Being raised on classic rock, some of my earliest memories surrounded the discography of Bruce Springsteen.
From listening to the E Street Radio on SiriusXM every morning with my dad to singing along to “Thunder Road” with my family at the Hersheypark Stadium on a rainy evening in 2014, Springsteen’s music is a prominent part of my life, giving me high expectations for his Oct. 23 release, Letter to You.
A rock and roll legend with a breakthrough in the 1970s, Bruce Springsteen has captured the hearts of audiences through the decades and is known for his electrifying sound and his immense talent as a lyricist.
Letter to You, his 20th studio album, gently touches upon the theme of aging and serves as a dedication to his fans, past band members and his craft as an artist.
Prior to the album’s release, Springsteen released two singles in September, “Letter to You”and “Ghosts.”
In an Apple Original Films documentary celebrating the release of the album, Springsteen explains that “‘Ghosts’ is about the beauty and joy of being in a band, and the pain of losing one another to illness and time.”
This is evident through the touching lyrics but also in the music video where late band members Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons are featured in cameos. Both Federici and Clemons majorly shaped the history of the E Street Band, and Springsteen’s new song celebrates their lives and influence as musicians.
“Letter to You,” the album’s title song, serves as a dedication to Springsteen’s fans and his loved ones.
The lyrics, “Things I found out through hard times and good / I wrote ’em all out in ink and blood / Dug deep in my soul and signed my name true / And sent it in my letter to you” are deeply poetic and illustrate Springsteen’s earnest and authentic abilities as a songwriter, which remains prevalent through the rest of the album.
Two elements that make this album a special release is its timing, and the fact that it is recorded live.
“It’s the only album where it’s the entire band playing at one time, with all the vocals and everything completely live … It’s about being in a rock band, over the course of time. And it’s also a direct conversation between me and my fans, at a level that I think they’ve come to expect over the years,” Springsteen said.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Springsteen talks about how this album was supposed to catapult a 2021 tour, but because of the Coronavirus pandemic, a tour will have to wait.
“My antenna tells me, at best, 2022. And I would consider the concert industry lucky if it happens then.… I’m going to consider myself lucky if I lose just a year of touring life. Once you hit 70, there’s a finite amount of tours and a finite amount of years that you have,” Springsteen said.
For Springsteen, music and performing is a “fundamental life force.”
While the Coronavirus has put a lot on hold, Springsteen’s new masterpiece assures his fans that true rock and roll will never die.