"And in the quick of the night they reach for their moment, and try to make an honest stand. But they wind up wounded, not even dead. Tonight in Jungleland"- "Jungleland", Born To Run
"Jungleland" is different from every other song on Born To Run. Not just because of its length, or Clarence's amazing solo, but because of the way it ends. Born To Run tells the story of rebellion, youth energy, and above all else freedom. From the invitation to come along for the ride in "Thunder Road," the realization of freedom in the titular song, and then finally the struggle to keep that freedom and spirit in "Jungleland." It's a story of being on our own. Being away from your parents, school, and work and instead embracing friendship, love, and life. It's the war we face between doing what want and doing what we have to.
And of course, youthful energy triumphs, right? Nope, they lost the battle. But hey at least they gave it their all, and will be immortalized for dying in glorious battle, right? Wrong again. "They wound up wounded, not even dead." And that's what makes this song different from the rest of the album. In the end, they lost. And had to face their defeat, as opposed to if they had died in battle.
Listen to the whole album. Every other song is about experiencing what we want and it contradicting our obligations of what we have to do. But in the end, the free spirit and desire triumph. Except in "Jungleland."
Bruce would go on to later explore this theme of Freedom vs Responsibility much more in his next album, the incredible, Darkness On The Edge Of Town. I think it's very fitting that "Jungleland" ends Born to Run and sets the tone for Darkness.