So what are 'Springsteen's basics'? In terms of an entire album, Springsteen's been routinely coining pretty simplistic lyrics since Born In The USA circa 1984. Consider Cover Me, as an example: The times are tough now, just getting tougher This old world is rough, it's just getting rougher Cover me, come on baby cover me Well I'm looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me I've literally read grade 11 poems of this calibre. I think Einstein said something like, everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. One can argue that Springsteen had other simple songs from earlier works, like Sherry Darling from off The River in 1980: And you can tell her there's a hot sun beating on the black top She keeps talking she'll be walking that last block And she can take a subway back to the ghetto tonight Well I got some beer and the highway's free And I got you and baby you've got me Hey, hey, hey, what you say, Sherry Darling Yet to my ears, a simple song like Sherry Darling presents a more elaborate picture and stirs up a more emotional response than Cover Me, a song that is just too simple for my enjoyment. The problem for me is that when Springsteen gets too simple -- as with Cover Me, he often loses his cinematic quality. And it is that cinematic quality that I find most appealing to his work. I won't bother to deeply discuss numerous his iconic lyrics which are routinely far more involved than either of these examples, but these more involved lyrics could be no simpler and still convey the beautiful imagery, as per Racing In The Street, circa 1978: She sits on the porch of her daddy's house but all her pretty dreams are torn She stares off alone into the night with the eyes of one who hates for just being born For all the shut down strangers and hot rod angels rumbling through this promised land Tonight my baby and me we're gonna ride to the sea and wash these sins off our hands All that said, Western Stars is album which works pretty dang well (if not very well!) as an album. I think Moonlight Motel is the pinnacle of his writing on this album, but a simpler song like There Goes My Miracle still fits in with the feel and presentation. I agree with the poster who said that it is the sum 0f the parts that elevates this album. On the whole, I think Western Stars is his best work since Tunnel of Love.