Two of Bruce Springsteen’s favorite themes, work and love, come together in “I’ll Work for Your Love,” from the Magic album. It’s a love song, basically, with the singer making the pledge of the song’s title over and over. It’s also got a lot of religious imagery, which is a little strange.
I mean, I think I understand what he’s going for in lines such as “The pages of Revelation lie open in your empty eyes of blue” and “Round your hair the sun lifts a halo,” using terminology with religious connotations to evoke the mystery and wonder of love. But the references to things like “the stations of the cross,” “my temple of bones” and “seven drops of blood” leave me mystified. (And as far as I can tell from readings others’ interpretations, no one else can explain it clearly, anyway.).
In any event, “I’ll Work for Your Love” has a big, full-bodied wall of sound (it even has a glockenspiel, played by Springsteen and evoking the sound of the Born to Run album), a wonderful melody to the verses, and a big, surging chorus. I think if it had come out earlier in Springsteen’s career, maybe with more accessible lyrics in the verses, it could have been a hit single.
Background facts: “I’ll Work for Your Love” is from Springsteen’s 2007 album, Magic. According to Brucebase, it was performed in concert 31 times from 2007 to 2016.
On each of the 70 days leading up to Bruce Springsteen’s 70th birthday (on Sept. 23, 2019), NJArts.net will do a post on one of The Boss’ best songs of the last 30 years. We’re starting with No. 70 and working our way up. For more on the project, click here.
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence, though, depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of $10, or any other amount, to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJ Arts Daily to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.