Great imagery | Reviewer: Tom | 11/22/12
Musically, this song is lush and beautiful, with its hypnotic, rhythmic synthesizer. Lyrically, it is packed with powerful imagery (timberwolf in the pines, sound of the leaves, spooky old highway, wind in the grey fields, cold river bottom I felt rushing over me..).
This is great, great writing. Like several other compositions on "Tunnel of Love" and "Nebraska" that are rarely if ever played on the radio, this is one of Springsteen's best creations.
I think he's telling the story of a young person with the normal doubts, anxieties and insecurities of life, combined with the fragility and uncertainty of an important intimate relationship, and describing these emotions metaphorically as eerie and unpleasant experiences we can relate to.
The darkness of a cold, fall night where you're on a long drive and your mind is wandering with insecurities; the disillusionment of dreams that didn't come true... Conditions in your environment can definitely reinforce negative emotions, making them more painful and lingering. Perhaps that's what Bruce was getting at.
I never tire of hearing this song.