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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Nov 2nd, 2020

Bruce Springsteen: Letter to You

Bruce Springsteen
Letter to You
(Columbia)

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There’s nothing wrong with taking very little time to record an album when you can do it like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band have done it on their new album, Letter to You. Bruce’s first album in six years with the E Street Band (Max Weinberg, Garry Tallent, Stevie Van Zandt, Nils Lofgren, Roy Bittan, Springsteen’s wife, Patti Scialfa, and ancillary members Jake Clemons and Charlie Giordano) was recorded at his home studio in five days.

Across these dozen, “The Boss” laments about friends/fellow musicians who have died as much as he celebrates still being alive at 71. From slow, simple laments like the unfortunately flaccid opener, “One Minute You’re Here,” to big rockers like “Janey Needs A Shooter” (a song that sounds like old Bruce if there ever was one) to the story-like lyric of the anthemic (and who does anthems better than Bruce really?) “House Of A Thousand Guitars,” the listener gets a lot for the buck on Letter to You.

“If I Was the Priest” and “Song For Orphans” sees Bruce doing his best Dylan. There’s lots of harmonica spread throughout these (older songs actually as they are), and the wonderful Bittan truly showing through with his ivory tickling. Really, who plays piano better than Roy Bittan?

“I’ll See You In My Dreams” ends, a much better tribute to friends who’ve gone than the beginning tunes mining the same lyrical line. Springsteen tells us here, “Death is not the end.” Let’s just hope Letter to You is not the end of the albums he makes with the E Street Band.

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Bruce Springsteen: Letter to You