Bruce Springsteen recently released “Only The Strong Survive,” a 15-song cover album of soul and R&B songs; however, the singer revealed that the recording process was difficult.
Before the release of his new studio album, Springsteen revealed that he had 40 songs planned but decided to reduce the tracklist to 15.
The 73-year-old musician said:
“Initially, it was really hard. I was picking material and I’m going, ‘It’s hard to sing somebody else’s songs, and get them to sound authentic and it’s coming out of you.’
So I made an entire record that I threw out, and it’ll show up in different places, and there were some good things on it but didn’t feel quite right.”
Springsteen also explained why he chose this direction for his latest album rather than creating and working on his original material.
“I said well, maybe I’ll orient myself towards soul music, because it’s how I grew up, and all my great mentors were soul men that came, Sam Moore and, of course, James Brown, Smokey Robinson as a writer.
I mean, just so many. And the great singers, David Ruffin, Levi Stubbs, all masters. They were all my masters and I said well, let me try and sing some of this material.”
Aside from paying homage to the soul singers who came before him, he also paid homage to the original singers of the songs on the album.
The album begins with the title track, “Only the Strong Survive,” originally performed by Jerry Butler, and is followed by Dobie Gray’s “Soul Days,” which sets the tone for the rest of the album. For the song, Springsteen collaborated with Sam Moore.
The Commodores’ “Nightshift” was released as a single in October 2022, along with a music video similar to Frank Wilson’s “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do).”
According to NME, the singer wanted to “challenge” himself by performing songs outside his usual range, citing his “voice is bada*s.”
“I’d spent my working life with my voice at the service of my songs, confined by my arrangements, by my melodies, by compositions, and by my constructions. My voice always came second, third or fourth to those elements.”