I just gave it a full listen for the first time since July. I've listened to all songs individually in the weeks since but what with the autumnal turn of the year it felt apt to listen once more in October's more dreich melancholy settings away from the sunny turn of early summer when we first heard it.
On hearing it in its entirety once more it struck me just how much I underestimated musical elements first time round. The gorgeous violin solo on Stones just adds to the fleeting nature of the album. I referenced before the sweeping strings that lifted Western Stars into the expansive beyond but I forgot just how stunning the yawning, dusk filled atmospherics of that lap steel guitar (or is it a pedal steel?!) was. It just adds to the sense of solitude of the song and the whole album. And there's also that glorious peak in Bruce's voice on There Goes My Miracle. His voice adds power to the strings and the strings return the favour. That song along with Sleepy Joe's Cafe really add a dash of extra colour and joy to the album.
It's great to see people attributing this album as a masterpiece. I wholeheartedly agree. There's always a reluctance (or perhaps a refusal) by fans and critics to grant masterpiece status to established institutions so late in their career. I'm not sure why. But there's no doubt in my mind that this is a masterpiece. It's my favourite album of the last 10 years. It is a spirited, heartfelt and tender piece of brilliance. And yet it is also shining in it's wisdom and gratitude for the years and decades that have settled into and been reflected by the music of the album.