by Daniel O’Neill ’21 A&E Staff
Bruce Springsteen’s studio album, Letter to You, was released on Oct. 23. This marks the 20th studio album that he has released. The album also marks the 12th time that Bruce Springsteen has topped the charts in the United Kingdom, making him the first solo artist to have a chart-topper in every decade from the 1980s through the 2020s. Springsteen is notable for all-time great rock albums such as Born in the USA and Born to Run. By charting No. 1 in the UK, his most recent work has transformed him into an artist that can transcend and define multiple generations.
Springsteen reunited with his longtime band the E-Street Band to record the album. This is the first time they have recorded together since 2014 for High Hopes. Throughout his career, Springsteen honed his gritty rock persona with the E-Street Band. He returns to similar themes from his past albums in Letter to You, maintaining a nostalgic tone throughout this new album. Known for concerts that last much longer than his peers’, Springsteen attempted to capture the energy of his live performances in the album.
Sprinsteen offers thoughts on the political climate of the United States in Letter to You. On “Rainmaker,” Springsteen alludes to the self-interested, flag-waving rhetoric of President Donald Trump: “Slow moving wagon drawing through a dry town / Painted rainbow, crescent moon, and dark clouds / Brother patriot, come forth and lay it down / Your blood brother for king and crown / For your rainmaker.” Springsteen has been vocal in the past about his political opinions, and has been critical of President Trump. He has also been outspoken leading up to the current election.
Along with the recent major political events in the U.S., Springsteen was inspired by the passing of George Theiss, who co-wrote songs and performed with Springsteen in his early career. Listeners can hear this inspiration in songs such as “Ghosts,” which addresses past friends haunting him in the present.
The E-Street Band did not disappoint, with Steven Van Zandt backing up and complementing The Boss perfectly. He pearls, once again, the sound that he is known for, with tracks like the self-titled “Letter to You” and “Burnin’ Train” bringing the gritty, joyful chaos for which he is best known.
Since he has solidified himself as one of the greatest musical artists of all time, fans are left wondering what else Springsteen can do. Recently, he narrated a political ad for Democratic presidential candidate and now President-Elect Joe Biden. These diverse projects prove that Springsteen is an artist in more ways than one.
Bruce Springsteen’s latest work can be found on major streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, as well as on YouTube Music. The album is accompanied by a black-and-white film, which can be found on Apple TV+. The documentary follows Springsteen and the rest of the E-Street Band as they record Letter to You.