Jungleland
Bruce Springsteen Lyrics


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The Rangers had a homecoming
In Harlem late last night
And the Magic Rat drove his sleek machine
Over the Jersey state line
Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge
Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain
The Rat pulls into town, rolls up his pants
Together they take a stab at romance
And disappear down Flamingo Lane

Well, the Maximum Lawmen run down Flamingo
Chasing the Rat and the barefoot girl
And the kids 'round there live just like shadows
Always quiet, holding hands
From the churches to the jails
Tonight all is silence in the world
As we take our stand
Down in Jungleland

The midnight gang's assembled
And picked a rendezvous for the night
They'll meet 'neath that giant Exxon sign
That brings this fair city light
Man, there's an opera out on the Turnpike
There's a ballet being fought out in the alley
Until the local cops, Cherry-Tops, rips this holy night
The street's alive as secret debts are paid
Contacts made, they flash unseen
Kids flash guitars just like switchblades
Hustling for the record machine
The hungry and the hunted
Explode into rock 'n' roll bands
That face off against each other out in the street
Down in Jungleland

In the parking lot the visionaries dress in the latest rage
Inside the backstreet girls are dancing
To the records that the DJ plays
Lonely-hearted lovers struggle in dark corners
Desperate as the night moves on
Just one look and a whisper, and they're gone

Beneath the city, two hearts beat
Soul engines running through a night so tender
In a bedroom locked in whispers
Of soft refusal and then surrender
In the tunnels uptown, the Rat's own dream guns him down
As shots echo down them hallways in the night
No one watches when the ambulance pulls away
Or as the girl shuts out the bedroom light

Outside the street's on fire in a real death waltz
Between what's flesh and what's fantasy
And the poets down here don't write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be
And in the quick of a knife, they reach for their moment
And try to make an honest stand




But they wind up wounded, not even dead
Tonight in Jungleland

Overall Meaning

"Jungleland" by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band is a story of losing innocence, truth, and hope, all in the darkness of the urban jungle. The beginning of the song sees the Magic Rat driving his car into town, taking a stab at love with a barefoot girl in Harlem. However, the Maximum Lawmen chase them down Flamingo Lane, where kids live like shadows, and there's quietness in the air. The song turns murky, dark, and surreal as the couples and dancers gather in the parking lot beneath the giant Exxon sign, dancing to the DJ's rock music.


As the night progresses, the visionaries get dressed in the latest rage while lovers struggle in dark corners, fighting against loneliness. Springsteen sings of the burning street in a real death waltz, where the fire consumes everything, including truth and fantasy. In the end, "Jungleland" leaves us with a somber and wounded mood, where poets merely watch the spectacle, and love can't escape the night.


Line by Line Meaning

The Rangers had a homecoming
The Rangers arrived at Harlem last night.


In Harlem late last night
The scene is set in Harlem at night time.


And the Magic Rat drove his sleek machine
The Magic Rat drove his stylish car.


Over the Jersey state line
Crossing the state line from New York to New Jersey.


Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge
A girl sitting on a car hood with no shoes on.


Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain
She is drinking warm beer while it's softly raining.


The Rat pulls into town, rolls up his pants
The Rat arrived and rolled up his pants.


Together they take a stab at romance
The two of them try to have a romantic relationship together.


And disappear down Flamingo Lane
The two disappear down Flamingo Lane together.


Well, the Maximum Lawmen run down Flamingo
The police officers chase after the Rat and the girl down Flamingo Lane.


Chasing the Rat and the barefoot girl
The police are chasing the Rat and the girl who have fled.


And the kids 'round there live just like shadows
The residents around there are like ghosts, living quietly in the background.


Always quiet, holding hands
The kids are always holding hands and remaining quiet.


From the churches to the jails
Everyone, including people in church or in jail, are staying silent.


Tonight all is silence in the world
The night is quiet with no noise heard around the world.


As we take our stand
The singer and his band take a stance or position here.


Down in Jungleland
The scene is in the location known as Jungleland.


The midnight gang's assembled
The gang gathers in the middle of the night.


And picked a rendezvous for the night
They chose a meeting place for the night.


They'll meet 'neath that giant Exxon sign
The meeting place is located beneath a giant Exxon sign.


That brings this fair city light
The sign is lighting up the city.


Man, there's an opera out on the Turnpike
There's a chaotic and dramatic event happening out on the Turnpike.


There's a ballet being fought out in the alley
There's a fight happening outside in the alley.


Until the local cops, Cherry-Tops, rips this holy night
Until the local police arrive and ruin the peaceful night.


The street's alive as secret debts are paid
The street is busy as people are settling their debts in secret.


Contacts made, they flash unseen
People make contacts or connections with others and then quickly disappear.


Kids flash guitars just like switchblades
The young people show off their guitars as if they were dangerous knives.


Hustling for the record machine
The young musicians work hard to make it in the music industry.


The hungry and the hunted
Those who are desperate and struggling.


Explode into rock 'n' roll bands
These desperate people form rock bands to chase their dreams.


That face off against each other out in the street
These bands compete against each other in street battles.


In the parking lot the visionaries dress in the latest rage
In the parking lot, people who think differently from everyone else dress in the latest fashion.


Inside the backstreet girls are dancing
Girls in the backstreets are dancing to music inside.


To the records that the DJ plays
They're dancing to the DJ's music playlist.


Lonely-hearted lovers struggle in dark corners
People who are alone or heartbroken are struggling in dark corners.


Desperate as the night moves on
They become more desperate as the night goes on.


Just one look and a whisper, and they're gone
A single look and a secret message and these people disappear.


Beneath the city, two hearts beat
Underneath the city, two people are in love.


Soul engines running through a night so tender
They are deeply in love, and their passion for each other is powerful.


In a bedroom locked in whispers
They are whispering to each other while locked in a bedroom.


Of soft refusal and then surrender
At first they say no, but they eventually give in to temptation.


In the tunnels uptown, the Rat's own dream guns him down
The Rat's own dream kills him in the uptown tunnels with a gun.


As shots echo down them hallways in the night
The sound of gunshots are heard in the hallways at night.


No one watches when the ambulance pulls away
Nobody is watching when the ambulance leaves with the Rat's body.


Or as the girl shuts out the bedroom light
The girl turns off the light in the bedroom.


Outside the street's on fire in a real death waltz
The street is chaotic and dangerous like a deadly dance.


Between what's flesh and what's fantasy
It's hard to differentiate between what is real and what is not.


And the poets down here don't write nothing at all
The poets are silent and not writing anything down.


They just stand back and let it all be
The poets are observing and letting events unfold.


And in the quick of a knife, they reach for their moment
When they spot an opportunity, they act quickly to seize it.


And try to make an honest stand
They try to take a principled stand and do the right thing.


But they wind up wounded, not even dead
Unfortunately, they get hurt but not fatally.


Tonight in Jungleland
This all takes place in Jungleland at night.




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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