niallon – Dancing In The Dark

I’ve well and truly run out of ways to describe my obsession with the music of Bruce Springsteen by now. For me, he and the E Street Band are the music. The music that popped up in my life at a time that I needed something to, that I needed something to point me in a direction. It’s my get hyped music, my comedown music, my inspirational music and of course the “Jesus will this hangover ever go away music”. I do feel a slightly stronger connection to it too, namely the New Jersey factor. My uncle Michael emigrated to the States many years ago as so many did and so many still do. He settled in New Jersey, married and started a family. He worked his hands to the bone, made a great life for himself and I think if I tried for the rest of my life, I’d never find someone with a bad word to say about him. Every time I have been to the US has been to New Jersey. I’ve seen other places on those trips, but it has always been New Jersey with Michael, my aunt and cousin and more that was the base station. We’ve had some amazing trips there, the most memorable of which for me was when Michael took me down to Asbury Park. It was my Graceland, seeing where it all started. Standing outside The Stone Pony where The Boss got started out many years before. Walking the shore, taking in the sights so vividly described in “Sandy” and other tracks. Memories like that mean that Springsteen’s music runs much deeper than the surface layer for me, incorporating history and family and blood.

Michael passed away just over two years ago. In my life I’ve always had a steady nine to five and been a musician on the side. 2015 brought about a lot of change. I quit my job, started a new one that I far more enjoyed, and most importantly I rediscovered music. We started, myself and Peter, in earnest to make something of this YouTube project. What the ultimate goal is, we aren’t all that sure. What we do know is that we love doing what we do.

He wasn’t a hard core Springsteen fan, nor had we ever much discussed music at all to be honest, but I can’t help but connect Springsteen back to New Jersey, back to Michael, which leads to interpretations like this one. On the one hand, I do sometimes feel a little bad taking these upbeat poppy tracks like “Read My Mind”, “Toca’s Miracle” and “Mr Brightside” and completely flipping them on their head, turning them into melancholic trods through deep thought and lyrical meaning. On the other hand, to me there are always real songs hiding behind the synth and pop. “Dancing In The Dark” to me is a perfect pop song with an insanely catchy hook, but it’s also a song that encapsulates loneliness, isolation and pure desperation. Sometimes, in Ireland in particular, we don’t like to admit when things are shit. We’d sooner ‘keep calm and carry on’ rather than tell someone we’re having a tough time. The origins of this track lie in Springsteen being pressured to write a hit. I feel it reaches beyond that specific territory though. To me, this song speaks for all of us being asked to work outside of our comfort zone, being asked to be someone we’re not and most importantly, being asked to betray ourselves. If we’ve managed to convey even a tenth of that in this version, I’ll be happy. As always watch, like, share, subscribe.

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Bachelors Degree in Arts from NUI Maynooth. Double Honours English & Philosophy.

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