The shortest song on Bruce Springsteen’s Working on a Dream album, “Tomorrow Never Knows” shares a title — but nothing else — with The Beatles’ boldly psychedelic 1966 song. It’s a sweet, winsome folk-rock song with lyrics that are open to interpretation, but I like to think of it as kind of a marriage-proposal song. A guy’s saying something like, “We don’t know what the future holds — tomorrow never knows — but let’s get married anyway.”
“Where your sweet smile goes, tomorrow never knows” is the narrator’s way of saying, “I’ll follow you wherever fate leads.” He doesn’t want to wait any longer (“You and me we’ve been standing here, my dear/Waiting for that time to come”) even though they’re not starting their life together with a lot of money (“He who waits for the day’s riches will be lost”). Also, the line about carrying her on his back could be seen as a symbol of the sacrifice and support he’s willing to offer in marriage.
Musically, it doesn’t sound like anything else on the Working on a Dream album, though its message serves as a good complement to the album’s title track, on which Springsteen sings, “I’m working on a dream/Our love will make it real someday.”
Background facts: “Tomorrow Never Knows” is from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album. According to Brucebase, it has never been performed in concert.
On each of the 70 days leading up to Bruce Springsteen’s 70th birthday (on Sept. 23, 2019), NJArts.net will do a post on one of The Boss’ best songs of the last 30 years. We’re starting with No. 70 and working our way up. For more on the project, click here.
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