."

A music video was produced for "Atlantic City," which received some play on MTV in the United States. This was a non-representational video, meaning Springsteen did not appear in it. The video featured stark, black and white images of the city, which had not yet undergone its later transformation, and was still rather bleak and depressing.
Image from The Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority website

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