Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by FingerPickin'Triumph, Apr 22, 2019.
Watched the film yesterday. Great looking document.
still a very strong and cohesive album
I've probably said it before somewhere on this 123 page thread, but Western Stars convinced me that Springsteen is not a busted flush as a songwriter. Always allowing for the fact that these songs seem to have come together over an extended period of time. For 20 years or so, it's been slim pickings for me in the catalogue of an artist who sits in my all-time top 5 most of the time. I am not convinced that WS is necessarily a rebirth. I think it's a late and temporary rekindling of a candle burning low. I might eventually say the same about Rough and Rowdy Ways, maybe, if I could bring myself to listen to it again but I don't find it worthwhile and the voice just grates (and I am aware I am swimming against the tide here). Neil Young is the other one I set alongside Dylan and Springsteen in terms of idols of a certain age (though I am aware Bob and Neil have a decade or so on Bruce). I haven't heard a "new" song from Neil (I'm taking mid 90s on) that I would choose to listen to before anything pre-Sleeps with Angels. Bruce is the only one who has bucked this trend, for me, and Western Stars is it.
I posted some time ago that I thought Western Stars was his best album since TOL. I actually think it’s better than TOL as an album.
I agree with this, huge fan for 40 plus years and after dozens of listens, I just can’t bring this above “Ok”
the songs themselves are decent enough but the slick production contrasts the material imho. Maybe id have an easier time buying in if the material was a lil rougher around the edges, perhaps some three day stubble and work boots instead of clean shaven and slathered with cologne.
I think the subject matter of WS is not much of a departure for Bruce. The presentation is. It is an album he obviously felt he had to make and he took years to get it over the line. The slick orchestrated production is ok. I also like the live version. A stripped back solo presentation of some of the material would probably be more to my taste but it wouldn’t work for all the songs. As a whole it works. My favourite E Street Sound was lost with BITUSA bringing in the synths so all his albums since then are more about the songs than the sound for me.
You need to give "Magic" a listen. Not great sound quality but superb songwriting, also most of "The Rising". I am personally also a fan of "Devils and Dust" and much of "Wrecking Ball", not a bad era at all.
If anything, I would compare Bruce's recent output to Neil Young's. And by that I mean this century. The last 20 years or so have been uneven for both artists. There is some good work there, but it's patchy. To me, the main difference is that Neil hasn't released anything that is quite as good as Western Stars. I'd love to count Homegrown, but that album is 45 years old.
I guess I should have been more precise. Although I just KNOW PacificOceanBlue is going to chime in here, I like about 75% of The Rising a lot. And I do also like a lot of Devils and Dust. I think the tour he did behind D&D was his bravest movie artistically until Western Stars, probably. I guess one might have to put Seeger Sessions in the mix but it never clicked with me. I have tried Magic, Wrecking Ball and WOAD numerous times and none of them have got under my skin - just the occasional song.
Glad to see the love for Moonlight Motel. Right off the bat I knew it was something special and that feeling has only increased over the last year.
For me, Moonlight Motel is an all-time Bruce classic. It's a beautiful, tug-at-the heartstrings song. A perfect album closer. If you are of a certain age, it resonates.
Not counting songs with long gestational periods that were released in the mid-9os or later (i.e. classics like "Razor Love," "Ordinary People," or "Interstate" that were written many years before they were finally recorded and released) and not counting archival releases of long-lost albums like Hitchhiker or Homegrown, I'd still rank some of his post-Unplugged (1993) material higher than a good bit of what he was doing in the '80s. For instance, I'm much more apt to play the Broken Arrow album than I am to play Landing on Water (a candidate for my least favorite Neil Young album) or even Life (which is better than its reputation but is among the least compelling Crazy Horse projects). And while Silver & Gold and Prairie Wind may not be quite as strong as Harvest Moon, I'm still more likely to play them before Everybody's Rockin' or This Note's for You. Of course, I may be splitting hairs here, as I think I agree with your larger point, namely his more recent output hasn't been as consistently strong as the material released during his late '80s/early '90s artistic resurgence.
The Joad concert is my single greatest Springsteen experience.
Some of my favourite releases in the archive series are the Joad and D&D shows. Plus Christic. I mean, I love all the 75, 78, 80-1 shows too, but the solo performances are where I find the gold.
Moonlight Motel is my favourite song on the album as well. Though not much else has really moved me from Western Stars.
Yes I’m a solo Bruce guy myself. I guess I’m not that into the E Street Band but I love love love Bruce’s songs.
Joad and Devils And Dust are my two favourites since... well Joad.
The Rising was released on this day 2002. I am listening to it right now. Bruce was younger than I am now when he made it. At the time I was just glad he had made a new record with the band, I never dreamed he would release so much music in the next two decades.
Bought this album a year ago and still listen to it regularly. To me is classic Bruce.
First few listens I was very "meh" on this. Usually my initial opinion on a Springsteen album doesn't change but in the case of Western Stars it certainly did. It's a brilliant record that sounds good and gets better with repeat listens. His most complete work since Magic.
This may be the case for me as well. I had been a Springsteen fan since the Born in the USA juggernaut and, throughout my teenage years, I developed a fanatical passion for Springsteen's music inclusive of the astounding array of quality live and studio bootlegs that were commonly circulating at that time. Nevertheless, my first Springsteen concert wasn't until the summer of '92 at the homecoming stand at the Meadowlands. Those shows were great fun but, as a teenager, I was underwhelmed with the simultaneously released Human Touch and Lucky Town.
By the time The Ghost of Tom Joad came out, I had graduated college and moved south for a respite from the cold northeast. The album didn't move me the way Born in the USA had a decade earlier and, given The E Street tease earlier that year (the Greatest Hits album with "new" E Street material, the "Murder Incorporated" video shoot at Tramps, the Sony Studios performance and the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame concert in Cleveland), I was really hoping for a new E Street album and tour.
Instead of watching the Super Bowl with the rest of America, I attended Springsteen's concert at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta and was instantly mesmerized. This was the tour that was finally paying dividends on the promise of the Christic Institute benefit concerts and it went a long way toward righting the wrong that was his MTV XXPlugged television special. Relying heavily upon the material from the new album as well as appropriate material from Nebraska and a handful of newly rearranged classics, it gave me newfound appreciation for The Ghost of Tom Joad (now easily my favorite Springsteen album of the decade and one of his strongest post-Tunnel efforts). That tour was (in my mind) Springsteen's highest artistic achievement of the decade.
Think Bruce wins the century, Neil takes the 90s, Bruce rules the 80s, as for the 70s that is a close call, maybe Neil edges it for sheer volume of great albums?
I like the analogy!
I tend to agree - it would've been more interesting with some grit thrown in. Maybe he should've recorded it on a 4 track and then carried the tape around in his back pocket without a case for a few weeks...!
The sheen does have it's charms, though - with 'Moonlight Mile', in particular. I love the arrangement on that. Also, the strings on the title track and Chasing Wild Horses might be overblown, but my God they sound gorgeous.
I'm more bugged at the loudness of the CD. I've heard the vinyl is much better.
Ha, I was there. My first concert that I attended, by anyone! I recall Bruce making a Troy Aikman joke or two during the show.
He did indeed! You've got a good memory. I do remember him joking with us - something to the effect of, "we're all doing something subversive tonight" because it's almost un-American not to watch the Super Bowl. Thanks for the photo too. Very cool.
Sitting outside enjoying the day just listened to the Rising and Magic and I am going to listen to Western Stars next. I love all Three.
I love mature works by artists. Western Stars is a record that moves me, unlike anything he has done since Nebraska. I would put it in my top 5 along with BTR, Darkness, Nebraska, and maybe Wild, Innocent.
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