The punk-rock band The Bouncing Souls has roots in Basking Ridge and New Brunswick, but relocated to Asbury Park in the ’90s, and that is reflected on the uplifting title track of their 2010 album, Ghosts on the Boardwalk.
There’s nothing spooky about it. Instead, the Boardwalk, despite the ghosts, is seen as a kind of healing place — a place where the sights and sounds overwhelm you, and you can experience a kind of rebirth: “All of these emotions clouding up your eyes till you can’t see/You can’t see, you can’t breathe, you can’t see/Let me take you to a place where the sun warms your face/And the sound of the waves takes you away.”
In a 2010 interview with pop-break.com, bassist Bryan Kienlen explained the song this way: “Where you live definitely influences every part of your life, and it definitely permeated into our songwriting. … It never would’ve influenced it if we didn’t live here year-round. After the summer ends, you get the Jersey Shore to yourselves. You have a more intimate relationship with it when you’re left alone. There’s so much energy and beauty coming from the ocean. There’s also a lot of history and energy coming from the town, and it’s something you can tune into and feel. When you walk along the boardwalk by yourself, you can feel that, like they’re ghosts walking along with you.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.