A new Bruce Springsteen album? Sure, why not?
Updated: Sep 6, 2020
It's comforting that, even in these unprecedented times, one thing remains constant: Bruce Springsteen fans will descend into unhinged near-hysteria at even the whiff of a possible new album.
The latest frenzy seems to have originated with an item on the Instagram story of Bruce's latest favored producer, Ron Aniello: "It's coming ..." he wrote, superimposed over a foreboding shot of an oncoming storm.
"WHAT'S COMING?" was the response from E Street Nation, in unison. Aniello has been known to drop vague hints on his social media, so clearly he must be heralding the oncoming release of a new, storm-themed Springsteen album. Never mind that he debunked that thought himself almost immediately:
Oh, c'mon Ron. Clearly Bruce must have gotten to him! "What's the deal, Aniello??" he probably said. "You know dropping unauthorized new album hints is Stevie's job! Clean up this mess!"
Thus the Springsteen album rumor mill shifted into high gear, notably in a masterpiece of conjecture by Chris Jordan in the Asbury Park Press. (I half expected him to declare "The butler did it!" at the end.) This in turn resulted in a series of obviously fake and kind of terrible new album covers dropped on social media, because why not?
Granted, the one on the left has a sort of simple charm, like the rejected sleeve cover for a late-'80s Bob Seger single. The other one looks like what you might get if a marketing intern with a tequila hangover designed the cover for a new paperback edition of John Steinbeck's "East of Eden."
Now, after getting burned in the great "Arcade at Night" fiasco of 2011, you'd think we'd have learned our lesson. But Springsteen fans are nothing if not eternally optimistic, forever buoyed by the knowledge that Springsteen Inc. has never planned anything more than a week and a half ahead of time, so anything is possible.
Plus, in defense of the hoping-against-hope crowd, we know something is up: Bruce had referenced going on an unexpected writing jag for new music for the band, Nils Lofgren in Monmouth University's great "What's Up On E Street?" series said that pre-pandemic, they had "as great a record in the works as I ever heard Bruce make" (APP's Jordan was all over that remark), and Patti dropped this bon mot in Rolling Stone:
“We’ve been sharing a studio, and Bruce has just been so prolific lately that it’s hard for me to get in there.”
So work is happening -- whether it's new solo material, a continuation of the pre-pandemic band work, or a series of increasingly complicated guitar solos for Dion songs, remains to be seen. When it's official you'll read it here ... well, probably not first, but not last either.