I hadn't ever given it much thought, but I realized tonight on my third straight listen that Land Of Hope And Dreams is the Springsteen song I've gone to the most over the last twenty years. I love everything about it, every version. It was the perfect new song for Bruce's reunion with the E Street Band, which was also a true reunion with us. and it's taken on deeper meaning for me as I've grown older and it's grown older, seen rebirth on Wrecking Ball and grown familiar once again.
It's a certain sort of understated genius when a song can serve as both a eulogy and a celebration of life. In Badlands, Bruce said "it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive," and the entirety of Land Of Hope And Dreams is a confirmation of that truth. Never has an invitation so inclusive felt so exclusive upon my receiving it.
I know some think it's paint-by-numbers Bruce, but that whole concept is one I don't subscribe to. I consider it quintessential and essential Springsteen.