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  • Writer's picturePete Chianca

The Bruce Springsteen End-of-Pandemic Playlist: 54 songs for embracing 'Better Days' ahead

Today (Saturday, May 29) is a big day here in Massachusetts (one of the most vaccinated areas of the country, ahem) -- it’s the day most COVID restrictions end, meaning people will be venturing out into fully open stores, packed movie theaters and full-capacity stadiums, often without masks. It will be weird.

But after 15 long months of another kind of weirdness, it’s a welcome one -- and what better way to celebrate it than with a playlist of music by Bruce Springsteen? But not just any playlist -- one that traces our pandemic odyssey from its earliest days through our current vaccine-fueled recovery. [Editor's note: Yes, I know it's a little cheesy. Give me a break, I've been inside for 15 months.]

So listen, enjoy, and get ready for a packed pit when Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band hit the road in 2022 (fingers crossed). And if you still want to wear your mask, that’s OK.


Set 1: Denial, Shock and Anger

First we thought it would never reach us, then that it would “just go away.” (That’s what somebody supposedly in charge was saying, after all.) Then as things got worse, we got sad -- and mad. Who’ll be the last to die for a mistake?

  1. The Time That Never Was

  2. Livin’ In The Future

  3. Roulette

  4. Streets of Fire

  5. Last to Die

Set 2: Life in Lockdown

Lonely, anxious, depressed … Did we leave anything out? As we learned that when you’re alone, you’re alone, everybody had their own way way of dealing with a lack of human touch.

  1. We Take Care of Our Own

  2. Life Itself

  3. How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live

  4. When You’re Alone

  5. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)

  6. Human Touch

  7. Living On The Edge of the World

  8. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day

Set 3: Hope for the Future

As the vaccine rolled out and cases dropped, we dared to work on a dream: Is the long international nightmare finally coming to an end? There finally seemed to be cause for high(er) hopes.

  1. Long Walk Home

  2. We Shall Overcome

  3. Janey Don’t You Lose Heart

  4. High Hopes

  5. The Power of Prayer

  6. Working On a Dream

  7. Save My Love

  8. Countin’ On a Miracle

  9. Land of Hope and Dreams

  10. Reason to Believe

  11. Tougher Than the Rest

  12. The Rising

  13. Wrecking Ball

  14. I’ll Work for Your Love

  15. My Love Will Not Let You Down

  16. The Ties That Bind

  17. No Surrender

  18. We Are Alive

Set 4: A Prayer for The Lost

Even as we head back toward “normal,” many have been struggling with long goodbyes. Thinking of those we’ll be seeing in our dreams.

  1. Souls of the Departed

  2. Ghosts

  3. Further On (Up the Road)

  4. The Long Goodbye

  5. The Price You Pay

  6. My Beautiful Reward

  7. I’ll See You In My Dreams

Set 5: Reunited And It Feels So Good

Slowly we step out in the street … Masks come off … Bells ring out through churches and jails … Stadiums echo with the sounds of a roaring crowd … LIVE MUSIC COMES BACK … These are better days!

  1. O Mary Don’t You Weep No More

  2. For You

  3. Long Time Comin’

  4. Hello Sunshine

  5. My Lucky Day

  6. Jacob’s Ladder

  7. Kingdom of Days

  8. Better Days

  9. Back in Your Arms

  10. Glory Days

  11. Lucky Town

  12. Kitty’s Back

  13. Two Hearts

  14. Out in the Street

  15. Born to Run

  16. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)



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