I deeply regret that Springsteen did not conclude his Super Bowl performance by playing a verse of “Outlaw Pete” (the first song on his new album, Working on a Dream) and then segueing into a barn-burning cover of Kiss’s “I Was Made for Loving You” (which hit #11 in 1979). If you’ve missed it, the Springsteen song takes the Kiss melody out for a drive. (It’s obvious enough that a few hundred other people have already noticed it and posted about in various corners of the Internet.) That’s how much of a lawbreaker “Outlaw Pete” is–he blatantly flouts the copyright of Paul Stanley, Desmond Child, and Vincent Poncia! I look forward to Springsteen moving into a new, Desmond Child-intensive, phase of his career, maybe kicking off with a cover of “I Hate Myself for Loving You.”
Let’s move on to the last song on the album. It’s the Golden Globe winner “The Wrestler,” attached to the closing credits of the Mickey Rourke movie. I think that it’s mostly a fine piece of work, more effective outside the movie than inside it, but some of the lyrics just go clunk. Skipping past the “one trick pony” cliché, we come to this line:
Have you ever seen a one-legged dog makin’ his way down the street?
The first few times I heard the song, I just nodded at the evocative image: Yes, I’ve seen that, and a dog missing a leg always seems sad and noble. (Hey, just like the characters in the movie!) Then I realized the dog wasn’t missing one leg, but three legs. No, I haven’t ever seen a one-legged dog, and I’m really not sure how such a sad, crippled beast would get down the street. As the old joke goes, a dog like that would have to be named Cigarette: every day you would take him out for a drag.