E Street Band’s Steven Van Zandt: “We have a government bragging about putting babies in cages. What can I possibly say that they aren’t saying themselves?”

Letter To You avoids deeper discussion of US politics.

E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt has spoken out about the relative lack of politics on Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming record Letter To You. It’s his first album with the E Street Band in six years, the last being 2014’s High Hopes.

Speaking to Uncut about the lack of political songs on the record, aside from the allegorical Rainmaker, Van Zandt said: “I’m not speaking for Bruce, he can give his reasons, but for me, it’s all too obvious now. When I did politics in the ’80s it’s because it was hidden. Now we have a government bragging about putting babies in cages. What can I possibly say that they aren’t saying themselves? You are always looking for your own usefulness as an artist and maybe the most useful thing we can do is try and use music as the common ground.”

Van Zandt is making reference to the US’ border detention policies, which have garnered criticism from many.

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The inclusion of politics in music, and vice versa, has been a hotly debated topic recently. John Fogerty has notably filed a cease-and-desist with the Trump campaign over its use of the song Fortunate Son to promote a message he does not endorse. He also noted that the message behind the song takes aim at class privilege, and so he found it “confounding” that Donald Trump would use it.

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