RARA-AVIS: Re: The Long Goodbye

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 17 Sep 2010

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    Brian wrote:

    > I liken reading good noir fiction to listening to both sides of Bruce
    > Springsteen's classic DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN. Even thought you start
    > out hopeful ("Badlands" on side 1 and "The Promised Land" on side 2), in the
    > end, you know that Life/Fate/God/Buddha/The Universe is going to intervene,
    > grind these folks down, and leave them with stark, Jungian moments of
    > clarity (as crystalized in the gorgeous, forlorn "Racing in the Streets" and
    > "Darkness on the Edge of Town," the songs that end each side respectively).

    And even though he cribbed the line from Woody Guthrie, has there ever been a better encapsulation of the demi-monde of all those primal films noir than "darkness at the edge of town"?

    Then again, there are few mainstream songwriters at his level of success (outside of hip-hop) right now who have so consistently written about crime and criminals: Nebraska, American Skin, Meeting Across the River (which inspired a whole short story collection), Jeannie Needs a Shooter (a co-write with Zevon) and my current fave, The Losing Kind, which is like a film noir set to music. It's all about a guy, a girl, a gun, bad decisions and worse luck. It's never been officially released, but it may yet see the light of day -- there's a massive reissue of Darkness coming out soon with a slew of unreleased songs.

    Lights out tonight, indeed.

    Who's going to Bouchercon?

    Kevin Burton Smith Editor/Founder The Thrilling Detective Web Site
    "Wasting your time on the web since 1998."

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