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Springsteen's Letter To You thread (second try)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by FingerPickin'Triumph, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. FingerPickin'Triumph

    FingerPickin'Triumph Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Washington, D.C.
    With just over two weeks until release day.. can't we just try again. Yeah no politics. not sure what he dust up was all about that got Letter To You's first thread locked and closed.. but hey lets give this another try.

    Lots to be excited about - did you imagine an E Street record recorded live in the studio in just 4 days with minimal overdubs?

    Here are the two videos and a first person account of someone who watched the movie (set to be released on Apple +).. that gives a solid overview of the songs, sounds, etc.

    Letter to you video:

    Ghosts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo5QNcFioZ4

    Two takes on the film and song descriptions - both taken from a BTX thread

    10 of the 12 songs are performed in the doc. I’m currently rewatching it and will add more notes accordingly. edit:

    First things first, this is a BAND RECORD. No doubt about it. Even Bruce mentions at some point “what a group sound we got going on these songs.” Max’s drums BOOM like in no other E-Street album since BITUSA. This is also the most piano-driven record since probably THE RIVER. There is also a reason why Bruce chose IF I WAS A PRIEST and SONG FOR THE ORPHANS, this is an ingenious way for him to go back to his folk-rock roots and the Dylan comparisons that used to irk him in the early ’70s and pay tribute to those roots. These two songs are the most Dylan-esque he’s ever sounded on record.

    Of note: Janey Need a Shooter and Rainmaker are not featured at all.

    -It starts off with Bruce telling the band “Gentlemen get your notepads” as he shows the band LETTER TO YOU on acoustic guitar.
    Steve actually jokes around that the 5-day schedule for recording the album is basically playing by the Beatles rule of “recording one song every three hours.”

    -Uncle Frank, who was the first person to teach Bruce the guitar is there for all five days and he’s a rather quiet but amusing presence throughout.

    -There are shot glasses toasts after every recording session ends. There’s a particularly touching toast to Danny and Clarence on day four of the recording sessions.

    -Also, a great scene where the band members reminisce about Italian crowds and toast “to four nights at San Siro” when they take this new record on the road.

    - Nice little moment, Bruce to Roy “Roy, in the spirit of Danny Federici, play that glockenspiel”

    I’ll try to give a song-by-song assessment based on my notes:


    I would be shocked if this isn’t the third single released.
    This is all about Bruce being the last living member of the Castiles “I’m the last man standing now”
    Starts off with Nils feverishly strumming an acoustic guitar
    There’s a great Sax Solo and booming Max drumming
    A great riff which mixes Roy’s Piano with Steve’s 12 string guitar


    Beautiful piano intro and, really, this is a piano-driven song (one of many on this new album).
    Charlie’s organ work here is stunning
    One of those romantic rock ballads ala NONE BUT THE BRAVE.
    The sax solo is done in combination with Steve’s guitar ala Radio Nowhere Nils-Clarence. There’s also a sax outro.
    The best way to describe this song would be MELANCHOLIC rock. Very much a FULL BAND arrangement.
    Particular lyric: “The Bouncer shuts down the door, magic fills the floor, As Ben E. King’s voice fills the air, baby that’s the power of prayer”


    A major highlight of the album.
    Another piano-driven song. Piano Intro with lyrics is almost Jungleland-esque.
    Blatant Trump lyric: “The criminal clown has stolen the throne, he steals what he could never own”
    Patti adds background vocals to the chorus sung by Bruce “yeah it’s alright, yeah it’s alright, meet me darling come Saturday night”
    Lyric: “From the stadiums to the small-town bars, we’ll light up the house of 1000 guitars”
    The riff to this one is catchy.
    Ends with Bruce singing “a thousand guitars” six times


    FULL BAND and way better than the acoustic version. Guitar-driven.
    This is totally in the style of BOB DYLAN AND THE BAND’s late 60s sound
    Al Kooper-esque Organ and piano drive the song. Barroom piano playing.
    Harmonica solo
    An Awesome, Mike Bloomfield-esque outro guitar solo courtesy of Little Steven


    we all know the song, but what we additionally learn is how much Steve assisted Bruce and the band in molding the whole tune together. We see Steve arranging the verses and choruses as well as the musical cues. No surprise, this song sounds like it belong on Disc 2 of Tracks.


    Dylan-esque Harmonica intro and outro
    Again, MASSIVE Bob Dylan and the Band influence. Even Bruce’s singing is Dylan-esque.
    This sounds like it could have easily belonged on Blonde on Blonde
    FULL BAND and done in Pure folk-rock fashion
    Nils on slide guitar
    Of note; Bruce has to put on his reading glasses when singing this and Priest, no doubt due to the litany of words he has to read in the lyrics.


    Echo, slapback vocals, ala Roy Orbinson.
    Dreamy, surreal meditation on death.
    soft percussion, organ, and piano.
    the chorus goes: “one minute you’re here, next minute you’re gone”


    I cried during this one. Also, there’s a closeup of Landau closing his eyes, hearing the song for the first time and just bawling like a baby afterwards.
    “I’ll meet you in my dreams, for death is not the end, we’ll meet and live and laugh again”
    This is quite clearly a song about Danny, Clarence and Terry.
    Starts off slow but the whole band kicks in for some rock and roll
    “We’ll meet live and laugh again, I’ll see you by the river bed, for death is not the end, i’ll see you in my dreams”


    Candy’s Room-esque drumming. A driving beat.
    It also sounds like an above-average outtake from Tracks disc 4, even Bruce’s vocals sound like his ’90s stuff.
    Blazing guitar solo to the tempo of Max’s drums


    It all ends with the final shot and a toast at the end of the final day of recording.
    Bruce “We’re taking this thing until were all in the box”

    Bruce on electric guitar alone plays BABY I during the credits.

    And Take 2

    - the documentary is very much in the format of the western stars film, in that each song is introduced by some thoughts from Bruce underneath artistic shots of winter and old video/photos.

    - a funny observation I had is Bruce is only wearing glasses while performing the songs he wrote 50 years ago... cause of all the lyrics??

    - the footage makes it clear that patti and jake were not a part of most of the live sessions. They recorded later, though Jake appears to have been there for one day (and Bruce notes it’s his first time in studio with the band). Soozie makes an appearance during the band introductions but is otherwise absent from the movie (Soozie shot probably just b roll)

    - One Minute You’re Here feels like an outtake from another album. During this performance you only see a close up of Bruce (which to me suggests E Street didn’t record it last year), plus strings are in this one. This song feels like Devils and Dust Bruce.

    - Last Man Standing is one of my favorite new songs off the album. Bruce’s vocals on this one are really impressive, and by the way, there are really great vocals throughout the album.

    - I’ll See You in my Dreams is really special in the context of the doc. Speaking of that, Bruce opens up to the band a couple times in the doc which is really nice to see, and aligns nicely with the themes of the album. It’s very cathartic for fans like us.
    Grant, Paul R, Tim Wilson and 31 others like this.
  2. FingerPickin'Triumph

    FingerPickin'Triumph Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Washington, D.C.
    Here is the Letter to You movie trailer:
  3. Randy5554

    Randy5554 Forum Resident

    Birmingham, AL
    We’ll see how it actually goes, but I’m going to attempt to avoid spoiler discussion (like potentially this thread, ha!) and streaming any more songs until I have the vinyl and can listen to the full album. Fingers crossed. I always try the same thing on tours, and I make it until about the second or third show before I have to take a peek.
  4. JAuz

    JAuz Forum Resident

    "Ghosts". This is the full album track, as the first video released with the recording and vintage footage is an edited down version.

  5. FingerPickin'Triumph

    FingerPickin'Triumph Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Washington, D.C.
    @Randy5554 I hear you! During tours I really try and always have failed not to look at the setlists each night.. which sometimes have impacted how I have enjoyed Springsteen shows I have attended.... where I wait for certain spots in the setlist to see what variable or new song / premier we might get.. or at the very list knowing what is coming isn't necessarily the best way to watch/enjoy a concert!

    As far as more singles, etc.. I kinda think we aren't getting another song... but if we do I'm sure I'll listen because I wouldn't be able to ignore it. That said - I try to not listen more than a couple of times. I don't want to get sick of the songs.....
    Randy5554 likes this.
  6. Claudio Dirani

    Claudio Dirani Forum's hostage

    São Paulo, Brazil
  7. wdp33

    wdp33 Forum Resident

    9/10 review.

    “The trio of old songs - “Janey Needs A Shooter”, “If I Was The Priest” and “Song For Orphans” - take a different turn. All began life in the early ’70s as acoustic demos, in which form they circulated among collectors. A band version of “Orphans” appears on a Max’s Kansas City bootleg from 1973, and the song was revived on the solo Devils And Dust tour in 2005. “Priest” was recorded by The Hollies’ Allan Clarke for a solo album in 1974. Hearing the title of “Janey” inspired Warren Zevon to rework the song for himself (“Janey” became “Jeannie”), with Springsteen’s blessing.

    Here, far from disguising the origin of Springsteen’s principal inspiration at the time, they’re all recast as homages to the sound of Bob Dylan circa 1965. The triumphant wild-mercury swirl of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper is lovingly re-created, while the particular virtue of each song is brought to the fore - revealing the irresistible chorus of “Priest”, for instance - and the sexual violence of “Janey” is dialled down to suit today’s sensibility.

    Distributed among the new material, their deliriously wordy lyrics - of a kind he hasn’t written for decades - broaden the album’s focus without diluting its impact. Last of all comes the sturdy “I’ll See You In My Dreams”, with a second level of meaning that hints at a future after the world has returned to life, when we can meet once again to sing his songs back to him.”
  8. Dr. Zoom

    Dr. Zoom Forum Resident

    Monmouth County NJ
    Well, I sure love 1960s Bob Dylan and the Band.
    Then again, I’ve seen this kind of thing before.
    WOADs advanced hype compared it to Pet Sounds.
    We’ll see.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
    ExHead likes this.
  9. cdash99

    cdash99 Forum Resident

    The promotion machine is obviously unaffected by COVID. Rolling Stone, Uncut, AARP thus far.
  10. wdp33

    wdp33 Forum Resident

    Also from Uncut:

    “Working on the loose premise that Springsteen will cycle back to E Street every three or four years, band members keep themselves busy. Max Weinberg was one of the few who saw Springsteen at all in this period, spending summer 2018 at the Boss’s Stone Hill Studio in New Jersey adding drum parts to a “multitude” of Springsteen songs. “It wasn’t E Street stuff, so to my ears it was new,” he says of this tantalising trove of as-yet unreleased material. “I don’t know when it was recorded.” This could be another new album Springsteen has recently said he has ready to go - or it could be the proposed second volume of Tracks. It transpires that this is a familiar working practice for Springsteen. Lofgren sometimes visits New Jersey to record with Patti Scialfa and says that on occasions Springsteen might ask him to add a line to something he’s recorded, perhaps recently or maybe a decade or two before. “We did one that blew my mind, ‘The Wall’, about a musician who died in Vietnam, which ended up on High Hopes,” he says. “I don’t know what they are going to use until it comes out.”

    This is how E Street organist Charles Giordano - a relative newcomer, having joined the band in 2007 as cover for Danny Federici, who died the following year - found himself involved in the Western Stars album. The record came out in 2019, but songs had been written in 2012 and Giordano himself thinks he recorded overdubs before even the 2016 River tour. “That was a very different experience from Letter To You,” he says. “Some of the tracks on Western Stars were from a long time ago and I did my contributions over a period of several years. He keeps those projects boiling. He is very creative, very motivated and always working on something or other.”
  11. JJerm80

    JJerm80 Well-Known Member

  12. FingerPickin'Triumph

    FingerPickin'Triumph Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Washington, D.C.
    streetlegal and Rockford & Roll like this.
  13. FingerPickin'Triumph

    FingerPickin'Triumph Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Washington, D.C.
  14. musicaner

    musicaner Forum Resident

    if you like Bon Jovi then you will probably love it.
    jazzsurfer, rod and cwd like this.
  15. adm62

    adm62 Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    I think how it works these days is that if a magazine is given some sort of exclusive access and are able to make a decent feature from it then it is given that the album will get a good review. Doesn't mean that the rating is necessarily false, but we will see.
  16. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    The Southwest
    That is how the game seems to be played. But hyperbole like: "Instant classic," "One of the finest achievements of Springsteen's career," and "A masterful rock memoir" is over-the-top. It sets up the album for failure because Springsteen has indeed produced classics and masterful albums during the course of his career, and now this album will be scrutinized that much more by certain fans expecting the album to reach those lofty standards. And maybe it will reach that pinnacle, but if it doesn't, it will be another in a series of overrated contemporary era projects that were hyped by a fawning press.
  17. FingerPickin'Triumph

    FingerPickin'Triumph Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Washington, D.C.
    yeah.. I doubt in the build up to Darkness on the Edge of Town Bruce's PR machine and music press felt compelled to declare it an "instant classic" ..it just was.
    jazzsurfer, budwhite, RSteven and 2 others like this.
  18. maccawings

    maccawings Forum Resident

    Jersey Shore
    Getting ready for my first listen
  19. FingerPickin'Triumph

    FingerPickin'Triumph Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Washington, D.C.
    Same. but in true Dad Rock fashion will wait until I make the drive to pick up my kid from school to blast it from my car stereo.... and take the long cut.. we'll get there eventually.
  20. maccawings

    maccawings Forum Resident

    Jersey Shore
    nothing wrong with that
    FingerPickin'Triumph likes this.
  21. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    New Mexico USA
    I hope that cynical takes on promotion and press don't fill the negativity vacuum where dyspeptic political takes might otherwise be in this thread, and get in the way of giving this audacious new music a fair shot on its own,
  22. windfall

    windfall Senior Member

    Lots of complaints about over-hyping. Can anyone seriously imagine them publicising the album as "another s0-so album from an aging rocker"... "quite good but nowhere near as good as The River"? Get real, people.
    rod, TonyCzar, Bevok and 8 others like this.
  23. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident

    Isn't it just over one week?
  24. Exitmusic

    Exitmusic Forum Resident

    Leicester U.K
  25. Dr. Zoom

    Dr. Zoom Forum Resident

    Monmouth County NJ
    I’m looking forward to checking it out.
    But not as much as Borat 2.
    Glenn coates, TeddyB and Jimmy B. like this.

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