Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Bruce Springsteen announces new album, Letter To You, and a bad album cover

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Photo: Danny Clinch

The Boss has once again emerged from the underground bunker where he painstakingly, exactingly obsesses over every millisecond of sound he has ever recorded, in order to announce that he had finally decided that latest round of endless tinkering has resulted in a finished product that meets his standards. For now, anyway—until he gets mad later, decides it’s garbage, and throws it into a pool.

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Bruce Springsteen announced this morning that he had finished work on a new album, Letter To You. Recorded once more with his beloved E Street Band, the record contains 12 songs, three of which are new versions of outtakes from his ’70s work: “Janey Needs A Shooter,” “If I Was The Priest,” and “Song For Orphans.” Produced by Springsteen and Ron Aniello, the album marks a new evolution in his studio process, as the Boss himself explains in the press release: “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.” Of course, those thinking this would result in some rough, raw recording may want to himself themselves that Brice Springsteen does not do rough, raw recordings any more. Here’s the lead single, title track “Letter To You.”

More importantly, let’s discuss this stinker of an album cover. Admittedly, it’s by no means the worst one he’s ever done (as our own Noel Murray has pointed out, that honor probably goes to Working On A Dream, which is apropos), but it is proudly up there in the pantheon of weak images, the visual equivalent of a shrug. Snow does not equal striking imagery, especially not when it looks a bit to much like a cheap Instagram filter. Also, what is this supposed to convey? That he set a timer but then stood in the wrong place, cutting off half his face? That he’s a jolly winter pilgrim, here to deliver holiday cheer? We love Bruce around these parts, but this continues the unfortunate tradition of Springsteen’s fondness for sticking his own mug on an album cover and calling it a day.

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Should’ve re-thought this one, Boss.
Should’ve re-thought this one, Boss.
Image: Bruce Springsteen

Nevertheless, it’s a new Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band record, so it’s cause for celebration. Letter To You will be released October 23 on Columbia. You can pre-order the album here. The complete track listing is below.

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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

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.

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