Badlands
Bruce Springsteen Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Well, lights out tonight
Trouble in the heartland
Got a head on collision
Smashin' in my guts, man
I'm caught in a cross fire
That I don't understand

But there's one thing I know for sure, girl
I don't give a damn
For the same old played out scenes
Baby, I don't give a damn
For just the in-betweens
Honey, I want the heart, I want the soul
I want control right now
You better listen to me, baby

Talk about a dream
Try to make it real
You wake up in the night
With a fear so real
You spend your life waiting
For a moment that just don't come
Well, don't waste your time waiting

Badlands, you gotta live it everyday
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you've gotta pay
Keep pushin' 'til it's understood
And these badlands start treating us good

Workin' in the fields
That'll get your back burned
Workin' 'neath the wheels
'Til you get your facts learned
Baby, I got my facts
Learned real good right now
You better get it straight, darlin'

Poor man wanna be rich
Rich man wanna be king
And a king ain't satisfied
'Til he rules everything
I wanna go out tonight
I wanna find out what I got

Well, I believe in the love that you gave me
I believe in the faith that can save me
I believe in the hope and I pray
That someday it may raise me
Above these

Badlands, you gotta live it everyday
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you've gotta pay
Keep pushin' 'til it's understood
And these badlands start treating us good

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa

For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside
That it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive
I wanna find one face that ain't looking through me
I wanna find one place
I wanna spit in the face of these

Badlands, you gotta live it everyday
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you've gotta pay
Keep movin' 'til it's understood
And these badlands start treating us good

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, badlands
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, badlands
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, badlands
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, badlands




Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, badlands
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, badlands

Overall Meaning

The opening lines of "Badlands" set the tone for the rest of the song. The singer is in a state of distress and possibly danger - there are "lights out tonight," there's "trouble in the heartland," and there's a sense of violence implied by "head on collision" and "smashing in my guts." The singer is caught in the middle of some kind of conflict, "a cross fire that [they] don't understand." But despite all this chaos, the singer is resolute - "there's one thing I know for sure, girl / I don't give a damn." They don't want to be stuck in "the same old played out scenes" or the "in-betweens" - they want "the heart, [they] want the soul, [they] want control right now."


The chorus repeats the idea that "badlands" are a daily part of life. Broken hearts are the price we pay for living in the world, and we have to keep pushing through until we can start to make sense of it all. The second verse shifts gears a bit, with a description of physical labor and a pointed commentary on the disparities in wealth and power - "poor man wanna be rich / rich man wanna be king / and a king ain't satisfied / 'til he rules everything." Despite this, the singer wants to go out and discover what they're capable of. The song ends with the repeated refrain of "badlands," establishing that even if the world is tough and unforgiving, we have to keep going and trying to find something worth living for.


Line by Line Meaning

Well, lights out tonight
The night is dark and dangerous


Trouble in the heartland
There is a problem in this place


Got a head on collision
Something has collided with my head


Smashin' in my guts, man
It hurts and is painful in my stomach


I'm caught in a cross fire
There is danger on both sides of me


That I don't understand
I am confused and do not comprehend what is happening


But there's one thing I know for sure, girl
One thing I am sure of is, girl


I don't give a damn
I do not care


For the same old played out scenes
I do not care for the recurrent and predictable scenarios


Baby, I don't give a damn
I would not care, baby


For just the in-betweens
I am not interested in any middle ground


Honey, I want the heart, I want the soul
What I want, my dear, is the genuine emotional and spiritual aspects of life


I want control right now
I want to have command over my life and situation immediately


You better listen to me, baby
You must pay attention to what I am saying, dear


Talk about a dream
Let us have a conversation about a reverie


Try to make it real
Let us try to bring it to reality


You wake up in the night
You arise from sleep during the night


With a fear so real
You are so frightened and terrified


You spend your life waiting
You are wasting your time waiting for something


For a moment that just don't come
That moment will not come


Well, don't waste your time waiting
Do not waste your time waiting


Badlands, you gotta live it everyday
One must endure the grueling situations every day


Let the broken hearts stand
The heartache must be a reminder to stay strong


As the price you've gotta pay
It is a cost you must pay to experience the good things in life


Keep pushin' 'til it's understood
One must continue to strive until the message is clear


And these badlands start treating us good
And when the situation turns good, it is when the real satisfaction is found


Workin' in the fields
Working diligently outside


That'll get your back burned
This will result in a sore back


Workin' 'neath the wheels
Working underneath the wheels of a vehicle


'Til you get your facts learned
Until you have learned the facts


Baby, I got my facts
I have learned the facts, baby


Learned real good right now
I have learned so well right now


You better get it straight, darlin'
You need to correct your understanding, dear


Poor man wanna be rich
The lesser privileged individual also wants abundance


Rich man wanna be king
The wealthier individual also wants power


And a king ain't satisfied
Even the ruler is not fulfilled


'Til he rules everything
Until he controls everything


I wanna go out tonight
I wish to go outside this evening


I wanna find out what I got
I want to establish my worth


Well, I believe in the love that you gave me
I have faith in the affection you rendered to me


I believe in the faith that can save me
I have faith in the belief that can rescue me


I believe in the hope and I pray
I believe in the aspiration, and pray that it will transpire


That someday it may raise me
Hoping that someday it can elevate me


Above these
Above the current problems


For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside
For those who felt something deep inside


That it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive
That it is no wrongdoing to be joyful to exist


I wanna find one face that ain't looking through me
I want to discover one individual who is genuinely interested in me


I wanna find one place
I aspire to find one location


I wanna spit in the face of these
I want to reject these things outright


Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, badlands
Metaphor for the harsh situations one might face in life




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

@michel3048

BRUUUUUUCE!!

@emilianomizzoni4861

😊g😊😊

@iamhongle

Came here after seeing Guardians of the Galaxy and so glad to see this new lyric video released. Such a timeless song and hit the right notes for the film.

@professorpyg505

Which scene?

@z1205

Wish it was in an actual scene though and not just the end credits.

@jomercurio1520

I thought so to.. .about it hitting the right notes for the film

@josephbolcome5462

I've been into this song long before (at least for being on the younger side of the Boss's fandom) , but glad Gunn finally got Bruce's music into a Guardians film.

@gvantsaaspanidze1218

same here 😂💜

18 More Replies...

@paulmemoli3909

I suffer from clinical depression. It waxes and wanes; I'm not always miserable! But the line in this song: It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive, has actually made a difference.

@dianne6155

🙏🌻

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