Lindsay Zoladz of The New York Times talks to Springsteen about his new album “Letter to You.”
Here is a taste of the interview:
I take it you saw the people playing “Born in the U.S.A.” outside Walter Reed when President Trump was there earlier this month. How did that make you feel? Decades after Reagan, people still seem to be misunderstanding that song.
That is my lot in life. [Laughs] That is my lot in life and I have learned to live with it with a smile. I mean, I do believe that as much as it is the writer’s job to write well, it is the listener’s job to listen well. And yet still, on occasion, I’m going to hear something like that.
I still believe it’s one of my best songs, and when we play it, it just has a cumulative power that remains with it. The pride that people feel as a part of that music is true. But to understand that piece of music you need to do what adults are capable of doing, which is to hold two contradictory ideas of one thing in your mind at one time. How something can be prideful and at the same time call to account the nation that you’re writing about. That was just a part of that piece of music. It’s a song that’s not necessarily what it appears to be.
I hear you grappling a lot with spirituality on this record, especially in a song like “The Power of Prayer.”
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve kind of become a spiritual songwriter just by nature, by the things I’ve grown interested in. At the end of the day I’m writing about my own spiritual life, and I’m addressing yours. We make a lot of music that addresses the soul, that’s the nature of our band. Whether I heard, as I say on the record, Ben E. King’s voice, or the Drifters, some of the otherworldly doo-wop of the early ’60s — I just find a great essence of spirit in them. It was something that I wanted to communicate when I wrote my own music. It’s not sort of dogmatic or overblown, there’s no religion in it. There’s just spirit, I hope.
Read the entire interview here.