A versatile man, Bruce Springsteen. He's written great big wide-screen soap operas, Everyman anthems for youth, scared and lonely vignettes from the dusty edges of the American Dream. Now he's growing up, feeling the invulnerability of youth give way to a crazed mirror of doubt as he struggles with the same feelings that he was so sure of just a few years earlier.
It starts so easily, as it always has done....."Fat man sitting on a little stool/Takes the money from my hand while his eyes take a walk all over you/Hands me the ticket, smiles and whispers "Good luck"/Well now cuddle up angel, cuddle up my little dove/And we'll ride down into this tunnel of love."
But it's not long before the cracks appear: "I can feel the soft silk of your blouse/And them soft thrills in our little fun house/Then the lights go out and it's just the three of us/You me and all that stuff we're so scared of." And anyone who's been there, who's taken the journey from laughter and simplicity to bewilderment and anxiety, knows just what he means. It takes some sort of genius to boil it all down to that feeling we all experience, lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, with our fears and lack of answers yawning wide before us: "There's a room of shadows that gets so dark brother/It's easy for two people to lose each other/In this tunnel of love."
And Bruce isn't above a little complaint either. "It ought to be easy, ought to be simple enough/Man meets woman and they fall in love/But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough/And you've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above/If you want to ride on down in through this tunnel of love." So true, so open, so raw. If loves starts out so well, so optimistic and confident, he seems to be asking, what happens to take us from there to here?