Letter To You (2020)

1. One Minute You're Here 2. Letter to You 3. Burnin' Train 4. Janey Needs a Shooter 5. Last Man Standing 6. The Power of Prayer 7. House of a Thousand Guitars 8. Rainmaker 9. If I was the Priest 10.Ghosts 11.Song for Orphans 12.I'll See You in My Dreams


It's always the most exciting for a Springsteen fan to hear that his upcoming new release will be with the legendary E Street Band. In the 2020s, however, one must remember the limitations of said musicians who are now eligible for social security. We shouldn't expect another Born To Run - neither in energy, nor even in quality for that matter. Once one takes their expectations down a notch or so from such an insurmountable plateau, one finds that the music on this record is quite good, and it shouldn't surprise anyone that the entire thing was recorded in a manner of weeks.

Is the album flawless? Well, no. More on that later. It does seem as if some minor changes could have made this thing another classic to add to his already full collection of accolades. Instead, we must reserve judgement and call this thing "very good indeed". There are a few different styles scattered about, and there are times when it does sound as if The Boss is cleaning out his closet. Unlike the mediocre High Hopes, however, (the last time one had the same thoughts) the songs here are mostly first rate. There are a couple of songs that sound a bit like the classic E Street Band with a tad more Bob Dylan influence thrown into the mix. Being a big fan of Dylan myself, it shouldn't surprise me that my favorite tracks here are If I Was The Priest and Song for Orphans that sound like Dylan could have easily written and recorded himself. Although not as heavily influenced by Dylan, the track Janey Needs a Shooter has the classic vibe that sounds like it could have been an outtake from Bruce's glorious seventies period. However, one issue with this particular song, is that it runs simply too long. It clocks in at almost seven minutes, and unlike a great lengthy track like Frankie from Tracks, this song doesn't warrant such a length, and it should have been shaved by about 3 minutes.

This leads me to a couple of other gripes. Gripes, mind you, that sound as though they could have easily been overcome with a bit of TLC. Two songs on this record (ironically featured back-to-back), Last Man Standing and The Power of Prayer are basically the same song. The verses on these two songs are identical, note for note. Sure the overall structure of the tunes are different, but having these two songs sounding so identical causes me to scratch my head. It's a shame because, had these two songs been merged into only one, I think I could have enjoyed the listening experience better. The only dog on the album (for me anyway) is House of a Thousand Guitars. The reason I hate this song so much is that the entire song is literally the same two verses, note for note, repeated throughout the entire song. Its about as annoying as when the needle gets stuck on vinyl. Sure, the lyrics are different, but that doesn't really help. For whatever reason, Bruce stated that it's one of his favorite songs on the album. Sorry Bruce, but I think it stinks. Again, had he not written the song in such a repetitive way, it may have turned out much better for my tastes.

Back to highlights: There are times when Bruce doesn't really sound like his old self, yet the tracks themselves are stellar. Burnin' Train and Ghosts are both incredible rockers that sound somewhat fresh in terms of ground that Bruce and the boys have yet to tread. The album also opens and closes with a couple of sweet retrospective tunes, that could have easily fit on the 2019 masterpiece Western Stars.

Overall, this package is very nicely done, and like the vast majority of Springsteens catalog, the album manages to have far more positives than negatives and will defintely warrant repeated playings from even the most grouchy diehard.

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