Bruce Springsteen – Letter to You
Bruce Springsteen has stated that he and the E Street Band recorded this entire album in only five days. It’s little surprise that the iconic rock stars have whipped up something special in such a short span of time, after having perfected their craft over several decades.
Whether it’s religion, mortality or simply the act of connection and restoration, the themes of the album sound much more profound from the sage perspective of The Boss. He has a unique quality of channeling the world’s anxieties through both an autobiographical and imagined lens. The musician offers listeners a cathartic outlet with Letter to You – a towering work by an artist who doesn’t know how to make anything less than noteworthy. It feels like a big, warm hug that audiences have sorely needed during this particular time.
It’s impossible to single out individual songs that stand out from the rest because the vision between Springsteen and his band is so cohesive. The group complement each other in endless ways and are particularly on form during Last Man Standing and Burnin’ Train, as they fill in the non-vocal passages with their signature, show-stopping instrumentation.
Some of the tracks have especially memorable lyrical sequences. One such number is the sombre opener One Minute You’re Here, in which the artist softly sings “I took all my fears and doubts / In my letter to you / All the hard things that I found out / In my letter to you”. These lines are a solid example of how he is able to channel global anxieties through an escapist medium. Another favourite is Ghosts, in which Springsteen speaks about a fellow musician whose presence can be felt everywhere despite having passed away. The most likely reference is George Theiss – a fellow Asbury Park singer-songwriter who contributed to Springsteen’s earliest music, and who passed away from cancer in 2018. Its effect is deeply poignant.
Letter to You notably features three recordings of compositions from the 1970s that didn’t see the light of day: Janey Needs a Shooter, If I Was the Priest and Song for Orphans. It’s a testament to the endurance and health of Springsteen and the E Street Band that they’ve completed these songs with unparalleled verve despite their increasing years. However, the real advantage of resurrecting these pieces is that they reflect the huge influence of Springsteen’s icon, Bob Dylan – an artist needed now more than ever when there just isn’t enough Dylan-esque storytelling in music.
Photo: Danny Clinch
Letter to You is released on 23rd October 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Bruce Springsteen’s website here.
Watch the video for Letter to You here: