Some of the songs on Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars album took a little time to grow on me. But I liked “Tucson Train” immediately. It’s got a crisp, streamlined sound and a catchy melody, and is more straightforward, lyrically, than many of the album’s other songs. It’s also got a hopeful message about one of Springsteen’s favorite topics: second chances.
The narrator of the song was “down and out” in San Francisco (“tired of the pills and the rain,” he sings) but has gone off and created a better life for himself, working as a crane operator elsewhere. He is now eager to be reunited with the woman he left behind.
Their relationship had been in a rocky state (“seemed all of our love was in vain”). But all of that personal turmoil is over now.
“Hard work will clear your mind and body/The hard sun will burn out the pain,” he sings. He can’t wait to prove to his significant other that “a man can change,” and we see him, at the end of the song, waiting at the station for her, since she is “coming in, on the Tucson train.”
Background facts: Springsteen released “Tucson Train” on his 2019 album, Western Stars. It was also released as the album’s second single, two weeks before the album itself came out.
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.
We need your help!
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of $20, or any other amount, to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.