Bruce Springsteen and his sound have both aged well. In releasing less music than his contemporaries, he’s had the ability to place his best foot forward on the small amount of music he releases. On his new album Letter To You, Springsteen touches on the past while delivering an album full of hope and upbeat moods in a time where darkness surrounds us all.
The heartfelt notes of the starting track “One Minute You’re Here” resonate as a call to whoever is listening. Without the full band sound in tow, the song marks what Springsteen has spent a solo career doing. However the full band is more resonate on the title track “Letter To You.” That big E Street Band sound fills your speakers and delivers their harmonic tones throughout. Noting early in that this album will sound best live, it’s sad that there’s no touring around it yet. Springsteen’s vocals open the song up and you can hear how the song works live without seeing it. The first of three songs on the album written before Springsteen was signed to a label, “Janey Needs A Shooter” has that classic Springsteen sound. The guitars could melt butter, his vocals contain the anguish of a man who’s songs have been used without permission and the mix of the organ and the drums offers a sound we’ve been missing as of late.
But the album moves between big band tones to intimate songs with ease. “Last Man Standing” feels organic while “The Power Of Prayer” takes the piano to new spaces and offers a track you could cry to. The lyrics here are against the full sound of the band, yet the track has an intimacy that feels like Bruce is the only one there. “If I Was The Priest” also delivers that intimacy while showing off more of that early sound The Boss gave on his debut album. It all works and it works well. If some of the songs come from the songbook, then keep them coming. Throughout the album Springsteen sounds refreshed and ready to deliver the goods from start to finish. And while “Ghosts” offers that giant guitar sound that fills arenas, the favorite here comes on “Song For Orphans.” The interlude of pedal steel with the organ, the sing song meets twang approach and the open heart sound is hard to beat. Springsteen’s vocals have that classic rasp, the words aren’t of the throw away variety and the song takes you away to a time you remember yet never forget.
Letter To You is ready to purchase in various formats from Columbia Records. It can also be bought in all digital music stores or streamed on all services.
Image Credits: Photo by Danny Clinch.