Review: 'Bruce Springsteen: Letter to You' one killer jam session
Courtesy of Apple TV+
Serving as a tribute to not only Bruce Springsteen’s legacy, but to the E Street Band’s impact on rock music, “Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You” is a killer jam session that shows us The Boss at his most vulnerable. Pieced together with never before seen archival footage and directed by frequent Springsteen collaborator Thom Zimny, this behind the scenes look at the intricacies of making the musician’s latest: “Letter to You,” presented in crisp black and white, is the perfect anthem for honoring our fallen comrades (including E Street co-founder Danny Federici who died in 2008, followed by saxophonist Clarence Clemons in 2011) and not being afraid to grow up.
“Letters to You” is not a journalistic deep dive into the decade spanning career of the rock legend, it focuses on one weekend up in the snowy mountains, where the legendary E Street Band (or what’s left of it) came together to record their first new album in Springsteen’s home studio since “Born in the U.S.A.” Zimny captures the live performances in what essentially feels like a couple buddies got together, recorded some music, and went on their way. The outcome will reinforce your love for The Boss and maybe teach you a few biographical things along the way.
Peppered with crisp and smooth voiceover introductions by Springsteen himself, “Letters to You” is a concert film minus the concert. There are no adoring fans cheering in the crowd or killer after parties where the rockers get drunk and give us their deepest, darkest, confessions. This film is about the magic of creation and the humbleness that comes from working with your best friends. Plain and simple. There’s the occasional aside where Springsteen talks about his childhood, specifically losing his friend to lung cancer, and how his family impacted his dreams, but the majority of “Letter to You” has Springsteen in front of the mic doing what he does best.
And at age 71, he shows no signs of slowing down either and jokes with the band how they won’t stop until they’re in the ground. That’s good for the general population, and those of us who appreciate rockers maintaining integrity in their music. Watching Springsteen come alive and dust off the cobwebs and put fresh beats on tunes he wrote forty years ago is invigorating. I didn’t know half of the music terminology being tossed around by this crew, although one can’t help but notice that type of comrade and collaboration is of a rare breed. In time, “Letters to You” will age exceptionally, and we’ll look back on this moment in history and be grateful we got to witness it.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’S LETTERS TO YOU is now streaming on Apple TV+