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NEW SINGLE: Letter To You


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There’s nothing quite like hearing new Bruce for the first time. No other artist will ever make me feel this way. Don’t ever stop Bruce. Music needs you. 

Bruce's recording and songwriting career has basically been his own life story. His songs and albums through the years have reflected the part of his life he was in both at that time and occasionally

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Just my opinion but I really think his standards have dropped over the last decade or so. There's no way a younger Bruce releases bang average pop rockers like this. I mean it's ok but this wouldn't get near a release in the 70s or 80s. 

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1 hour ago, Appleorchard253 said:

I’ll also note the term “crowd,” which is a strange term to describe trees. I’d expect him to say “canopy” or forest or, if he were feeling really pretentious, a bluff or a copse. Bruce thinks in terms of the “crowd” though, and the trees become an audience for him to bear witness to the experience of writing the letter. The song then becomes a kind of performance itself. Bruce performs the act of writing for a crowd of trees, and what he’s writing are his songs, which he performs for us. And this song brings the two together: the writing of the letter will be itself a performance when, God willing, we get to see him perform this live on tour.

"When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils"

Been done before :D

 

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I just think I like it, at first listen it convinces me. 40 years have passed since I bought "The river" I have aged and he too, I no longer run at night in the car, my children are leaving the house (3 me too) I age with my body complaining, but the head is happy with what I have done so far. I'll be a grandfather next step. Bruce continues to sing what he lives and likes, if that's okay, if not we buy other people's records we don't have to spend money on an old rocker. I buy the record.

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18 minutes ago, borntorunsean said:

Just my opinion but I really think his standards have dropped over the last decade or so. There's no way a younger Bruce releases bang average pop rockers like this. I mean it's ok but this wouldn't get near a release in the 70s or 80s. 

I’m not exactly sure what a bang average rocker is (I’m assuming it’s an average rock song?) but I think the River has several of them.

On a different note, the beginning drum has been annoying me because I couldn’t think of what it was reminding me of. Finally hit me this morning that it is Leap of Faith.

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3 minutes ago, Jertucky said:

I’m not exactly sure what a bang average rocker is (I’m assuming it’s an average rock song?) but I think the River has several of them.

On a different note, the beginning drum has been annoying me because I couldn’t think of what it was reminding me of. Finally hit me this morning that it is Leap of Faith.

Puts me in mind of Roll of the Dice. Not even sure why.

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1 hour ago, borntorunsean said:

Just my opinion but I really think his standards have dropped over the last decade or so. There's no way a younger Bruce releases bang average pop rockers like this. I mean it's ok but this wouldn't get near a release in the 70s or 80s. 

Agree, but eventhough I wish it was still 1978, it's not, & he's not 28 anymore, he's 71. Do you really expect him to put something out lyrically of the caliber of the 70s/80s? This is probably as good as it gets for right now, & it's good. Certainly better than his last few efforts.There's nothing wrong with "good pop/rock", especially considering with what's currently playing on commercial radio & MTV.

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4 minutes ago, JustDan said:

Agree, but eventhough I wish it was still 1978, it''s not, & he's not 28 anymore, he's 71. Do you really expect him to put something out lyrically of the caliber of the 70s/80s?

Well, he did last year, at 70. But I guess the main aspect of this new project is the live in the studio spontaneity. If it’s true that in wrote the new material over a month or so, I wouldn’t expect deep / high quality lyrics. 

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10 minutes ago, JustDan said:

Agree, but eventhough I wish it was still 1978, it''s not, & he's not 28 anymore, he's 71. Do you really expect him to put something out lyrically of the caliber of the 70s/80s?

And we haven't heard the rest of the album yet :)

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1 hour ago, JustDan said:

Agree, but eventhough I wish it was still 1978, it''s not, & he's not 28 anymore, he's 71. Do you really expect him to put something out lyrically of the caliber of the 70s/80s? This is probably as good as it gets for right now, & it's good. Certainly better than his last few efforts.There's nothing wrong with "good pop/rock", especially considering with what's currently playing on commercial radio & MTV.

Right. Some people expect every song to be a mix of Hemingway and the Beatles. He writes some great lyrics but sometimes he just wants to rock and that is what this sounds like. It sounds like good music to drive to (like Crush on You for instance, which isn’t inspiring any particular deep thoughts from people listening but is a damn good rock tune) which is fine and a massive improvement over the last product. 

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40 minutes ago, MacBruce said:

Bruce's recording and songwriting career has basically been his own life story. His songs and albums through the years have reflected the part of his life he was in both at that time and occasionally looking back to his teenage years and his childhood. He has written about the people he knew, the characters he encountered,  the environment he was in, and the great and unique thing about him is that this has been universal. His songwriting has been one long essay on the whole human condition from childhood to old age with an American backdrop but universal in it's appeal. We all go through and experience these things.

He has chronicled his life, and now he is in his 70's he is writing about very different things and in a very different way to what he was in his 20's and 30's. The great thing about Bruce is that he has done so many varied types of styles in his records and they all have in my opinion, a magical appeal. When people ask me what my favourite era of Bruce's career is I can't tell them. He was a young, explosive dynamo in the 70's and early 80's, became more reflective in the late 80's and 90's. His post 2000 material has been astonishing. He has released some of the best albums of his career in the later part of his career, and especially recently when we were lucky enough to get another masterpiece in Western Stars. It's his variation in styles, his willingness to try new things, the sheer quality of his songs. So I don't think his standards have dropped at all. I just think he has changed his style of writing to adapt to the way the world has changed and how he has changed as he has got older.

Absolutely right. This type of song would not have got near a release of his in the 70’s and 80’s for this very reason. 

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1 hour ago, borntorunsean said:

Just my opinion but I really think his standards have dropped over the last decade or so. There's no way a younger Bruce releases bang average pop rockers like this. I mean it's ok but this wouldn't get near a release in the 70s or 80s. 

I see why you say this. Bruce wrote so much amazing material from this period, a good deal of it discarded, left off albums, or performed only rarely because they didn’t quite meet the standards or they didn’t fit the album theme. The songs then were filled with a hunger, a longing, an angst. And many of them were great. Artists are lucky to get a one “Born to Run,” but we got “Darkness” after it and the “River” and so on. 

Others have suggested this already, but I’m not sure it’s a fair comparison. A person in their 70s looks back and tries to make peace and sense of the journey because there isn’t much road left to travel.

Our culture romanticizes youth; we become obsessed with artists who burn out, die young, or walk away when the youthful fire burns out. We don’t get too many examples of artists who actually get old and talk openly about it.I think it’s a remarkable thing to have watched Bruce age and write about that experience. I’m sure it’s not unique, and there are other examples. I for one loved watching Sinatra sing when we was old; there was a beauty to what he was doing in all of its imperfections and failure to live up to his youthful efforts. It took some remarkable courage to show his frailty.

People do lose things as they get older, they lose their acumen, their ability to run and walk and slide across the stage and his high notes and tie their shoes. This is a natural part of life, and it’s one that happens to us all. But that doesn’t also mean that what older people say and do and create isn’t valuable. It’s just not the same.
 

I don’t know what the album will bring, but the song’s simplicity in its lyrics and its chord progressions, as well as the no-frills recording suggests a rawness and openness about the frailty and fragility of human life and creativity. 

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10 hours ago, JustDan said:

Look...Kate...If you like Western Stars, good for you. I'm not telling you you're wrong. Please xtend that courtesy to someone with a different opinion. My take is WS is like elevator muzak. If you feel offended, sorry....be offended. It's certainly your prerogative. Now, let's bless the mustard & pass the sausage.

@misty rain

Hey Kate, I apologize for sounding snarky. I aint got no call to do that.

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3 hours ago, Appleorchard253 said:

I’ve been scratching my head over this one too. The full lyric is “‘neath a crowd of mongrel trees I pulled that bothersome thread.”

Take this with a few heaps of salt: I see Bruce as setting the stage for where he wrote the letter. The focus is on him and his experience writing the letter. Trees in general provide a respite from the hot sun, a place to sit and rest and reflect, a being that provides us nourishment (as in fruit for us to eat as well as oxygen to breathe), and of course the knowledge of Good and evil and the Fall of Man. These are the themes of course he explores and he lives to explore the ambivalence in those things. Work and love, for example,  give us life also bring us pain and hurt (think “Factory”)
 

I read this line not as Bruce sitting under one “mongrel” tree, but under many different kinds of trees, possibly on many occasions writing many different letters (hence the “crowd”). Sometimes those trees bring nourishment and sometimes they bring the fall of man. In either case, he’s pulling the thread and finding it’s all interwoven.

In this case, you might argue that the “crowd” is mongrel and not the tree. Probably. There’s a literary device known as a “transferred epithet” where an adjective qualifies one noun, but its sense really belongs with another. We do this all the time without thinking too much about it. A common example people give is “he spent many a restless night...” it’s not the night that’s restless, it’s the person who is restless. 

As I read “the letter,” what he means is his whole body of work. Its actually multiple letters, which require multiple trees. 

I’ll also note the term “crowd,” which is a strange term to describe trees. I’d expect him to say “canopy” or forest or, if he were feeling really pretentious, a bluff or a copse. Bruce thinks in terms of the “crowd” though, and the trees become an audience for him to bear witness to the experience of writing the letter. The song then becomes a kind of performance itself. Bruce performs the act of writing for a crowd of trees, and what he’s writing are his songs, which he performs for us. And this song brings the two together: the writing of the letter will be itself a performance when, God willing, we get to see him perform this live on tour.

Or...something else. It wouldn’t be the first time one of my wild interpretations of something has been way, way off. 

 

I was thinking it was also self-referential. Mongrel nymphs are now mongrel trees. In the Broadway show, he talks about a particular tree that was his solace. "If he were a mystic," one of his inspirations is now rooted in nature, specifically the nature surrounding him in his home. He never knows which particular tree will make him feel rooted, a part of the ongoing link with the universe. But he also still identifies as a mongrel, not a purebred. 

Maybe.

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After a day of processing (and repeated listens), I agree that while this may not be the "best" song he's put out post-Reunion era... it's by far the most Bruce sounding to me. With the exception of maybe Radio Nowhere, this is undeniably Bruce in all regards (the sound, the band, the lyrical Springsteen tropes). Some are saying it's "Springsteen by the numbers," but I see it more that it's true to his sound. Everything about it feels so authentic. It's getting me very very excited about the album.

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I’m not sure of the point of comparing every release with pre1980 . Yes we can wax lyrical about those wonderful days but I do get a little irked by people writing off songs because they don’t match this era . I find Letter to You a song with an average intro which improves dramatically by the time it reaches the chorus . I agree you can hear HT/LT era in those early notes but the chorus well and truly shakes off those comparisons and sets the tone for the rest of what is a very good song . 
l particularly love the metaphor of letter writing to express his message. There’s something poignant and romantic about it and I feel it adds some emotion to the song. 
 

A note to Jon Landau - you had better explain letter writing on the album notes for the under 30 fan base though ! :D

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4 minutes ago, Thunder Roadie said:

you had better explain letter writing on the album notes for the under 30 fan base though

Under 30 year old fan here. You're right, I've never written an actual letter before haha, but for me that adds to the song. For me writing and mailing a physical letter implies more effort, heart and soul was put into the message. Which is exactly what the song is about.

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I haven't listened to it yet (deciding on if I wanna just wait for the album to release), but I think Bruce being more willing to release music in general now can be seen as a good thing, lest we forget how much of his previously unreleased material went a decade or two before seeing an official release.  I think we had a thread here before the 2016 tour where we all assembled our preferred River album using the original release with its outtakes.  That is to say, having more of his music that we can judge the merits of ourselves is a good thing in a lot of ways.

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2 hours ago, janeymarywendy said:

And we haven't heard the rest of the album yet :)

That's never stopped people bitching / complaining / moaning / tutting / praising / eulogising / wetting themselves (delete as applicable) before!

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1 hour ago, Skin2Skin said:

I was thinking it was also self-referential. Mongrel nymphs are now mongrel trees. In the Broadway show, he talks about a particular tree that was his solace. "If he were a mystic," one of his inspirations is now rooted in nature, specifically the nature surrounding him in his home. He never knows which particular tree will make him feel rooted, a part of the ongoing link with the universe. But he also still identifies as a mongrel, not a purebred. 

Maybe.

I love this. “Greetings” as an album is about being young and being able to make a record about the urban scenes he was trying to make sense of. “Does This Bus” is an urban scene, just all sorts of disconnected images that a young person is trying to take in, even if he can’t make sense of them.  It’s words and images that are disconnected. Springsteen himself is still trying to find a voice that is distinct from his influences. 
 

In this single, we exchange the urban for the bucolic, and youth has given way to old age, and now he can make sense of it. Self-referential indeed, and beautifully so. 
 

Thanks for this wonderful suggestion. 

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Today I listened to the three 'old' songs that are going to be on the album. They happened to all be posted on BTX. Three versions of Song for Orphans, three of Janey Needs A Shooter and one of If I Were The Priest (I still prefer Allan Clarke's version of that). If the Orphans song is anything like his 2005 version on the D & D tour I'll be delighted - love the way he arranged it.

Personally I'm not bothered about having these ancient songs on this album as they're pretty much unknown to me, although some of you may have listened to them many times over the years.  I don't tend to delve into all the outtakes, etc very much.

I AM hoping for a theme to run through this record though :) Bring it on!

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