New Springsteen Album "Western Stars" June 14*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by FingerPickin'Triumph, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    I agree with you.I like a few of the songs, but it just doesn't grab me as an album and at the time, it was not the album I wanted or expected in the wake of BitUSA.

    You are right about the "life-changing" thing for a lot of people. I was friends with a couple--now long divorced--and to this day, she swears that her ex-husband took the lyrics to heart--he would spend hours listening to it--and walked out on her.

    I don't know if that's true, but who am I to argue?
    Either way, that's life-changing.
     
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  2. DavidD

    DavidD Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I certainly don’t have my finger on the pulse of Springsteen fandom. I didn’t ever like BITUSA but most think it’s killer.

    The second side of Tunnel carries the album, imo.
     
  3. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Location:
    Eastern Shore
    If that's so, please keep the ex-husband away from the Memory Motel. We still don't know exactly what that last shot is. Too risky!
     
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  4. Record Rotator

    Record Rotator Forum Resident

    One likes what one likes. Taste is not really something you can discuss, so your taste is no less valid than anyone else's. But using the word "easy-listening" when describing Glen Campbell's music was obviously meant to be derogatory. There's too much melancholia and depth in Glen Campbell's music for it to be dismissed as "easy-listening". Besides, it's not like Springsteen's music was ever edgy and/or a "tough" listen. He was always a soft guy hiding behind a tough guy exterior.
     
  5. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    She drove a pick-up truck and her eyes were hazel.

    Oh wait, you mean Moonlight Motel. I too have confused this title with the Rolling Stones "Memory Motel."
     
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  6. Python

    Python Forum Resident

    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    For me, WS is his best singe Magic. While there are no single songs that strike me as classics (such as "What Love Can Do," "Wrecking Ball" or "Down In The Hole"), there are at least none that are absolutely cringe-inducing (e.g. "Queen Of The Supermarket," "Rocky Ground" or "Hey, Blue Eyes" ). Sure, I'm not a huge fan of "There Goes My Miracle" or "Smokey Joe's Cafe," but somehow the latter's goofiness is almost charming, unlike the tedious "Mary's Place." Don't really like "Stones" either.

    But it just flows so well as an album, the songs/characters are great, there are no tedious politics and - thank heavens - there's no awful squawking and squealing from Tom Morello's guitar!
     
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  7. davebush

    davebush New Test Leper

    Location:
    St. Catharines, ON
    I have no problem at all with "Sleepy Joe's Cafe". I love the sentiment of the lyrics and the upbeat tone is a nice counterpoint to many of the other songs on the album.

    Back in 2014, he posted selfies on his website of a solo motorcycle trip he took to a tiny bar in rural Florida. At the time, I wondered aloud if this was the sort of thing he did as songwriting research. I think I might have been correct.
     
  8. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Southwest
    Side A is also terrific.
     
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  9. DavidD

    DavidD Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Both awesome songs, nonetheless, one of the Stones' best for me :righton::righton:
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 1:29 PM
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  10. DavidD

    DavidD Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I don't know, it's easy to listen to acoustically so maybe there is that angle.

    I always interpreted Springsteen as a loner who was contemplative and riddled with angst, never as a 'tough' guy.
     
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  11. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I just brought him up because Bruce name-dropped him specifically in interviews discussing the project. I know nothing about him other than "Gentle On My Mind" and "Witchita Lineman" and (ick) "Rhinestone Cowboy." Just not my thing (he also apparently didn't write any of those songs, which is weird to me). I mean, he also name-dropped Burt Bacharach, who of course is one of the great 20th century American writers, and I respect his craft and like some of his songs, but I couldn't do an entire album of it. I don't mean "easy-listening" as derogatory as much as "pleasant music intentionally done to be as inoffensive and have the widest appeal to older audiences as possible," and I know this was a huge business judging by every dollar bin and Goodwill store i've been to in my life. That's fine, it just isn't for me.

    And I love heavily orchestrated, lush sounds...I grew up listening to my mom's Moody Blues albums, and love Spector records like All Things Must Pass and worship at the altar of Brian Wilson. But on this one the strings are just sort of poured on everything like syrup on a pancake, and don't do anything arrangement-wise that stands out as being especially creative or different. The album is a genre exercise, just in a same-y genre I guess I can't connect to at all.

    I wouldn't use "edgy" to describe Bruce, and I don't care about anyone's "tough guy" crap (and I absolutely adore Tunnel Of Love). But he pushed the boundaries of conventional rock songwriting on his first several records, and when he matured and settled down (writing-wise) he still had one of the greatest backing bands in history to give it the kick it needed. And even a non-ESB record like Devils And Dust had enough sonic contrast between the songs where the album stayed interesting for most of it's CD-era length. This one should be better than Devils for me, since it's got a bigger sound, but i'm just bored.
     
  12. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Location:
    Eastern Shore
    Oops. Played them together on my little radio show last night.
    Possible that Bruce's friend's teeth were slightly curled, right?
     
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  13. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    He never struck me as a tough guy either. It was a pose for his characters.
     
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  14. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I gave it another (partial) spin over lunch today. As a genre experiment, I think there's a good EP in here. The title track, "Miracle" and a couple others are solid B-level album cuts. There's just no standout tracks that really jump out, unfortunately, probably just due to everything being so intentionally low-key.

    But something else I'm realizing, that goes with my feelings on the album's sound and production, is that it's all so utterly faceless behind Bruce's vocals. And I think it ties into a lot of people's criticism of Human Touch, a very different record but one that has the same problem: no one playing on the record has any personality or unqiueness to their playing. And that doesn't mean solos or anything, just like, Max's drumming feel, Garry's jumpy basslines, or Roy's signature piano parts. It sounds like there's 20 people playing on a lot of Western Stars' tracks, and, by design, none of them stand out. I know most people don't care, but that's the kind of stuff I really listen to when I listen to music, and there isn't much for me to grasp onto beyond the vocals.

    I also can't shake how out of place this album is in 2019, and how I have a hard time listening to him drone on about this weird Hollywood Western fantasy version of the past, but that's not really something I guess we can discuss here. :hide: (FWIW, I sort of feel similarly listening to the new Little Steven album, thinking about the stuff he used to write about, and then hearing "Party Mambo"...nothing wrong with that most of the time, but it's not what I need right now)
     
  15. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Location:
    Eastern Shore
    Speaking of people droning on, we get it. You don't like Western Stars. Keep listening to Backstreets. Some of our tastes have evolved in the ensuing 44 years. Like what you like, but consider the general reaction to the album. It just could be that it is you that is out of place. That you can't hear Max, or Gary, or Roy is not necessarily a bad thing. It's called variety. Or you can head for Madam Marie's one more time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 3:41 PM
  16. Dr. Zoom

    Dr. Zoom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Monmouth County NJ
    It's not a bad song. But it sounds cheap...like all the instruments were played on a $119 Casio synthesizer.

    The instrumental break sounds like something off of a Kidz Bop CD.
     
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  17. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Did you play "Moonlight Mile" in between?
     
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  18. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Midway, KY
    Classic line!
     
  19. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Location:
    Eastern Shore
    Nope. Just the two motel songs, Stones first.
     
  20. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I've evolved plenty. I'm one of the only people that seems to really like his latter-day records, and doesn't bitch that they're not "Darkness Part 2." I don't care if it's Gary, Max or Roy, I just wish the people playing those roles on this had more prominence and personality, that's all. Just like he got the best rhythm section money could buy for Human Touch, but you couldn't really tell. This one is just boring.
     
  21. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Midway, KY
    I love the record and definitely get the whole Glen Campbell deal. I wouldn't call it old country, maybe some countrypolitan influences. It sounds like an album from another era, yet the characters stories are timeless and that's kind of cool to me!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 4:11 PM
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  22. davebush

    davebush New Test Leper

    Location:
    St. Catharines, ON
    That's exactly why I love it.
     
  23. DavidD

    DavidD Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Me, too! My mom played a lot of the early 70s music with a similar sound, from Olivia Newton-John to Diana Ross to Anne Murray, etc. I think Springsteen brings a new feel to this lush, older sound. It is so warm and soothing, I'm still playing this record numerous times daily.



    I should add, this album really plays best on a better stereo set-up. Some of the cool background sounds seem to have emerged from nowhere.

    I missed a lot of subtlety by first listening to the digital takes online; but on a decent stereo, a couple of songs I didn't think sounded so good actually fit better than I gave credit to (i.e., Sleepy Joe's and Drive Fast). Even North Of Nashville has a light string background that I totally missed for a while.


    As an album, this works!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 4:37 PM
  24. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    So Bruce was taking notes that time (in 1974?) he opened up for Anne Murray?
     
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  25. DavidD

    DavidD Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I've no idea what he was doing with Ms Murray, but you can't blame him no matter what it was!
    (Did he really open for her at one time?)

    PS. Yes, you are correct! I don't think the article slagging Ms Murray's natural good looks was a fair comment though.

    The Day 'The Boss' Opened For Our Annie
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 4:42 PM
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