Bob Seger's "Like A Rock" - The Most Unintentionally Pathetic Song of All Time?

Bob Seger - Like A Rock.JPG
Bob Seger: A Pathetic Bastard.
It's the fourth day of 2011, which means many of you are probably close to giving up your New Year's resolution.

Need a little inspiration? A few good reasons to buckle down, hit the gym, stick to your principles and/or work harder?

Give Bob Seger's "Like A Rock" a listen. Now, I know what you're thinking: "That corny-ass song from the Chevy commercials of yore? Is that really supposed to push my ass up the stair machine?"

But how closely have you actually listened to the song? Somehow -- I honestly have no idea -- the track ended up on my Shuffle over the weekend and I really listened to the lyrics for the first time. Turns out it's not the confident words of a some blue collar badass driving a truck with those scrotum-thingys hanging off the trailer hitch. Nope, it's actually sadly pathetic. The disillusioned wretch who wrote this song needs counseling and a personal trainer.

Seriously, listen past the first two verses and you half expect the song to end with the pop of a pistol and a silver bullet blam. It's no surprise that just after this song came out, Seger decided to cash-out with a quick pop hit written by someone else ("Shakedown" off the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack) and take four years off.
How have I -- and millions of men driving Chevy trucks -- been so wrong about this song? Well, if you listen to only the first verse or two you get the wrong idea.

Here's how it starts:

Stood there boldly
Sweatin' in the sun
Felt like a million
Felt like number one
The height of summer
I'd never felt that strong
Like a rock

I was eighteen
Didn't have a care
Working for peanuts
Not a dime to spare
But I was lean and
Solid everywhere
Like a rock

My hands were steady
My eyes were clear and bright
My walk had purpose
My steps were quick and light
And I held firmly
To what I felt was right
Like a rock

Seems mostly innocuous, right? A little over-the-top on the self-aggrandizing nostalgia tip, but nevertheless quintessentially Seger. Bob loves talking about what he looked like in tight jeans as a teenager (see: "Night Moves") so his long discussion of how attractive he perceived himself to be, and what good posture he had, seems only a little creepy and narcissistic.

Then things get a little darker.

And I stood arrow straight
Unencumbered by the weight
Of all these hustlers and their schemes
I stood proud, I stood tall
High above it all
I still believed in my dreams
What "hustlers" and "schemes" is a teenage boy in suburban Detroit really facing? That seems more like a contemporary concern reflected through a misplaced pining for youth. The line about still believing in his dreams is where the bottom starts to fall out. This man was a successful rock singer at his peak. Why so glum? You hate to tell the guy, but it's all downhill from there. This was inarguably Seger's last truly great song. The other singles from the Like A Rock album flopped and his next hit was, as mentioned, a soundtrack song written by someone else. After that, he didn't have another notable single -- unless you count 1991's low-charting and almost forgotten "The Real Love" -- until his appearance on 3 Doors Down's "Landing in London" nearly 20 years later.

That postscript makes the end of the song -- the verse that reveals the real story, a broken middle-aged man sitting in front of a fireplace thinking about how he got so far off track -- all the sadder.

Twenty years now
Where'd they go?
Twenty years
I don't know
Sit and I wonder sometimes
Where they've gone

And sometimes late at night
When I'm bathed in the firelight
The moon comes callin' a ghostly white
And I recall
I Recall

Like a rock. standin' arrow straight
Like a rock, chargin' from the gate
Like a rock, carryin' the weight
Like a rock

Anyway, the point is this: Stick to your New Year's reolutions.

If not, you'll end up like Bob Seger in "Like A Rock," a horrble, horrible fate, indeed.




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35 comments
Sister.ofJim
Sister.ofJim

Sadly the writer of this opinion is not the reflective sort and can't just embrace the words without attaching them to Seger. Good art is able to speak to many people. Like a Rock was recently played as a backdrop for a photo montage at the funeral of a mid aged man who died suddenly. It was beautiful. So, this is my opinion. Peace....

JohnGilday
JohnGilday

How elfin sad this schlub of a writer is....In 20 years people will be still praising many of Seger's compositions and I'll bet this writer will be repeating "Hello and welcome to WalMart..."

JohnGilday
JohnGilday

How effin sad this schlub of a writer is....In 20 years people will be still praising many of Seger's compositions and I'll bet this writer will be repeating "Hello and welcome to WalMart..."

JohnGilday
JohnGilday

How elfin sad this schlub of a writer is....

In 20 years people will be still praising many of Seger's compositions and I'll bet this writer will be repeating "Hello and welcome to WalMart..."

JohnGilday
JohnGilday

How elfin sad this schlub of a writer is....In 20 years people will be still praising many of Seger's compositions and I'll bet this writer will be repeating "Hello and welcome to WalMart..."

JohnGilday
JohnGilday

How elfin sad this schlub of a writer is....In 20 years people will be still praising many of Seger's compositions and I'll bet this writer will be repeating "Hello and welcome to WalMart..."

Zaidstone
Zaidstone

The Seger Fans Butthurt is STRONG here.

Seabound
Seabound

What an absolutely uninformed article. Have they fired you yet?

Montanagirl
Montanagirl

What a sad life YOU live....or have not lived....

Mrtatterscratch
Mrtatterscratch

Yeah, what a pathetic loser. Too bad he won't be remembered decades later like your immortally insightful articles. What's your name again? All I can remember is your middle name - Jealousy.

Katdegama1
Katdegama1

Well, that's a little bitchy. If I were a gambling person I would bet you drive a BMW.  There's nothing wrong in writing from different chapters of life or from imagined other lives.

Adrianne
Adrianne

Oh my gosh do I love that song! I really, really, really love that song!!

Cabincrazyone
Cabincrazyone

Is that what you get out of the lyrics? Why does "the middle aged man" have to be " broken"? Can't he be reminiscing memories and lamenting the passage of time in the sweet and sad mixture that we've all felt so often?Where does "he got so far off track" come from? I don't hear that at all. He simply doesn't stand as straight, or charge the gate as fast, or carry as much weight as he could when he was young. And your last comment "a horrible, horrible fate indeed" makes no sense at all.

Devin Brew
Devin Brew

Dude I should tell Seger's son what you fucking said. I have him as a friend on Facebook and I'm sure Bob himself would love to read this. I hope you rot in hell you troll.

Snyderwest
Snyderwest

Oh --- and what's YOUR name, BTW? Martin Cizmar? Geez, never heard of YOU before.... may I ask : What of any value have YOU written before except this piece o' crap above I've just read through???!!! Obviously, you have NO idea whatsoever!pProbably have to churn out some article about something to keep your job....

Janetreed2474
Janetreed2474

You obviously know nothing about seger or his fan base. U r a total brainless jerk. Seger is rockin with kid rock in the D as I type this. He is amazing.

Linda
Linda

Wow some people really need to get a life, that song in itself sold more Chevy trucks throughout the years (and there were many), I have yet to see any "songwrter,musician,legend, icon of the century come close to what Bob Seger did for Chevy. You must be a moron because a Chevrolet executive is the one who approached Bob to use his song.If you do not comprehend the lyrics maybe you should go back to school. That was such a disgusting comment to make to a man who has contrubuted so much to the music industry and his homestate of Micigan as well. Sorry buddy but I do think you can do that so keep your comments about Seger to yourself, obviously you are clearly not up to date on the history of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. They are still "selling out: concert venues, where newcomers have to actually canceo tours due to poor ticket sales. Do your homework or stay off this page, you are a total idiot.

Janetreed2474
Janetreed2474

You are a complete MORON!!! Seger Rocks!!!!!!! Kiss MY A**!

ruserious
ruserious

What "hustlers" and "schemes" is a teenage boy in suburban Detroit really facing?

Teenage? Do the math Marty, What a poorly researched and wriiten blog.

WOLD by Harry Chapin,about a dj who is regretting his early choices in life....I guess you have a problem with that too.....

Drack
Drack

Hit singles don't make a great songwriter.What a shallow statement to make.

Crims
Crims

Just as every great songwriter or rock and roll band great spits out a few tunes that weren't as great as the others, so do the music critics across the world. It's ok. We're all human here.

Just because a songwriter says "I was" or references himself in the first person doesn't necessarily mean that it's about him. No where in this song or lyrics does Bob Seger come out and say "Hey, Martin Cizmar, I'm writing this about me". Maybe it was for a friend who was going through some tough times. Maybe it was for his dog. Could have been for your great grand-daddy for all you know.

Perhaps you interviewed Seger and forgot to tell us? What ever happened to journalistic integrity? Is the New Times owned by Murdoch now too, or is Fox just managing it?

I'll refrain from explaining all the other great things about Bob Seger that you failed to give the guy any credit for, and assume that if you didn't think this song was that great, that it's for the same reason that no one else thinks ripping on Bob Seger is that great either.

If you need to rip on someone, please, attend to the Far East Movement (FM), for "Like a G6", because that really has some lyrical validity to it. Hang on, I have to go slizzard, like a blizzard, like a G6, in my 808, poppin' bottles. Lame.

steve
steve

Everybody gets old- including you -thats what the song is about.Are you trying to say that when you get old your pathetic ? What does new year's resolutions have to do with this song? When you get up there in age you can remember how fast and young you once were. I don't care how many sit ups or treadmill you can do now you'll never be 18 again.Reminiscence. A classic song!

Charles Ward
Charles Ward

Look, Seger was really talented. Go find his early stuff and give it a listen. Maybe start with his LP "Mongrel," or his big hit singles "2+2" and "Heavy Music." Consider how young he was at the time and how much drivel was on the airwaves at the time.

Then he (as most) sold out. Got tired of not having that spare dime. So even though his later stuff didn't measure up to his earlier stuff, it made money for him. More power to him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Drack
Drack

I raise my whiskey glass and give you a toast!

Linda
Linda

You got that right. total moron

Crims
Crims

On that note - I searched all over the web to figure out what was to feel like a G6. The only thing I could come up with was the Pontiac G6. Pontiac. Detroit. Coincidence? I think Seger planted this one.

Uknowit
Uknowit

spot on man, I suppose the "ctritic" would have a problem wiith any song that reflects back on a life lived.

Unkowit
Unkowit

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Maybe because Bob Seger was the Garth Brooks of my tween and teen years, his music will always be such a part of who I am. But when you do what I do for a living, you spend so much time listening to new music that there's hardly time for taking meandering walks down memory lane. But at a friends' party over the summer, we all discovered we had a Seger passion in common. A passion so strong and an audio memory so vivid that we were able cite quotes off Seger's 1976 Live Bullet double album verbatim. Like when he's mid-"Nutbush City Limits" and he says, "As I told everybody last night, I was reading in Rolling Stone where they said that Detroit audiences are the greatest rock and roll audiences in the world. I thought to myself, 'Shit. I've known that for 10 years.'" Or when Seger sings "Turn the Page," about being on the road and moaning, "Here I go, playing the star again" and "You feel the eyes upon you as you're shaking off the cold," you would swear it could be a Jamey Johnson song on country radio right now. I guess that's why rediscovering Seger's rock music feels like a memorable country-music moment to me. Because the songs of Seger's that left such indelible imprints on my brain, like "Night Moves," "Still the Same," "Against the Wind," "You'll Accomp'ny Me" and "Turn the Page," have the elements of some of the best country music. For that matter, when Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton released a duet of Seger's "We've Got Tonight" in the early '80s, it reached No. 1 on Billboard's country chart. Self-penned lyrics about the heartland, women, strong work ethics and life on the road. A gravely voice full of soul. And a fan base that never forgets.

Linda
Linda

This dude is a total uneducated moron and does not belong review and musician in the world.It does not even understand what the song means and did for Detroit, Chevy and alll the employees at Cheve. That really pisses me off. I totally agree with you.

Linda
Linda

You are also a moron. So go back to your Justin Beiber page.

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