“Better Days” is one of Bruce Springsteen’s most underrated songs.
At the beginning, Springsteen sings about “sitting around” and “waiting for life to beginning.”
A position I’m quite familiar with.
Yet as the song continues, a rock transformation happens. He acknowledges that every “fool’s got a reason for feelin’ sorry for himself.”
He knows that for “better days to shine through” he must engage with his own life. He has to quit the self-pity, the self-victimization charade that we’re all guilty of entertaining.
The song concludes with Springsteen announcing he’s “halfway to heaven and just a mile outta hell” but he’s “ comin’ home” as he repeats, with his all his raspy New Jersey spirit, “these are better days.”
It’s catchy, convincing. A 4 minute reminder that better days only arrive when we finally brave up and accept our lives, for better or worse. Nothing can be excluded. We must accept the good and bad, the joy and pain, the pride and shame.
Better days will only dawn when our flawed past is fully accepted.