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October 25, 2020- by Steven E. Greer
Bruce Springsteen has a new album out called “Letter to You”. It’s very much like his last one, “Western Stars”. It’s barely rock ‘n’ roll and more like electric folk music ala Bob Dylan. The E Street band is part of the album, but they are not making melodies or hits. This album is of the same mindset as “The Ghost of Tom Joad” or “Nebraska”.
Ron Aniello is back as producer and saves the album, making it listenable. Some of the songs do have subtle melodies that will grow with you after multiple listens. This is not a terrible album.
Springsteen has always been a depressed guy taking antidepressants. He details it in his autobiography. He has also been very misguided and his politics, having become a huge Obama fan. So, the Trump era that is erasing his Obama era is taking its toll on Bruce’s mental health, I think. All of the songs are about impending death and seeing dead former bandmates as ghosts, etc. That’s what a depressed elderly person who has lost a spouse does.
I think that President Trump is going to literally kill Bruce Springsteen with MAGA poison. I hope not, but Bruce Springsteen seems to be in a bad mental state. “Letter to You” is a cry for help.
Update October 26, 2020- by Steven Greer
I was right. In my short review, above, I mentioned that it sounds a lot like Bob Dylan in some of the songs. Well, he made a companion movie that is on Apple TV. In it, he explains everything.
First of all, some of the songs are from 50 years ago before he was even in his current band. He was absolutely copying and ripping off Bob Dylan’s lyrical style back then. When he got his first album deal, Bob Dylan called Clive Davis, Bruce’s record label executive, and said “if he’s not careful, he’s going to run out of all of the words in the English language“. In other words, he was way over doing it.
His early writings were completely trying to copy Bob Dylan. Read the lyrics to Blinded by the Light, etc. The are mystical, nonsensical, and intentionally mirroring Dylan.
But that’s Bruce Springsteen’s style. He admits it. I saw him on Broadway. He totally admits that he’s a fraud. For example, he’s always writing about the workingman and so forth and yet he’s never had a real job in his life.
Having said that, I still respect most of his music because it is good. He has his own creativity. He’s not stealing musical style. He was just copying Bob Dylan when he got started because he thought that was the intellectual avant-garde thing to do. And it worked. That’s how he got his face on the cover of Time and Newsweek.
He’s good at spotting the demand of the times and changing to meet them. In 1985, he turned into a pop act like Michael Jackson and Madonna when he came out with Born in the USA. After that, he pandered to the left and won an Academy Award for his Streets of Philadelphia AIDS anthem. When folk music was becoming popular 10 years ago, he made a folk album, and so on.