From the initial strains of that heart-thumping, powerful melody, I feel like becoming a welder, writing three novels in succession, declaring my love to someone underneath their window, and building 100 cabinets. Joy, inspiration, fist-pumping energy–all from the moment that music starts.

Although I have many favorites by The Boss, I think this one perfectly captures that feeling we all get sometimes: just wanting to do something, no matter the hurdles, the potential obstacles, the dark. Per music lore, Springsteen wrote the song out of frustration from trying to write a hit single for the Born in the USA album. Music lore is music lore–and therefore largely unverifiable–but I think knowing that only adds to those incredible lyrics. The narrator wanting to simply make things happen despite himself, his own limitations, the world around him.

I get up in the evening
And I ain’t got nothing to say
I come home in the morning
I go to bed feeling the same way
I ain’t nothing but tired
Man, I’m just tired and bored with myself
Hey there baby, I could use just a little help

You can’t start a fire
You can’t start a fire without a spark
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark

Message keeps getting clearer
Radio’s on and I’m moving ’round the place
I check my look in the mirror
I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man, I ain’t getting nowhere
Just living in a dump like this
There’s something happening somewhere
Baby I just know that there is

You can’t start a fire
You can’t start a fire without a spark
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark

You sit around getting older
There’s a joke here somewhere and it’s on me
I’ll shake this world off my shoulders
Come on, baby, the laugh’s on me

Stay on the streets of this town
And they’ll be carving you up all right
They say you gotta stay hungry
Hey, baby, I’m just about starving tonight
I’m dying for some action
I’m sick of sitting ’round here trying to write this book
I need a love reaction
Come on now, baby, gimme just one look

You can’t start a fire
Sitting ’round crying over a broken heart
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
You can’t start a fire
Worrying about your little world falling apart
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark

By the end of the song, when Clarence Clemons’ sweet saxophone wails as the song dies away, I’m typically walking around with my fists clenched and a plan to scale some mountain somewhere. Inspiration at its best, if you ask me. What song gets you moving/thinking/planning/inspired/wanting to be a welder?

The one and only time I wanted to be Courteney Cox...
The one and only time I wanted to be Courteney Cox. 
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