More Bruce vs. Billy Joel

Another thought: your describing BJ's "musical scheme" as "like a Gilbert and Sullivan song or something, not like any kind of call to arms" is totally apt ... and yet, have you listened to the sax break in "Thunder Road" recently? (It starts around 3:51.) With the drums pulled back it could have been written by Mike Post as the theme to a prime-time dramedy about a bunch of recent college grads trying to make it in the big city c. 1986.

(This is in no way a dis to Springsteen, Clemens, or whoever else is responsible for that lovely piece of music: Mike Post is a genius. Remember: "to achieve the unique sound of the NYPD Blue theme ... he used, among other effects, 1,000 Japanese men jumping up and down on a wooden floor, a cheese grater, and a subway horn. All these ideas are largely inspired by the program's script." A lesser composer might have used Caucasian men, or settled for nine-hundred-some, but the NYPD Blue mis-en-scene demands exactly the sound of 1,000 Japanese men jumping up and down.)