Bruce Springsteen: Western Stars Review
You literally would have to be living on another planet not to be familiar with the “Boss.” Know to the world as Bruce Springsteen his career has spanned over five decades. It was in 1975 he attained worldwide recognition for his critically acclaimed album Born to Run. He has recorded both rock albums and folk-oriented works, and his lyrics often address the experiences and struggles of working-class Americans. Altogether Springsteen has sold more than 135 million records worldwide and more than 64 million records in the United States, making him one of the world’s best-selling music artists. He has earned numerous awards for his work, including 20 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award (for Springsteen on Broadway). Springsteen was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1999, received Kennedy Center Honors in 2009, was named MusiCares person of the year in 2013, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. His latest release Western Stars is the latest masterpiece in the vast discography of this preeminent artist.
“The Wayfarer” is a relaxed selection that features strings, piano and steady acoustic guitar that encapsulates Springsteen’s well-written lyrics. The Boss has not lost his touch when it comes to storytelling, and “The Wayfarer” is a perfect setting for his vocal range and timbre. The song develops into a full band production, again telling a story that naturally unfolds as a theme throughout the is album. Springsteen is very comfortable in his musical shoes and he wears them with confidence and a style that is unmistakable and all American.
“Moonlight Motel” is a wonderful ballad that is heartfelt and well told by this troubadour. Springsteen does not try and over complicate or stretch his musical style. Instead, he keeps things focused on melodies, lyrics and creating an emotional musical setting. The band is sensitive, but there is still plenty of musical substance to savor. This is a song that is perfect for quiet moments, or keeping things relaxed in a busy fast-moving workday. However you desire to slice it, its primo throughout.
There is a reason Springsteen has been a lasting voice in the fabric of rock, his music and lyrics are timeless. His stories engaging and based in the everyman’s life. Relatable, honest and heartfelt. Certainly, key ingredients in great songwriting. Western Stars knocks it out of the park for this great American songwriter. Springsteen sums it up best himself “a return to my solo recordings featuring character-driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements”, the album ranges from American themes, of highways and desert spaces, of isolation and community and the permanence of home and hope.
June 14, 2019