New Springsteen Album "Western Stars" June 14*

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

  1. Davido

    Davido I got a bird that whistles I got a bird that sings

    Location:
    Austin
    And I guess that's why Nebraska ended up as it did - which I'm more convinced over the years was a good and wise decision!
     
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  2. Jerry Garcia Jr

    Jerry Garcia Jr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    ...the lyrics, the voice, the music, the songs...

    This is pretty much a masterpiece and one of the best albums our guy has ever made.

    I am listning to it now and it seems I will never get enough of this thing...
     
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  3. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Location:
    Eastern Shore
    The film is on HBO now.
     
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  4. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

    Location:
    Anaheim
    Loving Western Stars.

    Have always respected Bruce Springsteen but never really owned/listened to any of his albums until several years ago when I found an CD box set of his albums through BITUSA. Since then, I've picked up several loose ends from cheapie bin albums to choice Japanese imports to some vinyl. That is where Western Stars comes in. I cannot say a bad thing about this album other than the sustained vocal notes in There Goes My Miracle sound a bit processed. He is of fine voice overall and songwriting prowess. Love the widescreen strings depicting classic western melodies as a backdrop for these songs. This album will be on heavy rotation all summer long.

    Honorable mention to Wrecking Ball. Bruce meets The Pogues...well, sort of...and The Rising. These are two of his latter period albums that are also really resonating with me.

    Also looking forward to dropping the needle on the Western Stars Songs From The Film vinyl. I'm waiting until my immersion into the album proper is more complete.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2020
  5. Timos

    Timos Forum resident

    I’m a huge Springsteen fan, and although I’m into all sorts of music I would have to place him as my favourite artist. He is the man. His music has been there for me through some tough, confusing and lonely times. The simple elegance of his lyrics and way with a melody have touched me in ways that no other singer/songwriter has - even someone like Bob Dylan (who is wonderful, but often opaque - not that there’s anything wrong with that!). I can count four of Springsteen’s songs off the top of my head that I am unable to listen to without welling up (interestingly, I think all of them date from the last 20 years).

    However, and I mean this with the utmost respect for all here who are obviously big fans of this album, I personally would rate Western Stars as ‘OK’. For me, personally, it’s an album of 13 tracks of which half a dozen are killer - and the rest are so-so. The title track, Chasing Wild Horses, Moonlight Motel and Hello Sunshine are particular favourites. Those are great.

    I would, however, say that it’s probably his strongest set of new material since ‘Magic’ - but then again ‘Magic’ is probably in my top 5 Bruce albums (yes, really!). At least there’s a strong theme and continuity to Western Stars, and although some of the songs are ‘middling’, there’s no real need to skip any (Working On A Dream, cough, cough). Speaking of which, an earlier contributor to this post pointed out the similarities between Western Stars and Working On A Dream - particularly in Bruce’s voice and the writing style. That’s very interesting. Were these songs written (and even recorded, then touched up years later) at the same time?? I myself can see similarities between the two - but I’d say that Western Stars is certainly the stronger effort.

    Although ‘Magic’ was released in 2007, and I don’t think Bruce has topped that album since then, I’m not of the opinion that ‘he’s lost it’. He certainly bloody hasn’t. I’ve only seen him live once, in 2013, and that was EASILY the best gig I’ve ever been too. I was lucky enough to be able to download a soundboard recording from the Springsteen live website a few years later. Studio-wise, I still think there’s time to pull another ace out of the hat - but even if he doesn’t, I don’t care. He’s released enough fantastic albums for his legacy to be sealed forever.

    But, hey! With our differing opinions, that’s the way we are! I just thought I’d add my two pence (or cents!) worth. I hope I haven’t offended anyone, as I know this album is highly regarded.

    Thanks for reading this. I’ve just realised how long I’ve gone on for...
     
  6. Timos

    Timos Forum resident

    Yeah, the CD is ‘squishy’. A shame. With more dynamic range that widescreen feel would really come through. Glad to hear it sounds better on a different format.
     
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  7. Shoehorn with Teeth

    Shoehorn with Teeth Romans 6:23

    Location:
    Missouri
    I'm inclined to agree. Magic was excellent (despite the horrendous mastering) and Western Stars may just be his best since then, though I do love Wrecking Ball too. Springsteen is a true artist, doing what he wants and following his vision without concern for hits, sales, or acclaim. I totally respect that.
     
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  8. Timos

    Timos Forum resident

    Yes, mate.

    I’ve just flicked through some pages of this post (I contributed way, way back when the album was first released but then dropped out) and I’ve just read someone’s comment that they like ‘Magic’ so much they don’t care about how horrid the sound is. I agree with that, too!
     
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  9. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

    Location:
    Anaheim
    I love hearing the perspective of longtime fans who might be more discerning than I when it comes to impressions of a latter-career work such as Western Stars.
     
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  10. Mike M

    Mike M Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maplewood
    Finally watched the Western Stars film the other night on HBO, and had a curious reaction to it.

    I love Bruce, and love watching anything he releases, but the whole project seemed so over produced, like a high end fashion shoot or perfume commercial, it left me a little cold (although I could not stop watching).

    Also his stage poses at 70, are starting to seem almost silly to me. Kind of mad at myself for being so hard on him, but at his age, I would love to see him start losing some of the over dramatic stage moves, and maybe just sit and play some music.

    More stuff like this


    You can tell he still feels the need to present himself as a "rock star", but would love to see something less stilted and more natural for his age. And for the first time, you can really hear his age in his voice, kind of shocked me, but I guess time stands still for no one.
     
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  11. Paul J

    Paul J Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore
    I just watched for the first time also, and felt lukewarm about it.

    The sound was more cinematic than live concert, which with the material, may have been intentional.

    But I was hoping for a more live, less processed soundtrack. The cd of the film carries it better.

    The narration added little. No great insight, the songs are fairly easy to read. And the audience is his fanbase that would know all the particulars.

    And it interrupted the flow, the sequencing.

    To me anyway.

    I would be curious if the Blu-ray has the option to just play the concert.
     
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  12. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    Location:
    ohio
    i watched it too, a wee bit boring if i may say so.
     
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  13. Scott S.

    Scott S. Indie Music Curator

    Location:
    Walmartville PA
    I just watched Western Stars on HBO and had the opposite reaction - I thought it was great.. almost like a new form of presentation with the narration between songs. Really melodic, great flow with all those backing musicians. Hope so much he continues in this direction. This is actually the first thing Bruce has done that interested me since Nebraska. I used to be a huge fan, attended many shows. I was one who thought he lost his songwriting knack. but this blew me away.

    Well now everything dies baby that's a fact
    But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
     
  14. Isamet

    Isamet Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    Just watched the movie and enjoyed it. But I think with the orchestration this could have been called “Son of Working On a Dream.” There Goes My Miracle for instance could have easily been placed on that album and it would have been a good fit. Loved the Rhinestone Cowboy cover.
     
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  15. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

    Location:
    Anaheim
    Actually spun Western Stars again this afternoon and am still completely enthralled. There Goes My Miracle was a low point but it is starting to grow on me. I have Working On A Dream but haven't spent much time with it. I'll need to fix that.

    Listening to The River now, the time of my deep Springsteen dive continues.
     
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  16. Deja Doh

    Deja Doh Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I have resisted this album since it's release (having only partially heard a few tracks). I haven't been a fan of Bruce's new music over the last 30 years (except for the occasional twist here and there). The album had been gathering dust, still un-played until 10 weeks into the Safer At Home order when I got around to digitizing it last week. This morning I ventured into Western Stars as a means to focus my attention on an overdue task (and to avoid being distracted by the sounds my rambunctious 8 years old was making playing with her mom).

    From the start it was "Thumb stuck out as I go, I'm just traveling up the road". One play through, I all I can say is where has this been all these years? I really like the album. One thing I sense is that a lot of the songs seam short even if they are 4 minute songs, almost as if each could have another minute tacked on and were edited down. Wish I had discovered this earlier.
     
  17. cdash99

    cdash99 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mass
    Put me in the camp of those that feel that the live barn recording allows the tracks to breathe a bit more than they do on the studio album.
     
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  18. dead of night

    dead of night Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northern Va, usa
    Songs about a fading western star and a stuntman remind me of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Is the similarity a coincidence?
     
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  19. whodanny

    whodanny The Who ! THAT'S WHO !!

    Been listening to the CD since last summer, really love the album. Today my vinyl copy arrived, haven't played it yet, listening to the CD tonight (with a red wine accompaniment). Will play the vinyl tomorrow. Can you folks tell me what I will hear differently ?
     
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  20. ego1jr

    ego1jr Forum Resident

    The vinyl sounds fantastic.
     
  21. whodanny

    whodanny The Who ! THAT'S WHO !!

    Thanks for that, just sets me up for this evening when I'll sit down with a cold beer and have my first listen to the album on vinyl.
     
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  22. majorlance

    majorlance Forum Resident

    Location:
    Collingswood, NJ
    I was thinking Ralph Lauren from the time of WS's release a year ago! Brooce sure looked silly with all that turquoise jewelry.

    The album definitely has its moments, but I probably haven't played it in at least 6 months.
     
  23. Lombardi

    Lombardi Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Charlotte
    Way late to the party here, but as a lurker I read through most of this thread, and was delighted to see how many other folks enjoy this album as much as I do.

    It vacillates between him and Westerberg, but Bruce is the songwriter whose music means the most to me. I enjoy the majority of his catalog, and am a strong apologist for the post-ToL years (I think The Ghost of Tom Joad, Devils and Dust, and Magic are all superb albums in their own right).

    That being said, I think Springsteen on Broadway and Western Stars represent the peak of Bruce's artistic endeavors during this century. Though it's a composite of several years worth of sessions, there's an inversion of some well-worn touchstones and metaphors contained in songs like Hitch Hikin', Tucson Train, the Stuntman, and the title track.. it sounds so fresh.

    It's been noted many times here, but it bears repeating: Moonlight Motel is an absolute triumph, as good as any song the man's ever written, hitting like a ton of bricks on first listen... one of those that will be a part of you for the rest of your days.
     
  24. OptimisticGoat

    OptimisticGoat Everybody's escapegoat....

    Thanks for the contribution - agree with virtually all you say. :righton:
     
  25. The Bishop

    The Bishop Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dorset, England.
    Great post and I absolutely agree with you with regards Moonlight Motel. The first time I listened, I was probably concentrating more on the music and Bruce’s vocal, but when I listened again, I realised the album was a concept of sorts. A concept of what it is to be alive. And when I paid attention to the lyrics of Moonlight Motel, I was absolutely floored by what was unfolding. It really shook me up. Having almost gone down to that place myself, I was so grateful that my wife pulled me back from the brink. I know Bruce has been there too. That song is holy to me.
     

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