Sarfraz Manzoor - My favourite album: Tunnel of Love by Bruce Springsteen | Music | guardian.co.uk
Listening to Tunnel of Love reminds me of what Bob Dylan said about his 1975 record Blood on the Tracks. “A lot of people tell me they enjoy that album,” Dylan said. “It’s hard for me to relate to that. You know, people enjoying that type of pain.” There is a fair amount of pain in Tunnel of Love – the dull gnawing pain of seeing life stray from the hoped for script. I love how Springsteen’s song-writing refuses to trade in certainties; in Cautious Man he sings about a man who “on his right hand (had) tattooed the word love and on his left hand was the word fear/and in which hand he held his fate was never clear”. When I first heard the album I was a chronically inexperienced teenager who knew of love only what I gleaned from the songs of Lionel Richie and Foreigner; it was through listening to Tunnel of Love that I first learned that boy meets girl was the beginning and not the end of the story.
Rock music can sound hopelessly naïve as one enters adulthood; songs become vehicles for nostalgic time travel. The genius of Tunnel of Love is that its themes have become more pertinent with time; adulthood is after all a process of accepting the absence of absolute certainty and Tunnel of Love is a record riddled with doubt and the impossibility of truly knowing oneself or those to whom we entrust our love: in the words of Brilliant Disguise: “God have mercy on the man who doubts what he’s sure of.” I know of no other album that has better captured the messy three dimensional reality of relationships.