For the love of rock-Volume I, Issue 9-Brilliant disguise (01 Nov 2016)

For the love of rock

Volume I, Issue 9 – Brilliant disguise (01 Nov 2016)


Name of song  Brilliant disguise

Singer- Bruce Springsteen

Album Tunnel of Love

Writer Bruce Springsteen

Release year 1987

Chart records- Billboard Hot 100-5 (Nov 21, 1987)

Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks-1 (Oct 17, 1987)

Official Norwegian Hit Chart-1 (1987)

Special mentions-  #6 – Single of 1987 by Village Voice

#57 – Single of 1987 by New Musical Express

Critic’s list at

#1192 – Best song of all time

#27 – Best song of 1987

#214 – Best song of 1980’s

Similar artists– Tom Petty, John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan, Bob Seger, Neil Young


Brilliant disguise

Reviewers-Bikash Shrestha/Nirab Kayastha

When one talks about Bruce Springsteen, it is difficult to ponder over any one song from the amazingly enormous number of classics to his credit.

“Brilliant disguise” is a deeply personal song by the Boss from his eighth studio album “Tunnel of Love”. This album had followed the massively successful “Born in the USA” album and definitely led down many casual fans with its introspective thoughts towards realistically dark human relationships. Despite this, the album showcases Bruce’s amazing songwriting talent with skillful analysis of human relationships, and also proves how a successful rock album can also discuss such complex issues of human lives. The album was made in the background of his personal conflict with his then recent wife-actress Julianne Phillips. Undoubtedly, they were separated after a year of the release of the album.

“Brilliant disguise” is one of the most successful single of the album “Tunnel of Love”. When one listens to “Brilliant disguise”, one can immediately make out the pain in his voice. The song depicted his trouble wrought marriage at that time. The complexities of human relationships had been so plainly and beautifully pointed out in the lyrics which probably no rock song had ever done so far. The song itself is an amazing poem which has the courage to divulge into such controversial topics of mistrust and conflict between partners.

The song opens up with a soft humming drum with haunting, easy acoustic guitar and soothing keyboards tune. With no electric guitar and heavy drumming, so typical of Bruce, the song just melts our hearts with its plain music and straight forwards lyrics. The lyrics go so smoothly with the song that you tend to ignore everything else but the pessimistic lyrics. Bruce’s vocal which is so intense, describes the pain which had been undergoing. The lyrics are so delicate as well as powerful in describing the misunderstandings between the supposed to be life partners. The more you listen to it, the more you understand how complicated is human inter-relationships, which perhaps has no known dimensions. The cautious words at the end perhaps describes the entire summary of the song – “God have mercy on the man, who doubts what he’s sure of”.

Although not a typical King of Rock’s prototype number, “Brilliant disguise” has been able to leave a mark in the history of rock as a rock number with deep introspective thoughts on interpersonal human relationships.

Happy listening!!



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