i’m on fire.

bruce springsteen’s *i’m on fire* is a song that i remember hearing at such an early age. the still tone of his voice along with the vulnerability of an acoustic guitar easily brought me into my own dark place. many times, i imagined myself singing this as a woman conveying different emotions. visually inside a dimly lit bar, over glasses of shiraz and stale cigarettes, it reminded me of the intensity of being confident and rejected within loving someone who couldn’t love back. now at times, i see it as a childhood story of being sexually violated over and over again. however, no matter how the song related to any secret underlining representations, it meant something poignant and powerful when it was originally written and to me, always seemed to feel somewhat comforting.

i’m on fire
hey little girl, is your daddy home
did he go away and leave you all alone
i got a bad desire, i’m on fire
tell me now baby, is he good to you
can he do to you the things that i do
i can take you higher, i’m on fire
sometimes, it’s like someone took a knife baby
edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley
through the middle of my soul
at night, i wake up with the sheets soaking wet
and a freight train running through the
middle of my head
only you can cool my desire
i’m on fire

bruce springsteen [born in the usa, 1985]

chromatics [in the city, 2007]
bat for lashes [fur and gold, 2007]
johnny cash [badlands: a tribute to bruce springsteen, 2000]
electrelane [singles, b-sides and live, 2006]

tori amos [vh1 crossroads, 1996]
big country [eclectic, 1996]

artwork by
colette calascione, ken dougherty
sylvia ji and joshua petker

26 Responses

  1. Ian Robinson

    great stuff. like your thoughts on the song. it’s always been a wistful, terribly lonely, song to me. i guess the worst pain is lonely.

  2. Cerberus Sky

    Hi. I am having a lot of trouble downloading any of these songs. Maybe they aren’t for download, just listening?

    Either way, just clicking the title and right click > save target as aren’t working for me. If they are up for download, could you please tell me how to do it? I’d love to have the original and the Johnny Cash version (his covers are always so unique, imo) and try out the others as well.

    I found you over on LJ at coversongs and I gotta say as well: The art here is just amazing.

  3. oops

    Oops, now the Heather Nova file is playing the Big Country version!
    The Johnny Cash version makes me think of “Ring of Fire”.

  4. Deoxy

    I like this post. I love this song. I am a bit envious of the Chromatics version. I really always wanted to sing that song (not that I still can’t, of course).

    This post is an example of why I read your blog. Nice.

  5. Casey

    It always amazes me how different artists can take the same song in completely different directions. This post made me absurdly happy.

  6. colin

    confident and rejected… love not given back… sigh… at its heart, it’s a very sinister song but there is something that saves it from the abyss. the thought of freight trains, perhaps. a troubled soul needing help for a desire that doesn’t just burn him, but scorches the earth and all who walk it… x

  7. Gaz

    Thanks for the tunes, I don’t think the Big Country one is working properly though…..it’s Heather Nova. All the best.

  8. christy

    I love this song, and I love these covers. I can’t even pick a favourite. Thanks for posting them. 🙂

  9. muruch

    Nice selection! As much as I loved the Bat For Lashes album, I thought her cover was lackluster compared to the original or Tori’s version.

  10. Hugo

    Good taste has a way of crossing the atlantic…Congratulations from Lisbon!

  11. Tim

    It’s so strange, I was listening to this song earlier today and remembering a) how extraordinary it is and b) quite how much it used to mean to me. As soppy as it sounds, I also realised that I’d just found the woman who can cool my desire. And she’s perfectly happy to too.

    I’ve now got ‘Racing In The Street’ on repeat play. “Tonight, tonight the highway’s bright, out of our way mister you best keep. ‘Cause summer’s here and the time is right for racin’ in the street”.


  12. Haley

    One of the only Springsteen songs that I love. Fantastic job with the art as usual.. and designing this together!

  13. Fuji

    Thanks for the art!
    The link for the johnny cash cover is wrong 🙁 snif I don’t know this cover….

    keep up colors and music