2019 – Pop / Rock
After five years, Bruce Springsteen comeback with his nineteenth solo album, Western Stars (2019).
In 2014, with the released of High Hopes (2014), the American Singer and Song-Writer, Springsteen, was taken by surprise when his new project didn’t get stuck in the head of the fans or pleased the critics. No doubt, Bruce has his place saved in rock, country, pop and even folk history, with incredible albums like Born in the U.S.A. (1984), Nebraska (1982) and Born to Run (1975), however, with High Hopes, clarifies once again that even the kings make mistakes. But, in 2019, Bruce Springsteen released his new album, Western Stars, with a new begging for him.
With Western Stars, Bruce brings back what we most love in him, the complex, detailed and emotional lyrics with a hint of responsibility in criticizing the present. In the first track, “Hitch Hikin’”, we already can feel how the album is going to be, the track begins with just Bruce’s voice, that with the time, begins to be accompanied by piano and guitar, and in the end, we have a beautiful orchestra that compose with greatness the first track. In this song, Bruce talks about the normal people that we always set aside thinking that they don’t have interesting stories, but, in fact, is the opposite. We also can make a connection with the album title and think that this people that we always forget are the real western stars. In “Sleepy Joe’s Café”, Bruce put the same feeling, talking about the people that frequent a roadside bar that have theirs lives, theirs stories and we always don’t pay much attention to it.
Throughout this album, Springsteen praises the simplicity of the life. In track like “Western Stars” and “Somewhere North of Nashville”, stays clear that he is upset about leaving the things that he most love to follow a career. In the track with the same title of the album, Bruce make a reference to Viagra, but, when instead of talking about stopping drinking and erection, he’s talking about leaving the things that you like to feel young, even If you don’t want to. And in the track that are near to the line of Nashville, Bruce talks about the sacrifices that he has to do to follow his career, like left her lover behind. In tracks like these, he criticizes the fame and praises the simplicity and how good is to have a simple life.
As in all his albums, we have love here too, but in a more negative way. While Bruce are arguing about others things, he talks about all the bad things he did to his lover, like left her behind. In all tracks, Bruce shows regret about leaving the best thing he had. Since tracks like “Tucson Train” when Bruce still have hope about the her coming, to “Moonlight Motel” where he talks about all the good moments that he had with she. And after all, Springsteen still want to have she back, even If was just for a one day just to watch the sunset in “Sundown”.
However, like in Born in the U.S.A. (1984), Bruce Springsteen still have the strong hand to talk about politics. In “Western Stars”, we have fearless commentaries about the delicate situation of the Mexicans and reference to they like his brothers and speech about how important they are to American culture.
And the answer of the sadness, we have good messages from Bruce. In “Drive Fast (The Stuntman)”, he talks about live the life in a fearless way, don’t worrying about the obstacles, and If something happened, we always can get up again. “Hello Sunshine” is a letter to a new lover (probably) talking about how his life has been fill with pain and all he wants now is someone who will understand him and his way to live.
Talking about the instrumental, Bruce made an incredible work here. With Ron Aniello in the production, Western Stars, with the help of a team of people playing the instrumental, have a cohesive and beautiful environment. The atmosphere based on the California pop music from 70’s is created by the extremely deep and emotional lyrics with the seduced and deep orchestra in the back. In all the songs, we can hear to delicate and well mixed transition of the basic instrumental to a complex instrumental. With a great worked vocal, Bruce brings back the different lyrics without a normal chorus.
In short, I can say that Western Stars in a new beginning to Bruce Springsteen. As he said, he’s looking for a simple life, without all the fame stress and headache. With an album where some songs look like an epic movie soundtrack, Bruce delivered a cohesive and beautiful album, showing that he still gets it.