Some songs deserve to be forgotten, erased from history never to be mentioned again. Some songs warrant complete eradication and deafening silence in the aftermath. You have one, and right now that puts you in the same league as Sting. Do you really want to be talked about in the same breath (pun intended)? You’re absolutely not the only one and it must feel unfair to be singled out for what was, and still is, industry standard; songs with a dubious point of view, reflected in storyline or lyrics.
I’m talking about ‘I’m on Fire’ of course, a song still part of your setlist although, granted, not performed that frequently anymore after 2016. You must agree it cannot be qualified as one of your better songs, far from actually. It seems to have fans though, on surface level it is a bit of a charmer, it carries a romantic vibe if you don’t look to deep into it, and get your information mainly from the video clip. Visually it goes like this: young car mechanic meets gorgeous woman who wants him, him in particular, to fix her car. We don’t see her, but everything about her, carefully polished nails, jewelry, clothes, suggests wealth, and of course, the big diamond ring makes it abundantly clear she is married. The car in question is a well-preserved convertibel, and apart from the link with style and wealth, it is meant to suggest that the guy she is married to is also…an oldtimer, carefully preserved but old. Late at night the car mechanic drives her car back and, arriving at the expensive mansion she lives in, contemplates ringing the doorbell, hesitates and then decides to just drop the keys. Car mechanic walks away. End of story.
All fine so far, apart from the obvious element of adulturous desire. Visiting a married woman late at night is a bit creepy and the visual storyline is tacky but accurately portrays common male fantasy, but then…the lyrics paint a completely different picture. What you sing is this:
“Hey, little girl, is your daddy home?
Did he go away and leave you all alone?
I got a bad desire”
“Tell me now, baby, is he good to you?
And can he do to you the things that I do?
Oh no, I can take you higher”
Now…that sounds peadophilic and rapey. I mean…why is it even important if he left her alone…unless your bad desire actually signals bad intentions. And…things he can do better than her ‘daddy’…you mean…repairing cars?
So dear Bruce, you’re a clever man, so I expect you do the right thing. It must be difficult to cancel one of your own, especially since there seem to be so many people with fond memories linked to ‘I’m on Fire’, but if there ever was a chance to cancel, eradicate, and wash away an awful musical mistake, it must have been this one. I expect you do the right thing.