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Bruce Springsteen / Letter to You

New album with the E Street Band

Letter To You
 is Bruce Springsteen’s new studio album with the E Street Band will be released next month.

Springsteen’s 20th studio album, and his first album including the E Street Band since 2012’s High Hopes, was recorded at his home studio in New Jersey.

“I love the emotional nature of Letter To You,” says Springsteen. “And I love the sound of the E Street Band playing completely live in the studio, in a way we’ve never done before, and with no overdubs. We made the album in only five days, and it turned out to be one of the greatest recording experiences I’ve ever had.”

Letter to You includes nine new Springsteen songs and new recordings of three previously unreleased compositions from the 1970s. These are ‘Janey Needs a Shooter’, ‘If I Was the Priest’ and ‘Song for Orphans’.

The other players on Letter To You are Roy Bittan, Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa, Garry Tallent, Stevie Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Charlie Giordano and Jake Clemons. The album was produced by Ron Aniello with Bruce Springsteen, mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig.

The album is available on CD and 2LP black vinyl, the latter of which has one etched side. There’s also indie-only grey vinyl (see Rough Trade links below) and JPC in Germany have an exclusive 2LP black and white splatter vinyl.

Letter To You is released on 23 October 2020.

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Letter to You - CD edition

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  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

82 responses to Bruce Springsteen / Letter to You

  1. Rob Sweater says:

    Happy release day!

    If someone is looking for the grey vinyl, Hotshotsrecords (brick & mortar store in northern Germany) sells it for 30 EUR. free delivery in Germany, 8 EUR for delivery within the EU/UK.

    https://www.hotshotrecords.com/Springsteen-Bruce-Letter-to-you-2LP-140-Gr-Coloured-Vinyl-19439811621-1983929.html

  2. Gareth says:

    The BLACK w/ WHITE MARBLE LPs exclusive colored vinyl is now available from the official UK store for £37.39 delivered, sightly cheaper than from JPC.de if anyone’s interested.
    https://brucespringsteenstoreuk.com/products/letter-to-you-exclusive-colored-vinyl

    I’d already ordered from JPC and can’t make sense of how to cancel my order! Anyway, hopefully it will arrive and in one piece.

  3. SimonP says:

    Little Steven isn’t so little anymore, is he!

    • Roger Mills says:

      He’s a superstar in his own right…!!! Hence the very underrated Deluxe Vinyl Box Set he released a while back. Little Steven-Rock n Roll Rebel…

  4. Carl Jacobs says:

    Thanks Paul for the heads up re JPC.de. Had a couple exclusives from them IQ and Steve Hackett.
    Ordering was easy as usual.
    I’m going to to do the proper indie route, though for the std black and indie only grey vinyl; I’ll use Badlands in Cheltenham. The benefit here is there is a bundle for all three; CD, black vinyl and grey vinyl, plus you get a poster as well.
    Tried to see the Bruce store colour vinyl but no mention of it on U.K. store site.
    Carl

    • Peter Carmichael says:

      HMV UK have the 2LP on Grey Vinyl listed on their website for £34:99

      https://store.hmv.com/store/music/vinyl/letter-to-you-limited-edition-grey-vinyl

    • Carl Jacobs says:

      Hi all
      So finally, I have tracked down the “exclusive” colored vinyl at the US Bruce Store.
      It’s listed as black with white splatter. This looks exactly as that described on jpc.de.
      Perhaps Simon can confirm, but I’m pretty sure. Still not listed on U.K. store site.
      Also grey vinyl indie only; p lease, spare me. It’s listed on HMV. How is this aligned to indies only?
      As mentioned previously, I have ordered the jpc.de splatter vinyl and crucially as other contributors, have stayed true to Bruce U.K. by ordering black vinyl, grey vinyl and cd from the Badlands web site with a truly exclusive A5 poster; to be collected from store during RSD Drop 3 in Oct, along with many others including Motorhead AOS 3 LP and Black Sabbath Paranoid 5LP and Gabriel next two live LPs and others.
      All subject of course to the current COVID situation.
      Carl Jacobs

  5. Paul Timmis says:

    Go to badlands.co.uk – the only place to buy Bruce stuff from in the UK – and save yourself a couple of quid on the grey vinyl (or more if you want a bundle of the whole lot).

    According to them, just the 4th side is etched.

    • Jay says:

      Yep – Badlands is my excellent local record shop in Cheltenham, named after the Springsteen track and with Boss connections. They have an exclusive art print as well which they also offered with Western Stars last year – check them out at the website above and place an order – support the indies.

  6. Joe Donato says:

    To me, it’s a very classic sounding Bruce and the E Street Recording. If not for watching the video with their 2020 faces, I swear this feels and sounds like late ’70’s, early ’80’s E Street.

  7. yves vandezande says:

    I’m afraid it’s going to be Bruce-by-the-numbers again like he did for the last umpteen albums. Only the Seeger sessions were a cut above the rest.

    • Jay says:

      I have to vehemently disagree – Western Stars is a masterpiece Of Americana, in which the boss channelled Glen Campbell Among others and produced magic – one of his best. ‘Drive Fast (the Stuntman)’, for example has the power to reduce me to tears – I haven’t been that emotionally affected by a song for a long time. Although admittedly of course it wasn’t with the E Street band. I’m not expecting this to reach those heights but I like the song so am happy to be proved wrong. It’s just wonderful that these older artists are still in the game and willing to put the effort In to create greatness When they don’t really need to – they’ve nothing left to prove. Like Bowie with his last couple of albums. Let’s hope Bruce has many more healthy years to keep creating. Plus, also still willing to tackle politics and comment on the current state of America. Stay safe all.

  8. Paul Wren says:

    Yep – black/white splatter ordered via JPC in Germany.

  9. Rob O'Connor says:

    Bruce’s music since The Rising has had a bizarre brickwall of sound that lacks nuance. Born to Run was dynamic compared to the anonymous gestalt of 21st Century Bruce. Can’t he ever work with a producer outside of his comfort zone? And can’t he ever use the E Street Band in a way where they are not always ALL playing at once? Not impressed at all by the title track and his artwork remains the worst in the biz.

    The last album I truly loved by the man was Tunnel of Love. People raise their eyebrows but the best once since then to my ears is Working on a Dream, the one that gets picked on for being loaded with (gasp) pop songs. Take off the loathsome Outlaw Pete and sanctimonious title track and you’ve got an album of songs I can remember.

    That said, I hope this album has better material than the title track. I hope he keeps the lyrics to If I Was the Priest the way they were originally written — and someday officially releases the original version. Song to Orphans was so good in its original acoustic solo version. I hope he did it justice.

    • Paul Timmis says:

      Not sure that Western Stars can be labelled as having ‘a bizarre brick wall of sound that lacks nuance’.

      • Wayne K says:

        Maybe he’s referring to the CD. I’ve gone to buying Bruce on vinyl mostly because the mastering has been so bad over the years.

  10. David B says:

    Bruce saves 2020! Wonderful new song, I wonder are we, the fans, the You he has been writing the letter to. Sounds like a farewell song.

  11. KB Tucker says:

    For me, Bruce and crew are washed up artists, always re-playing same old hash. I’d much rather play the older tunes with Clarence, they still sound fresh to me today, and are way much better.

  12. Jarmo Keranen says:

    When those photos were taken? I didn’t know there was already winter in the USA. Hrrrr…my body is shivering from cold!

  13. Woodsey Niles says:

    Tony Bennett is a perfect example of a voice that has aged gracefully. I saw him recently and couldn’t believe the range he had at age 80+. Truly one of a kind. Rob Halford is holding up pretty well considering the standard he long ago set for himself. I would never attempt those screams in my 70s – and Ian Gillan certainly does not either.

  14. noyoucmon says:

    I saw a photo where Brucie’s pic from this album cover was transposed into a street scene from what looked like the early 1900s. It was sort of corny looking (Bruce is often corny), but it would have made for a more interesting cover than yet ANOTHER closeup of his big old Brucie head. He has to have the most boring album art this side of Phil Collins.

    Also (and apologies, Paul, if this is a dead horse, but all I saw was complaints about the opposite), I’ve got plenty of albums with 25-30 minutes per side that sound just fine. I know all the arguments against it–I’ve collected records since the ’70s–but oh how I tire of albums with 12-minute sides.

  15. Alm says:

    Must be exhausting being a Bruce completist!

  16. AntP says:

    Find it strange that the UK store is not doing the black & white splatter vinyl.
    I looked when the news first came out and the album wasn’t on the store at all so I’m surprised now that it is that it’s only the black vinyl.
    (The UK store had an exclusive colour for Western Stars.)
    Does anybody know if the black & white appeared on the UK store but went quickly?
    Just wondering whether to go ahead with JPC as it is also in the US store and only exclusive to JPC in Germany, Austria & Switzerland so might appear here?

    • Matthew says:

      Nope, it was never on the UK site. jpc must have some sort of exclusive rights for Europe and the UK (I’m just guessing). EUR 4.33 for postage to the UK is great though.

  17. Dave says:

    Paul – Just to clarify…The Springsteen album is 58 minutes long.
    Three sides would therefore average just less than 20 minutes per side, thereby giving best possible sound quality for that amount of music on vinyl.
    Conversely, releasing it as a single LP of almost 30 minutes per side would need to be very severely compressed,
    and not something than many vinyl listeners would be happy with, and a major mistake to release as a single LP.

    This 3 sided LP is not new practice to maximize sound quality – Johnny Winters 1969 “Second Winter” is an early example.
    And Robert Plant’s 2014 LP “Lullaby and The Ceaseless Roar” is a more recent example.
    Again great website!
    Really enjoying the “Roxymphony” signed set I got from you.
    Keep up the great work! – Dave

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Part of the reason for the confusion was that on the official site it lists TWO sides not three. And the slightly vague wording. But it does seem as if it’s ‘only’ one side etched.

  18. Greg says:

    Unless they offer a vinyl version without etched sides this will be the only Springsteen album I won’t own:(
    Whoever came up with this idea should find alternative employment.

  19. Phil Fogel says:

    I loved Western Stars, I’m loving the new song, sounds a bit like something off of Born To Run. I don’t get the 2 etched sides either, I’m hoping they put out a regular vinyl.

  20. Udo says:

    JPC Germany also offers a Limited Edition Black with White Splatter Vinyl

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      …which I thought I wrote quite clearly on the post.

      • SimonP2 says:

        Yes indeed. I ordered the black and white splatter from JPC – worked out at 39 euros (£36) including shipping to UK. JPC limiting to 1 per person so could genuinely be limited. Thanks for the heads up.
        First time I’ve successfully ordered from JPC. I’ve struggled in the past. It’s a lot easier when you realise there is a “switch to English” button

  21. David M says:

    Just read about the etching. Had pre-ordered but will cancel now ,$40 for effectively 1 LP is outrageous. What a bonkers decision.

  22. AdamW says:

    I agree, a 2xLP where each platter has an unplayable etched side is really gilding the lily here. He should have done playable etched sides (see Jack White’s “Sixteen Saltines” 12″), and then it could have been just one really-nice-lookin’ LP. Ah well.

  23. David Harold says:

    Went for the splatter vinyl, seems more interesting than grey. Bruce doesn’t feel like he should be grey…

    • Jim Richardelli says:

      I purchased the album 4 different times, and each one had play back issues on “I’ll See You In My Dreams” did your album have any issues?

  24. Ollie Carlisle says:

    Perhaps it’s etched in another way. There’s an hour’s worth of music here so surely that would take up at least three sides, if not four.

    For simplicity’s sake I might just go for the cd – can always etch it myself if I accidentally drop it!

    • Jay says:

      It’s just one side etched.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        There’s only two sides of music, so what’s on the ‘spare’ side that you are saying isn’t etched?

        • Jay says:

          That’s what it says on the Rough Trade site. I guess the music is organised to fit on three sides with the etched side left over. I’ve got a few of these – e.g. the new Bright Eyes album was done this way and the etched side was lovely. And the Reed/ Cale ‘Songs for Drella’ RSD20 reissue is done this way with a a one-side etching of Andy Warhol. And the Bowie ‘Cracked Actor’ live album from RSD a couple of years ago.
          Again – a nice object to collect and own if you’re interested, but nobody’s forcing anyone to buy it. There’s a regular vinyl version so people can opt for that. It’s s free market economy.

          • KevinK says:

            All the vinyl variants are 2LP with (it now appears) one etched side – there’s no regular single LP available.

  25. Phil Cohen says:

    The ladies in Springsteen songs are all either named Janey,Mary,Candy or Cindy. I guess he knew ladies by those names in his younger days.

  26. Bob McCartney says:

    This is great news. As a lifelong fan, he has been a major part of my life. The man can still write great songs, as Western Stars attributed to. Hopefully, this means a tour in 2021. I am praying we can put these recent times safely behind us.
    Good Health to All!

  27. Brian says:

    I assume “House of a Thousand Guitars” is a cover of a great song by Willie Nile. If so I can’t wait to hear Bruce’s version and am very happy for Willie to get that kind of exposure.

  28. Martin says:

    Just checked Rough Trade and £38 for double etched – He has aged well but not sure it needed the double etching

    • Jay says:

      Just ordered from Rough Trade – They have it on double Grey vinyl etched.
      Great to have more from the Boss so soon in what seems a late career purple patch. Western Stars was a masterpiece – one of his best – spent a huge amount of time on my turntable last year. The film also was fantastic.
      Stay safe.

    • OberonOZ says:

      Maybe the second layer of double etching was for the photoshop to make him look better?

  29. Eamonn says:

    “Both LPs have an etched side and a music side.
    What a dumb decision. It certainly inflates tge price for what should be a single LP.”

    Ooh, naughty! I wonder if this has been done before.

    • Tim Abbott says:

      Only one of these I own is the copy of Queen II with one side on black vinyl and the other on white, with the Queen crest on the flipside. But as that was part of an already extravagant colour vinyl box set, it felt like it was justified (to me anyway…!)

  30. 7 says:

    I thought Springsteen had abandoned the CD format, because of its obsolescence, NOT :-)

  31. Bart says:

    Hi, is “Janey needs a shooter” a cover of the Warren Zevon song?

    • MarkD says:

      Its a co-write along the lines of Becasue The Night, the Zevon version is titltled Jeannie Needs a Shooter

    • Philip John Birtwistle says:

      Janey Needs A Shooter is a Bruce song that Zevon covered having out some of his own words to it.

    • Mr E Train says:

      No, the Warren Zevon song is a cover of the Bruce Springsteen one…

    • madman says:

      It’s not so much a cover as the song is a collaboration (sort of): http://brucebase.wikidot.com/song:janey-needs-a-shooter

    • Gary Galbraith says:

      Well – It’s the other way around. Bruce wrote the original. Warren rewrote bits of it and retitled it. His version is credited to both of them

    • Beflox says:

      It’s a Zevon song written by him and Bruce …

      • Harcourt Fenton Mudd says:

        On the topic of cover versions……

        The absolute best cover version of all time , and therefore the best cover version of a Broooe Springsteen song is. . . . .

        The Ghost of Tom Joad by Rage Against The Machine.

        Tom Morello also played with Brooooce over the last few years, but does not appear to have been inducted proper into the E street band, and is not on this recording, it seems.

        Very glad to see nils lofgren still here in the band …great player, great guy. Broooce is ok too, mind you.

        • Graham Thomas says:

          Best cover of all time for me is Springsteen doing Tom Waites’ Jersey Girl with some additional lyrics. And Harry Nilsson’s Everybody’s Talkin’. And Glen Campbell’s Witchita Lineman. Ok that’s three. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

  32. MLG238 says:

    Can’t wait to hear the new versions of ‘Janey Needs a Shooter’, ‘If I Was the Priest’ and ‘Song for Orphans’. I only have the latter two on bootleg recordings

  33. CJ Feeney says:

    Official link to the LP description here. No idea what they mean by “wide black vinyl”

    https://brucespringsteenstoreuk.com/products/letter-to-you-standard-black-vinyl

  34. CJ Feeney says:

    Both LPs have an etched side and a music side.
    What a dumb decision. It certainly inflates tge price for what should be a single LP.

    But, on another subject, s there any other any artist has aged better than Bruce. Physically or artistically.

    • SeanL says:

      I think that’s just a ridiculous idea, people complain about the faffing around of single albums being re-released as a double album but to make one deliberately a double for the sake of etching a side …. it’s a single CD for me this one !

    • Chris Squires says:

      Tom Jones?

      • Tom m hans says:

        If we could only get the Decca Years CD box that was rumored years ago….lol

      • CJ Feeney says:

        Tom Jones is a great example of an artist maturing well. He’s not as creative as Bruce, but he develops his repertoire well.

        The advantage men have is that both genders’ voices lower with age, so women lose the higher notes that gave them a distinct sound, but men maintain the low registers that had in their youth. Joni Mitchell managed it well and created the jazz arrangements for her lower voice. Shirley Bassey’s voice has also aged well.

        It’s a bit more obvious in the classical/operatic world where some female roles (e.g. The Queen of The Night from Mozarts Magic Flute) are impossibly high for most voices to reach.

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