We Take Care of Our Own
The single leaked to the Internet on January 18, 2012 one day prior to its official release for download. It was released the next day, on January 19. It made its live debut on February 12, 2012 at the Grammy Awards.
The song is an up-tempo piece that is based on newer bands Springsteen mentored such as Arcade Fire and The Gaslight Anthem.
The song features Springsteen championing liberal causes with lyrics such as these
- I've been stumblin' on good hearts turned to stone
- The road of good intentions has turned dry as a bone
- Where's the promise from sea to shining sea?
The song also references Hurricane Katrina:
- From the shotgun shack to the Super Dome
- There ain’t no help, the cavalry stayed at home
The song implies that Americans are less charitable than they really are.
The music video features Springsteen with working class people wondering what the future holds. The lyrics are prominently featured on the screen to avoid a similar misconstruation as the song "Born in the USA" (a Vietnam War protest song) where people missed the message of the song because of a catchy beat and chorus. Note the chorus that could be possibly taken as uplifting:
- Wherever this flag’s flown
- We take care of our own
The Obama Campaign added the song to the 2012 campaign song list, consistent with Springsteen's support and endorsement of Obama in 2008.