I sort of accidentally hit play on the Leeds Secret Garden today, and as is somehow usual with me, I started listening on a loop, then I got totally absorbed in the song.
So... I think it was a mistake to shelve the 1994 relationship album. I read somewhere that it was Landau's idea to go with the career overview instead.
I checked some aincent sites (really weird, if I may say so), and there were people discussing whether it was a song about a prostitute, or about the inaccessibility of the most deepest levels of a woman's soul. 🤯
Bruce said it was darkly erotic and centered around the mysteries that remains between partners, even the closest of relationships.
I like what Bruce said, although I have days when the darkly erotic seems more predominant, and others when I hear the song in a more romantic, sentimental way. Which I guess makes the song more ambiguous and intriguing, and even better.
The sax solo is blissful, but I can't decide whether I like the greatest hits version more, or the strings version.
Any visitors to the Secret Garden around here? Anyone ever got in?
Couple of quick thoughts inspired by the above.
Secret Garden has never been a personal favourite... infact, for my tastes I could never understand how Secret Garden got selected for GH ahead of what I consider the far superior Back In Your Arms. The ironic thing is, Secret Garden eventually earned it's place on GH after the fact when it was used for Jerry Maguire and actually became a hit.
I must say, I do like the version from Leeds. But I like pretty much everything on Leeds. I think I'm somewhat out on my own, but Leeds is easily a Top 10 Archive show for me. Great sound and some killer performances. The four song sign request pack is great fun.
I have loved Secret Garden from when I first heard it, and, to be completely honest, was naive to what he was singing about.
Its a good song, and my memory of it is always enhanced by seeing C lay down the solo in the Blood Brothers video. If nothing else, the film crew capturing that was an incredible stroke of luck.
I love the version on GH. That was the right choice.
As to the song itself, well, I see it as a man realising and acknowledging that a woman's bounty is not there to be taken at will or plundered. To paraphrase him from a different live show 'You have to work at it'... And so you do. And I think the narrator is saying if you take the time to do that, know what makes her happy, what makes her feel safe and loved, well, that secret garden can be yours to explore and enjoy.
To me the narrator of the song has always sounded somewhat bitter, cynical and frustrated about women and their nature. "She'll let you in her mouth if the words you say are right/.../She's got a secret garden/Where everything you want/Where everything you need/Will always stay/A million miles away". To put it straight: If you butter her up with sweet words she'll give you a BJ but at the core she's selfish and doesn't care about you and your needs.
I have never liked the song.
I don't play it often, usually because there's almost always several newly released songs that I want to play instead. It's a song that I feel you find yourself wanting to listen to out of the blue, one for the right moment, whether that moment is built out of something like sexual desire or by simply wanting to listen to a great song.
During the most recent Lockdown I'd spend my walks listening to Bruce's music on an instinct-shuffle, where I'd play one song and decide what I want to hear next based on that song. Sometimes it would result in multiple different versions of the same song in a row, sometimes I'd mix up it big. After "Local Hero" and "Gotta Get That Feeling" in a now rare Leeds revisit, I remembered I hadn't played "Secret Garden" in a while and tapped 'Play Next'. I often mention that description of "Streets of Philadelphia" I read when I was younger, that Bruce was (then) the greatest film director to never direct a film. This song nicely complements that, as well as makes a case for Bruce Springsteen being the greatest therapist who never took the time to get an honours degree.
And in regards to the second paragraph, I honestly think Mr Landau made the right call. Following the 'poorly received' happier albums of 1992 and the 'niche' folk album of 1995, to follow those up with another concept album built around relationships again might have done more damage than good in a commercial sense. So it was probably best to play it safe with an early Greatest Hits album. I hope that particular album is on the shelf somewhere, though, I'd love to hear it if Inc. want to drop that evasive Tracks II.