In a recent episode of The Moment with Brian Koppelman, a listener writes in to ask, “At the end of “Thunder Road,” does Mary get in the car?”
I love Brian’s answer:
The promise that the character’s making is that there’s salvation in the road, there’s salvation in the American Dream of getting in your car and driving like nothing else matters, and falling in love, and the roar of the engine and the stereo and the connection between two people…I have no idea if she gets in the car, but what I think I know is, if she does get in the car, at some point she gets out of the car, despite the best hopes of the song’s narrator.
I love thinking about these kinds of things (the road, the promise of the American Dream, romance and music and growing up), but I enjoyed Brian’s follow-up to the question even more, as he reflects on realizing something about one of his favorite songs:
I have not articulated that really, for myself before, but I love thinking about that kind of thing…Don’t you love that feeling when you suddenly…come to some sort of an opinion about a piece of art you’ve had in your life? You’ve never had the thought before and suddenly you’re like, “Oh, I understand it!”
Yes, Brian, I do.