“She asked if I remembered the letters I wrote
When our love was young and we were bold.
She said last night she read those letters
And they made her feel a hundred years old.”
- Stolen Car, Tracks
Here at LegendsOfSpringsteen.com, we’ve made it known that we prefer the Tracks version of “Stolen Car” to the originally released version on The River. While it could be argued that the less rhythmic musical composition on The River more accurately reflects the hopelessness of the song, I feel that the lyrics come through more poignantly in Tracks. The more persistent music powers the lyrics forward and the alternate ending reinforces the pain of nostalgia illustrated in the lyrics above (which are found in both versions with a few minor differences). These lyrics capture the passing of time and the change in personality that can accompany it. While we often think of a memento as a source of cherishing the past, here it highlights the disconnect between the past and present. More painful than the acknowledgement that things aren’t as good as they used to be is the sense that it’s too late for them ever to be that good again.