Bruce Springsteen, one of America’s rock icons, released “Brilliant Disguise” in 1987, which later became the perfect single to preview his album, Tunnel Of Love. The song also went on to be nominated for the “Best Male Pop Vocal Performance” at the Grammy’s in 1988. Thirty years later, the chart topper is still considered one of the greatest songs in Springsteen’s discography.
Most listeners associate Springsteen with his rough and tumble, working class image conveyed throughout Born in the U.S.A., but “Brilliant Disguise” brings out a vulnerability not seen from Springsteen before. It’s a breakup record reflecting on his marriage with Julianne Phillips, who he would eventually divorce two years later. He narrates this struggle deeply not only throughout the song, but other records off the album. Springsteen moves away from his traditional E- Street band sound and laments on these heartbreaks with his poetic verses, “The Gypsy swore our future was right / But come the wee wee hours / Well maybe, baby, the gypsy lied.” The song, though rather laid back, swells with emotion as Springsteen questions himself and his marriage until the final chord.
The Gypsy swore our future was right/ But come the wee wee hours/ Well maybe, baby, the gypsy lied
“Brilliant Disguise” adds a softer portrayal to what American rock can be, as well as who Springsteen is as a vocal artist and lyricist. As a number one chart member in October 1987, the track allowed Springsteen to break from traditional norms. So, sit back and enjoy a taste of something different from the bonafide rocker.