The latest single from Bruce Springsteen launches immediately into a forceful drum pattern, laying the foundations for a powerful song about a life of love and loss, surrounded by music. Springsteen explains: “‘Ghosts’ is about the beauty and joy of being in a band and the pain of losing one another to illness and time. ‘Ghosts’ tries to speak to the spirit of the music itself, something none of us owns but can only discover and share together. In the E Street Band it resides in our collective soul, powered by the heart.”
The song and video are certainly haunted by ghosts. There are photos from Springsteen’s early career in bands such as The Castiles and footage of shows from decades past. The lyrics speak directly of the comradeship found through music and creativity and the sustaining, restoring power of, “…those who’ve come before.” Musically, though, ‘Ghosts’ is very much alive. A strong bass line drives the song forward, over which a soaring melody and crashing E Street rock ‘n’ roll spirit surges through this anthem. The sound is full and rich and, after the excellent solo work of ‘Western Stars’, this shows what the E Street Band bring. Indeed, a highlight of the Thom Zimny-directed video is the opportunity to see the E Street band at work in Springsteen’s home studio, a collective of marvellous musicians.
The song is at its most effective when it pauses and allows the tender love at its heart to live in the tinkling piano keys. Contrasting power and sensitivity: that’s the key to Bruce Springsteen and the E street Band. Look out for the new album, ‘Letter to You’, on 23rd October.