Darkness - the album | Reviewer: firstname.lastname@example.org
I read an article on the Boss recently which described Bruce's first two albums about "being somewhere" and his next two about "going somewhere". "Jungleland" sets up Darkness on the Edge of Town beautifully, as it's the culmination of an album which begins with optimism but slowly darkens.
"Something in the Night"'s power comes from it being the song on Darkness which is dedicated to escaping the despair, and living with all that it has impressed upon yourself. And, while it has it's disheartening moments, certainly many of them, it hints at the hope. The hope that we're running back to the good and the promise that was characteristic of "Tenth Avenue" and "Night".
One line in all his songs | Reviewer: Keith
For me it's allways one line in a good Bruce song that lasts. In this case its " without another human being in sight". What I get from this is the listener is to decide if the long drive without seeing anybody is desired or despised. In this case I think the driver is happy there is not another human being in site. The lyric is sung slow and drawn so that's why I've loved this album since I first heard it 1981 (Bandwagon circa River then back catlouge)
a strong statement about feeling trapped | Reviewer: Lisa
J. Davis above - I don't know if you're aware of the dual history that seems to be at play in this song but the album this came from was one that was only released after more than two years of gut-wrenching legal fights with Bruce's old manager Mike Apell that was virtually a slave contract. During that time he was legally blocked from recording. Everyone expected an upbeat follow-up to Born to RUn and you can see the scraps of that record that might have been in the Tracks album.
Be that as it may, Darkness on the Edge of Town as an album contains an awful lot of interior lyrics about family conflict(with one's father) & a sense that no matter how good you are or how hard you try there are dark forces in the world waiting to cut you down for having the audacity to try and break free. There's fatalism in some songs, anger in others and yet, a thread of hope and defiance that runs through all the songs. That "Something In The Night" that keeps being referred to isn't a bad thing, it's freedom or if you will, self-actualization - individuality.
While the song suggests there will always be someone or something out there trying to take away the moments of solace you have in love or friendship, and that while the cost will be dear, nothing will stop the narrator from getting up out of that car wrecked in "one last fight" and walking even further down that road to chase the "something in the night". Given Springsteen's notably rocky relationship with his dad and then his epic struggle to free himself from Mike Appell and wrest control of his career and life away from people that didn't want him to have it, I think the song is NOT paranoid but simply accurate.
The grim determination he expresses in the song is the hard learned lesson that no matter how big you once were- on the cover of both TIME and Newsweek the same week - it can al;l fall away or be taken away by the meanness in the world. The only thing a guy (or gal) can do, is dust themselves off, stand up straight and remember what they were put on this earth to do. then, they simply must go and do it. That's what the song says to me.
Yes, I do believe there is a general sense of foreboding about the world and the direction it was headed in at the time with increased saber rattling between the USA and Russia, the Iran Hostage Crisis and the first Reagan term but that stuff shows up much more so on The RIver. DOTEOT is a more intimate record about surviving a struggle for his own voice and the right to record what he wanted. There's a lot in there for teens to relate to as well. All that looming parental anger and disapproval. AT a time when getting in the car and driving down back roads just to get the heck away from a troubled home life, Darkness spoke to that desperation to be free of old expectations and doing something for life just because your daddy done it that way (or your ma). Clearly, I feel strongly about the song because I was a teen when it came out living in an alcoholic household and doing whatever I could to escape - to drive my car past the county line without getting burned. The song gave me a defiant hope. Any of this working for ya?
last line | Reviewer: J. Davis
the last line is left out here. It is "Chasing something in the night."
One of Bruce's best, I think, and one of his darkest. Unlike a lot of his works from the 70s, this isn't really so much about a character or a plot or a location, it is about a feeling of impending dred and paranoia. Some of his best lyrics, I think.