Bruce Springsteen: Letter to You


I mean it.


Now that it can’t get out on tour, the Springsteen industry has turned to film to get the word out. It’s the same sort of idea they had with the excellent Western Stars, but this, amazingly enough, is even better.

Music is a serious business . . .

Shot entirely in black and white and on location in a New Jersey studio, Letters To You packs ninety minutes with new songs, and others that while still being new, hark back to Springsteen’s early songwriting days. Weaved throughout the film, Springsteen’s poetic monologues reflect on his early career, his deep relationship with his band, and his sadness for the friends he’s lost along the way.

Yes, they’re looking old, but the enthusiasm, love of the art and their commitment to perfection still shines through – and I say this as someone who’s not really a fan.

If you are a fan though, you don’t need me to tell you to see it any you can (at the moment, I think it’s only showing on Apple TV).

If you’re not a fan, you should see it anyway, just to experience the words and music of someone who’s dedicated their entire life to the pursuit of one single goal – even if he’s still not sure what that goal is.

Western Stars: a film by Bruce Springsteen

Okay, full disclosure: I’m not really a Bruuuuuce fan. Yes, like every other Springsteen not-actually-a-fan fan, I have a handful of tracks that I trot out every year or so when I’m taking a long drive, working through daddy issues, or collapsing under the strain of bein’ a hard workin’ man.

Springsteen’s nineteenth studio album is called Western Stars, and instead of touring it, he’s decided to make a concert reel to promote it. It was showing at our local multiplex, so my smarter half (a Bruce fan from years back) dragged me along to see the great man perform the album live, in his shed. Well, I say ‘shed’, but it’s actually a barn, and when I say ‘barn’ it’s actually big enough to hold a band, an orchestra, a bar, all his mates, and a film crew … Anyway, the seats in our local picture house recline, so at the very least I was expecting a decent nap. I was also expecting about ninety minutes of self-indulgent rambling interspersed with a few songs about travelling long and dusty roads.

Well, I was wrong …

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