The rocker said he planned to follow his Broadway residency with a new solo record, but noted, “It’s not topical at all – topical writing at the moment doesn’t hold a lot of interest to me. I really got out a lot of what I had to say in that vein on Wrecking Ball. I’m not driven to write any anti-Trump diatribe; that doesn’t feel necessary at the moment.”
Springsteen has been a fierce critic of Trump and previously skewered the president on “That’s What Makes Us Great,” a protest song he released with longtime collaborator Joe Grushecky in April. However, the rocker said he was wary of continuing to channel the current political climate into his music because of the constant coverage and criticism of Trump.
“I’m ambivalent about… sort of getting on a soapbox,” Springsteen said. “I still believe people fundamentally come to music to be entertained – yes, to address their daily concerns, and yes, also to address political topics, I believe music can do that well. But I still believe fundamentally it’s an affair of the heart. People want you to go deeper than politics, they want you to reach inside to their most personal selves and their deepest struggles with their daily lives and reach that place; that’s the place I’m always trying to reach.”
Springsteen added that he never wanted to be “a proselytizer for an ideological point of view,” even though he’s long been a prominent advocate for certain issues, both on record and off. He pointed to Woody Guthrie as an example of a musician who engaged with the political in his music, but focused on people first. “They weren’t hollow, they weren’t one-dimensional; they were these very full character pieces about the times,” Springsteen said. “I still aspire to that, really, and if it has political implications that’s fine and if it doesn’t that’s fine too.”
Springsteen kicks off his intimate Broadway residency tonight, October 3rd, at the Walter Kerr Theater. The rocker will perform five nights a week until February 3rd. Springsteen released his last album, High Hopes, in 2014.