One of the most astounding things about art, and especially music, is the way a self-centered thought or experience contained in a medium can ignite a chain reaction of independent yet similar thought, ironically turning the originator’s selfishness into a wide-spread and no-longer singular experience. It is this ability to tap into a well of personal history that makes something like Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” a respected work, though it still gets dubbed a guilty pleasure more often than it deserves.
Seger said with “Night Moves” he was aiming to capture what it was like growing up in his “neck of the woods.” In doing so, he captured what it’s like to grow up in general, the urgency of youthful passion, being bold, reckless and impatient. Through touching on something so intensely personal, he touched on something universal: memorable firsts. First kisses, first loves, first… you know.
It’s nigh impossible to listen to Seger reminisce and not do the same — similar to how, in person, if someone brings up their first time, the desire to share the sordid details of one’s own sexual rites of passage circles around the room. Like a young Bob Seger, the song possesses a straightforward charm that almost masks its forceful brutishness. That same smirk-like smile pushing its way, almost unconsciously, to the face of the listener, unable to avoid the mental path it has set us all on.