Review: We Take Care Of Our Own

A couple of weeks ago now, I downloaded the single from Bruce Springsteen, “We Take Care Of Our Own.” I loved it the first time that I heard it. The prophet at work again. When I started this blog a gazillion years ago, it was called “RadioRebellion.” It was Bruce that gave me the inspiration for the name. Music can turn radio into a rebellion. Always has…always will.

Alongside Bono, Dylan, Sting and a small handful of others, Springsteen has a singular knack for taking biting social commentary and turning it into a hit song. To me, “We Take Care Of Our Own” is another way to say “He has told you, human one, what is good and what the LORD requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love,and walk humbly with your God [Mic 6:8; CEB].” But that’s nothing new for the Boss.

“We Take Care Of Our Own” is kind of a Born In The USA Part 2. You don’t need to have a PhD, to figure out that this statement is ironic; sardonic if you think about it too long. Here is the song performed at the Grammy’s [lyrics below].

The title of this blog is prophets and popstars. The reason is because, I am interested in hearing the prophetic voice speak truth into the world. Prophets aren’t afraid to say what is. And it just so happens that popstars speak prophetically, and powerfully so, quite often. This isn’t to confuse prophetic voice with biblical prophet, but a truth speaker is a truth speaker.

The magic of this song is the bitter contrast between verse and chorus; the polis and the politician. Using a melody, that sounds strangely like Flock of Seagulls, I got hooked by an immediate and familiar sound that pounded me with heartbreak and protest. In this song, Springsteen Occupies the Bill of Rights and reminds us that love of neighbor is more than just a good idea (gosh…who else said that?).

It’s election year, our tv sets are full of heads, our ears are full of talking and into this Bruce sounds his sonic wail:


Where the eyes, the eyes with the will to see
Where the hearts, that run over with mercy
Where’s the love that has not forsaken me
Where’s the work that set my hands, my soul free
Where’s the spirit that’ll reign, reign over me
Where’s the promise, from sea to shining sea
Where’s the promise, from sea to shining sea
Wherever this flag is flown
Wherever this flag is flown
Wherever this flag is flown

Like a ghost drifting down a frozen interstate, Bruce asked, “Is there anyone alive out there?” in 2007’s Radio Nowhere.

The question still reverberates, but with “We Take Care Of Our Own” he’s adds the most important piece: “and will anyone notice?

Full lyrics

I’ve been knockin’ on the door that holds the throne
I’ve been lookin’ for the map that leads me home
I’ve been stumblin’ on good hearts turned to stone
The road of good intentions has gone dry as bone
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own

From Chicago to New Orleans
From the muscle to the bone
From the shotgun shack to the Superdome
We yelled “help” but the cavalry stayed home
There ain’t no-one hearing the bugle blown
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own

Where the eyes, the eyes with the will to see
Where the hearts, that run over with mercy
Where’s the love that has not forsaken me
Where’s the work that set my hands, my soul free
Where’s the spirit that’ll reign, reign over me
Where’s the promise, from sea to shining sea
Where’s the promise, from sea to shining sea
Wherever this flag is flown
Wherever this flag is flown
Wherever this flag is flown