> 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
The Thrilling Detective Web Site
"Wasting your time on the web since 1998."
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