Atlantic City – Bruce Springsteen

Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night now they blew up his house too
Down on the boardwalk they’re gettin’ ready for a fight gonna see what them racket boys can do

Now there’s trouble busin’ in from outta state and the D.A. can’t get no relief
Gonna be a rumble out on the promenade and the gamblin’ commission’s hangin’ on by the skin of its teeth

CHORUS
Well now everything dies baby that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Well I got a job and tried to put my money away
But I got debts that no honest man can pay
So I drew what I had from the Central Trust
And I bought us two tickets on that Coast City bus

CHORUS

Now our luck may have died and our love may be cold but with you forever I’ll stay
We’re goin’ out where the sand’s turnin’ to gold so put on your stockin’s baby ’cause the night’s getting cold
And everything dies baby that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back

Now I been lookin’ for a job but it’s hard to find
Down here it’s just winners and losers and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line
Well I’m tired of comin’ out on the losin’ end
So honey last night I met this guy and I’m gonna do a little favor for him
Well I guess everything dies baby that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your hair up nice and set up pretty
and meet me tonight in Atlantic City
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

This song originally came out in 1982, on Bruce’s Nebraska album. The slow beat goes with the sadness, the agony, of the song. Bruce somehow finds hope with this song, like he seems to with so many of his songs.

The line that stands out to me, and probably most people who listen to this song is, Well everything dies baby that’s a fact, But maybe everything that dies someday comes back.

Bruce takes you into the life of honest man who had to make a few changes. Organized crime is big, and he has debts that he wouldn’t have if he didn’t have to try to find an easy way out of things. The song is a mess of terror, of bad things. Bruce sings melodically and with such passion that you can believe that his character is him. He throws himself into the life of the character, not only through his lyricism but through his vocals.

He seems to be reaching out in hope. Saying that, maybe for now his innocence is gone, but maybe he might get it back. Those simple lines can bring hope to anyone, in any situation.

When he says, put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty, and meet me tonight in Atlantic City. It could be his way of saying his dragging someone down with him. He needs her whoever she is, to help him with his money struggle. Or maybe, his dishonest acts, whatever they may be, have brought in enough money to take her out somewhere special.

Well I got a job and tried to put my money away, but I got debts that no honest man can pay. Like I mentioned earlier, he clearly owes money to people that he shouldn’t. He’s no longer the honest man he used to be, for whatever reason, probably financial struggles.

So I drew What I had from the Central Trust and I bought us two tickets on that Coast City Bus . He’s trying to get away from the dishonesty, from the crime. He’s trying to do right.

Now our luck may have died and out love may be cold but with you forever I’ll stay We’re goin’ out where the sand’s turnin’ to gold so put on your stockin’s baby ’cause the night’s getting cold
And everything dies baby that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back

Love is what matters to him. Whatever wrong he’s done, he’s done for love. It seems like he’s going somewhere like California. When he says where the sand’s turnin’ to gold, it seems like he’s talking about the gold rush. Which would explain the ticket to the coast city bus. He reiterates, outside of the chorus, that maybe everything that dies someday comes back.

Now I been lookin’ for a job but it’s hard to find
Down here it’s just winners and losers and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line
Well I’m tired of comin’ out on the losin’ end

He’s saying that it’s hard to find a real job. He’s flat out saying that he’s on the wrong side of the line, he keeps coming out a loser.

So honey last night I met this guy and I’m gonna do a little favor for him

Obviously, he doesn’t go into more detail about this favor that he’s going to do. But it seems to be something he’s ashamed of. Something that might not be the most moral choice. However, he’s doing it for the money, to get away from where he is, do that he can be with her, and be happy.

This is a beautiful, touching song. Bruce digs into our souls and finds what we’re ashamed of, then he throws it in our faces and says, “don’t worry, your innocence is still there somewhere.”

-Lyrics from Brucespringsteen.net