We live in a time and age where everything passes by in ridiculous speed and seem to fade away after mere seconds. Art, music, records are no exception to the rule; yet there are artists that still compel you to sit down, dedicate your time on them and focus on the long lost art of the vinyl/CD format like we used to do in the pre-internet era.
“Letter To You” is the 20th studio album by Springsteen and the first one since 2014’ “High Hopes”. Quite honestly, I don’t recall when it was the last time where Bruce talked in such a nostalgic, warm and personal manner on one of his records without many political connotations. Maybe we have to trace that down on “Tunnel of Love” of the distant 1987…I don’t know. The one thing that I know for sure is that The Boss opens up a little more on “Letter To You” thus offering a sensational record. The album kicks off with its sole acoustic moment, “One Minute You’re Here” which finds Springsteen taking a nostalgic look at his lost friend Clarence “Big Man” Clemons…at least, that’s how I perceived it. From this point onwards we are treated with only up-tempo cuts. As a matter of fact, Springsteen dusts off three songs from the early 70s which are for me personally the absolute highlights of the album. We are talking about “If I Was The Priest”, “Song For Orphans” (both of them could have easily fit on the debut album “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” (1973)) and the sensational “Janey Needs A Shooter” with brings out an aura of “Racing In The Street”.
From the rest of the bunch, surely “Ghosts” is a winner here with its nostalgic stamp all over the song as Bruce remembers his long-gone friends and the excellent “Last Man Standing” where Bruce pays tribute to his first band, The Castilles and especially his deceased friend/bandmate Jason Theiss who passed away in 2018 making Springsteen the…Last Man Standing! It would be a mishap if I didn’t point out “Rainmaker” which is really the exception to the rule as its political content brings back something of the title track of “Magic”.
There is no need for further analysis. “Letter To You” is the letter that Bruce sends out to Danny, to Clarence but also to all the living members of the E Street Band, to Patti, to himself…to you! This is by far the best album of 2020!
Highlight: The album was recorded in just 4 days!