Pete Yorn Is Thinking Of: Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”

Pete Yorn has been surprisingly prolific of late. Consider that it was three years between his sophomore outing, 2003’s Day I Forgot, and 2006’s bracingly eclectic Nightcrawler, the latter largely restoring the potential of his brazenly accomplished out-of-nowhere debut, 2001’s Musicforthemorningafter. Another three years between releases, and Montville, N.J.’s favorite boho chick magnet suddenly had a lot more to say. Last year saw the release of Back & Fourth, followed by Break Up, a wispy collaboration with Scarlett Johansson inspired by Serge Gainsbourg’s duets with Brigitte Bardot. Now Yorn has ditched his smokin’-hot muse for Frank Black, who encouraged the confessed perfectionist and overdub junky to strip away the studio varnish and rawk out for the new Pete Yorn (Vagrant). Yorn will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our Q&A with him.

“Poor men wanna be rich, rich men wanna be kings, and a king ain’t satisfied ’til he rules everything”
—Bruce Springsteen, “Badlands”

“Everybody’s got a secret, Sonny,
Something that they just can’t face,
Some folks spend their whole lives trying to keep it,
They carry it with them every step that they take.
Till some day they just cut it loose
Cut it loose or let it drag ’em down,
Where no one asks any questions,
or looks too long in your face,
In the darkness on the edge of town”

—Bruce Springsteen, “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”

Yorn: It’s human nature to always want more. If you got one thing, you’ll want something else. People hold on to dreams of perfection in this world. And as you grow you realize those dreams are most often illusions. Maybe the death of a dream is the foreshadowing of our own death and ultimate fate. That’s why these realizations can be so uncomfortable. These dreams are different things to different men. After Bruce blew up on Born To Run, I think he realized that the struggle never goes away. Maybe he already knew that, but it seems like he became more aware it if you listen to Born To Run‘s follow up, Darkness On The Edge Of Town … that the “darkness” is still there even after achieving your dream … cover of Time and Newsweek, perhaps? Sure the high lasts for a while, but sooner or later the struggle will rise again and you better not be soft. Bruce says Darkness is his “samurai” record. His warrior record. I think he was referring to the ongoing struggle to keep faith, find fufillment, be productive and appreciate what you got—every day—all the while knowing that the darkness on the edge of town will always be there, and that it’s OK. Because it’s that darkness that makes the light seem brighter.

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