Bruce Springsteen has given a rare in-depth interview ahead of the release of his new album Letter To You.
Bruce's twentieth studio album - released Friday October 23 - sees him reunite with The E Street Band in six years since 2014's High Hopes. Speaking to Zane Lowe for Apple Music, The Boss explained that it was about time he got the band back together, and the result was something that they have never done before.
"I knew I wanted to do a band project," Bruce told Zane. "It'd been really quite a while since I'd really put the band together and let them play in the studio. And so it's all just timing and what happens and where you are in different places in your life and everything comes along and it's time.
"It was a great project for us, because I don't think we've ever played live together in the studio and then kept everything that we did on the full take, all the singing, all the playing. It's The E Street Band really completely live. We've played live in the studio before, but never kept everything, always gone back in and overdubbed a vocal or overdubbed, put other things on. It was a great experience for the guys and it was a testament to how good the band has gotten and how better it continues to get over the years."
Described as a "milestone release" and "one of the finest achievements of Bruce Springsteen’s career" by critics, Letter To You for Bruce harks back to styling heard on his third studio album Born To Run. Three of the tracks on the album (If I Was the Priest, Janey Needs a Shooter, and Song for Orphans) date back even earlier, revived for 2020 from what were intended to be on his 1973 debut album.
"I wanted to go back to a style probably closest, you'd have to go back to maybe Born To Run," he says, "where I gave Roy [Bittan] free reign on the piano and the arrangements were... the songs fit those kinds of arrangements. And so it was a lovely, modern revisitation of that style. It's very painful to not be able to go out and play right now, because this is material that'll play incredible on stage."
And while Letter To You is a nod to Born To Run in some ways, Bruce is not one for chasing success of his previous works and replicating themes. Letter To You is an all-new account of accepting the aging process and being thankful for what you have in the current moment.
"The guys you see that ended up trying to, okay, the next record has got to be bigger or... it's not the healthiest way to go," Bruce explained. "You're better off following your muse. It's a losing game whenever you get into that particular approach."