a spy in the house of love

author alexandra bracken

05 Jul

BETTER DAYS- Bruce Springsteen

These are better days baby
Yeah there’s better days shining through
These are better days baby
Better days with a girl like you

Like I mentioned before, I’ve been listening to an absurd amount of Bruce Springsteen as I attempt to finish Sequel.  (I think my playlist for this book is, like, 70% Springsteen, 20% Neil Young, 10% contemporary music.)  One of the characters basically worships The Boss and drops a few mentions of him here and there.  This will do nothing to convince you guys I am not a Grade-A crazy person, but I will occasionally… sort of assume traits of the characters in the stories I’m working on?  When I first started writing The Darkest Minds, for instance, I’d wear these black boots and my green military coat almost every day, because that’s what Ruby wears for a good deal of the story.  I occasionally pick up vocal tics from the characters, too, without meaning to (thanks to Vida, I’ve been calling everyone “boo” for the past six months).  I reread some of the books Chubs reads in TDM.  Stuff like that.  It helps me feel closer to them and get inside of their heads.  I know, it’s weird.  I got no excuse.

It’s the same when I listen to Springsteen—I just feel closer to this character, and I feel like I understand something about his character I couldn’t quite grasp before.  It’s been a little bit of a challenge to have a relentlessly optimistic character in this story. I keep catching instances of him sliding into this super naive, pollyanna territory.  He does, in a way, remind me of a narrator of a Springsteen song.  A skinny kid who was handed a really shitty deck of cards, but still expects a good one to eventually come up every time he sits down to play.  

More than that, though, I don’t think I’ve ever fully appreciated how well Springsteen captures this… Americana/heartland sentiment that’s as proud and glorifying as it is at times damning.  Crushed American dreams, Big Guy vs. Little Guy, hope for better days, political activism, etc.  Just the instrumentals make you want to hit the road and take a trip across the country. It’s an interesting switch from the first book, which featured a number of protest songs from the 60s and 70s, as well as Southern rock. 

Here’s a sampling of my Boss Playlist:

Death to My Hometown

Wrecking Ball

Thunder Road


The Rising

Dancing in the Dark

I’m On Fire

Born to Run


Atlantic City