The song is Bruce Springsteen’s I’m on Fire, the fourth single from the Born to Run album released in 1985. The song, very simply, is about a man with a desire for a woman. The video tells a slightly more intricate story, revealing that Bruce Springsteen is a working class mechanic. This video does not have a lot of material that would inspire controversy, but won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video.
Before the video starts we here a disembodied line of dialogue, “She’s coming again in this week. Again? Yeah, I think she likes the way he aligns the tires.” This is inferring that her visits are probably about more than her tire re-alignment, and that she is probably attracted to the mechanic. The mechanic is muscular and attractive in a rugged way but is clearly lower class. He is dirty, and working under the car. The shot looks down upon him to further accentuate the idea that his manual labor job makes him of a lower class.
This is the first we see of the woman. Her hand slowly strokes the fin of her thunderbird, showing that she is flirting with the idea of having an affair with the mechanic. The gold jewelry on her hand indicates her wealth, and her red fingernail polish indicate her sexuality and desire.
Here we see Bruce Springsteen, the mechanic, negotiating the work with the woman. Again, he is below her, signifying that in class, he is much beneath her. This is accentuated by the dialogue, as when he says he can take the car back to her (an opportunity to set up an affair?) she tells him that she lives in the Hollywood Hills, and that it would be too hard for him to find her. This assumes that the mechanic would not know the area. However, she dangles the keys in a tantalizing way, as if she is taunting him or trying to attract him.
This is the most signifying shot in the video. We see the rich, upper class hand, giving her keys to the mechanic. The position of her hand shows that she has the power in the situation. She holds the keys, his job, and her sexual availability in her hands.His palm is open as if he is begging. On top of this, his hand is impossibly dirty and brown to a point of looking unnatural. Her’s is clean and has a golden ring on it, showing her wealth.