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Bruce Springsteen – New York City Serenade Lyrics 5 years ago
@[stormville:4796] - good point, I hadn't considered the composition. It even has a part where it really speeds up ("She won't take that train...") and then slows down again. My understanding is that when somebody takes opiates like heroin they get "rushes" like that. The end is kind of a rush also, where it starts very dreamy and builds to a climax, then tails off again ("He's singin'...").

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Bruce Springsteen – New York City Serenade Lyrics 6 years ago
Love this song - maybe my favorite of all his songs.
But I think it's about a love affair with heroin that comes between the protagonist and a girlfriend.

"Junk man" is the singer, and "junk" is common slang for heroin. And the "fish lady" (girlfriend) won't take/hook up to the train (drugs) because
"She's afraid them tracks are gonna slow her down
And when she turns this boy'll be gone".

Tracks are what you get on your arm when you shoot heroin, and she doesn't want them in her life. And "this boy'll be gone" because he'll be lost in a drug haze (or possibly dead). The "Seranade" is getting high. The "jazz man" is another reference to the dealer. Notice:

"Hey vibes man, hey jazz man, play me your serenade
Any deeper blue and you're playin' in your grave".

He means his high (seranade) is as deep as it can get without overdose/death.

So "sometimes you just have to walk on" means the "fish lady" who won't shoot up has to leave the "junk man", at least for the moment, and he's too "gone"/high to notice.

So this is a very different perspective to Jungleland. It's the perspective of a junky who longs for the embrace of heroin, rather than an outside perspective of its evils.

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