In which the Grantland staff unearths previously unheralded snippets of greatness so that a wider audience may enjoy them.
I may or may not search YouTube for live Bob Seger performances from the 1970s from time to time, just to see if anything good has been added since the last time I may or may not have searched for live Bob Seger performances from the 1970s. Don't judge me. (In my defense, the 1970s Seger-Springsteen rivalry was the musical equivalent of the Tom Hanks–Michael Keaton 1980s rivalry — in other words, it was a MUCH better argument for a short time than anyone remembers.) My latest Seger search led to me stumbling across a shirtless guy named Ricky performing a surprisingly good cover of the underrated Seger song "Till It Shines." I'd argue it's the best shirtless acoustic cover on YouTube right now, and much better than Ricky's other shirtless acoustic performances of "Man of the World," "Shoot You Down," "She Belongs to Me" and "My Song." This is everything that's right/wrong/confusing/creepy/inexplicable/entertaining/haunting about YouTube in just 163 seconds. I wish I could unsee Ricky, but I can't ... and now, you can't, either.
Election night afternoon. Focusing on anything else is futile, but I try anyway. I play half of the first Tom Tom Club album in my office; when my nerves demand something stronger I start banging sense-annhilatingly well-constructed radio singles instead. For the last few weeks I've been looping "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" like a Consumer Reports lab tech trying to wear out a tire, so I do that again, and then I play fun.'s "Some Nights" (Freddie Mercury ghost-riding an REO Speedwagon over Bow Wow Wow Burundi-beats) and then I play Ke$ha's "Die Young," which is basically a weaponized "Teenage Dream" with bubblegum-L'Trimm rap verses as value-add, i.e., it's amazing, maybe the pinnacle of a really good year for the-club-is-a-battlefield Hunger Games pop songs.
Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the ’80s. Every so often, we'll e-mail 25-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn't seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he's watching it, then we'll post those thoughts here. This week's installment was selected by Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons: "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the '80s, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A conversation earlier, on the Internet:
Grantland editor Dan Fierman: Do we spoil for Rem who gets up on the stage? Bill Simmons: No. Rembert Browne: The only thing I know about this video before watching it is that Courteney Cox looks like a hot girlboy and gets onstage.
Rembert's Note: This video is not ideal for a live blog, seeing as that 75 percent of the video is simply Bruce's face. The odd locations, shoddy graphics tricks, and hard-to-follow plot lines that I've grown accustomed to in these '80s clips are nowhere to be found in this four-minute video. While this is all true, the "Dancing in the Dark" video is too good not to discuss, so I figured maybe it was time for me to finally "explain" what's happening in one of these clips. Every single aspect of it.
After releasing four albums, receiving the sweaty embrace of their spiritual godfather Bruce Springsteen, and dropping about a million unabashed oh-whoa sing-along choruses, is Gaslight Anthem front man Brian Fallon not yet famous enough to warrant a parody Twitter account? People who like to make references to docks and switchblades and tattoos and convertibles and girls’ perfume and blue jeans and regret and difficult father-son relationships and the rain over New Jersey tonight, this is your big chance!
A headline from Sunday’s New York Times "Arts & Leisure" section: "Chris Martin of Coldplay Asks: What Would Bruce Do?" In the article, Martin explains he’d been “watching a lot about Darkness on the Edge of Town” and other “real albums” in preparation for Coldplay’s latest, Mylo Xyloto; he also calls Springsteen, along with Jagger and Bono, one of his “great teachers.” So Martin’s caught the Bruce bug! It’s really been going around. In the last five years or so, both pup bands like the Gaslight Anthem and the Hold Steady, as well as megastars like Lady Gaga and the Killers, have recorded albums inspired by Bruce (reportedly, at some point during the Sam’s Town promo tour, for a minute or so, Brandon Flowers actually managed to convince himself he was Bruce Springsteen). Now, it’s Coldplay’s turn.