Bruce Springsteen “Western Stars”
As one of the few true legends of music delivering great new music it’s no surprise that this release by the Boss is being greeted with such joy. It also of course follows on from his brilliant Broadway performance that has been featured on Netflix.
The first thing that grabs you about opening song “Hitch Hikin’” is that voice. A sparse arrangement makes the voice the centre of attention. It’s a similar story with some of the slower, ballad songs like “Chasin’ Wild Horses” and “Somewhere North of Nashville”. It’s just startling how a voice can somehow be so powerful and yet also fragile and full of emotion.
There’s certainly plenty of the ‘classic’ Springsteen sound on this album. “The Wayfarer” is just a glorious song which is initially delicate but suddenly builds into a beautifully warm song that could happily sit along some of his biggest hits. That’s also true of the upbeat and almost pop feel of “Tucson Train”. In fact, the tracks we really love on this album are the faster tempo and arguably more commercial ones. Songs like “Sundown” and “There Goes My Miracle” and “Hello Sunshine” just have a life reaffirming quality to them.
As always one of the key qualities of this album is the storytelling nature of the songs. You just get transported to other times and places. Even though we’ve never been there we can almost sense being on the warm American plains with tracks like “Western Stars”. It’s impossible not to just get caught up in the atmosphere of songs like final “Moonlight Motel”.
As the years have gone by the list of musicians who have been inspired by Springsteen is never ending. Some, like Brian Fallon or Craig Finn, have come pretty close to match his ability to put beautiful stories to music. This album is a timely reminder that NO ONE does that better than Bruce himself…no wonder he’s called the Boss!