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NEW ALBUM: Western Stars - June 14


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3 hours ago, TheBoss said:

This album has really grown on me. At first I thought it was really good, like his best since Tunnel of Love. Now, I think it's his best since the 70's. I think of the album as the "old man's Born to run", what became of those young guys that jumped in their cars to get out of that "town full of losers"? Great, great, really great stuff.

an old man's born to run

i love that

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56 minutes ago, MacBruce said:

So do I.

I think it's a good and accurate way to describe Western Stars. Bruce's albums have basically reflected his life story, and despite the obvious (that he is American and therefore there is lots of Americana in his songs), the theme and feelings of his songs have always been about the human condition through all stages of life and are therefore universal...hence his huge popularity worldwide especially in Europe. Western Stars may be his last album, but hopefully we do get another one with the ESB as he promised, but if WS was to be his last one, what a perfect epitaph to his career. What a life, and what and incredible body of work he has left for all of us to enjoy forever.

Hear Hear

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56 minutes ago, Eileen said:

 

@Born To Walk - was Manchester my last concert - was it before or after Sunderland? Couldn't work it out even though I did look.

Yes, Manchester was the day after Sunderland.

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23 minutes ago, Philsmith87 said:

Hi folks. Never written on this site before. This is my first effort. Let me know what you think.

 

 

 

I enjoyed that.

If you made a second post, I would read that for sure.

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2 hours ago, Philsmith87 said:

Hi folks. Never written on this site before. This is my first effort. Let me know what you think.

Living with songs for a good few years comes easily to Bruce. An interview with Bruce back in 2016 revealed that Western Stars was written and would likely be the next album. So, it would be reasonable to assume that most if not all of these songs have been in existence for at least four or maybe more years.

 

Bruce certainly likes to live with his songs before they see the light of day (or not). You don’t have to look too far in to the back catalogue to realise that several tracks from the Seeger Sessions had been around for nigh on 10 years, same with Devils and Dust (from the Ghost of Tom Joad and after sessions). Let’s not even venture back into the 1990s and previous decades where Tracks and other recent releases shows the wealth of material that has been waiting on shelves ready for release.

 

And so, it is Wester Stars finally gets to be released after such a long period of gestation. In many ways ot carries many of the themes found in previous albums such as Born to Run vs Darkness (escapism vs what happens when you stop running) and facing the realities and cruelties of love (Tunnel of Love).

 

However, it is as different as it is familiar.  Yes, the themes recur (more of which later) but the sound is different. It seems that with hindsight some of the material from Magic/Working on A Dream (and the sounds that were developed for those albums find their way, on to this one. Albeit in a more advanced and refined manner.

 

Also, THAT voice. There have been many attempts (some more successful than others) to use the higher upper registers of his voice. Think of the beauty in live versions of Across the Border/The River/and the delicateness in Springsteen on Broadway…compared to the slightly less successful All I’m thinking About and Lift Me Up. Here, perhaps with age as well as finding the place and the songs, the voice appears to be an instrument in and of itself.

 

First three songs: theme of travel and searching for redemption but not sure where to find it.

 

Hitch Hikin’

 

As with many Springsteen albums (probably all apart from High Hopes) the first song tends to frame many that follow. Think of Thunder Road/The Ghost Of Tom Joad/Badlands and Darkness.

 

And so, it is with Hitch Hikin

 

Tells the tale of movement and travel away or to somewhere in a carefree unplanned manner (following the weather and the wind). Born to run? Is this the tale of what it feels like to not live somewhere you feel rooted (links to Long Way Home)?

 

Interestingly family man giving a pregnant partner a ride is a ‘gift’ says the observer. Yet such ‘blessings’ are not for this character. Next verse again highlights he dashboard with a pretty girl (or woman?) and the constant search for something but what we are not exactly sure and nor is the character. Fascination with speed and travel run through this song and the methodical and steady rhythm track play out.

 

 

 

The Wayfarer

 

This theme of travel continues with the next track. Such good sequencing. The wandered continue to sleep from town to town…looking for a place to call home. Dreams of being part of a couple (bungalow) but the blues that eventually fall leaves ‘hearts of stone’. The comforts of life are wide and varied but not for this character who can’t even dream of such simple pleasures.

 

The refrain ‘where are you now?’ aches with sadness as the character may be referring to a person, a life a sense of belonging and that place to call home. The search is endless and lacks fulfilment.

 

Tucson Train

 

The form of travel switches but travel nevertheless (car/truck to train). This time wondering whether joy and peace will arrive after such fruitless searching. Fresco brought little comfort and led to further travel. But the love that was in vain may yet see redemption.

 

Looking for a new life sums up the first three songs well. The baby’s coming on the Tucson Train (wish/fact/dream) waiting for hope while working as a crane operative. Waiting at the station, praying for hope and redemption that people can change. But will she arrive, and will he be able to change. This we are left to ponder as the sound of train tracks closes the song.

 

In summary we have a character (or set of characters) looking for contentment in life. However, this is far from easy or straightforward. Those things that we once thought were the answers to our happiness turn out to be false and the search continues. Ask someone towards the closing years of their life looking back…as is the case with track 4…Western Stars.

 

 

 

Western Stars

 

Here we have a character who is simply glad not to be dead and laying beneath the sod. A film character needing something raw to bring himself back to life an that blue pill that will rejuvenate the youth now lost.

 

Cowboys form the metaphor that runs through this song. Wildness surrounds him with wild animals and lost sheep. Memories of long ago but of what...credit cards. Life is about nothing new or fresh just more of the same…again.

 

Western stars…memories of days long gone/western stars from the days of Hollywood Movies and the wild west or western starts that give guidance (like the North Star/western America Grapes of Wrath and search for a new life on the west coast) to provide direction and a way forward. Works on several possible levels. That search applies to Mexican immigrant (Tom Joad style)

Yet the only thing this character has to drawn upon is being in a film with John Wayne. Cowboys/people all riding in life’s whirlwind. A song of fading so-called glories if they indeed can be called that. As the character concludes, just glad to be alive or rather not yet dead.

 

 

Sleep Joe’s Cafe

 

A small respite from the theme so far. Some lightness much needed. After the working week time to relax and see those girls flirting…as the week slips away. Before the weekly grind begins again on the Monday.

 

 

The Stuntman

 

Whatever gets you through the night and whatever gets you through the day…moving with pins and steel rods included.

 

Climbing trees (autobiographical) of feeling free from fear. How those memories don’t go (keep you in my heart) and keep going on through life. Again, a good sequence between sleep Joe’s Café and this.

Life’s about now, not the past or the future but living for what we have, all we have which is the here and now.

 

Another/same character on movie film sets…but mentions of Baja again placing this and our Western Stars character in California area.

 

Chasing Wild Horses

 

Theme/melody from Magic 2007? Chasing wild horses, doing things that are dangerous but nevertheless doing it but with regret.

 

Leaving again home/friends. BLM and choppers very much in the theme of The Line/Sinaloa Cowboys and the Tom Joad vibe.

 

The aching loneliness of shouting the name only to find the echoes throw it back. Wonderful. Something but more likely someone that’s been left behind. Have we been, over the last several songs searching for that person, finding someone new like that person or simply fleeing from those memories and losing our selves amongst the shadows of darkening memories.

 

Sundown

 

Almost imperceptibly it proves hard to know when the previous track ends and this begins. Beautiful sequencing and thematic development once again.

Theme once again being a long way from where I want to be.

 

Clearly the respite (at Sleep Joe’s Café) is long over and that endless search continues through these last three songs. However, those café’s now see our character as the lonely observer beyond and outside these communities.

 

This character is on the verge of falling into the sea of his deepest fears (but only that little voice in his head) keeps him from sinking down, especially as the day fades and the sun falls from the sky.

 

Somewhere North of Nashville

 

And as the sundown falls, our character makes lists in the mind of things he failed to achieve. Only a melody and time to kill, reminds me of the character in Western Stars (no more just again).

 

 

Stones


Next day…aware of deceit and lack of trust in another. These are only the lies you’ve told me (but what about those you haven’t)?

 

And as for those crows in the fields it is usually believed that the crow is a symbol of bad luck and death, but it is not always the case. As we have already said, a crow may be a symbol of life magic and mysteries.

 

So, after the mourning and the loss, do we move to the anger and despair of mistrust in a lost loved one? Interestingly it is worth knowing that in the Bible stones are the symbolism of stones centres on ideas of endurance, stability, and permanence. They represent the ability to be grounded and connected with the earth.

 

There goes my miracle

 

The search continues for love, but as has been the case throughout the album, this manages to evade and avoid capture. Even the lucky (Western) star cannot be found. The sudden realisation that time is everyone’s enemy.

 

The look what you/we have done reminds me of the way Dylan sang Idiot Wind (you’re an idiot babe vs we’re idiots babe). And in both cases the book of love has seen its rules broken. The miraculous chance of love fades behind the auburn skies.

 

 

 

Hello Sunshine

 

Some form of summation of the journey that we’ve been on. The naive view that sunshine (like happiness) can be permanent. Walking too far away from things that may resemble or symbolise home and a place of belonging. Again, these deep themes appear again as they have in so much of Springsteen’s work down the years…you fall in love with lonely you end up that way.

 

This song clearly works on a number of levels (like much of Springsteen’s work and that of many great artists) ranging from the need to feel like you belong/the battle against depression and the ways our mind views the world around us.

 

Moonlight Motel

 

From the first verse, this could be a place of promise (where lovers may be found) in what appears a blank and deserted place. Alas, that doesn’t appear to be the reality. The place appears abandoned and is full of various ghosts from a past long gone.

 

As Springsteen said, we are either haunted by ghosts or ancestors. But it’s better to have loved…with only the memories and ghosts of love left to recall.

 

The place to revisit (a form of painful recollection rather than nostalgia)…where we toast/fade into the ether of our memories of a pst that can no longer be brought back.

 

 

 

 

Welcome this this crazy wonderful place, I would also read your 2nd post.

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2 hours ago, Philsmith87 said:

Hi folks. Never written on this site before. This is my first effort. Let me know what you think.

Living with songs for a good few years comes easily to Bruce. An interview with Bruce back in 2016 revealed that Western Stars was written and would likely be the next album. So, it would be reasonable to assume that most if not all of these songs have been in existence for at least four or maybe more years.

 

Bruce certainly likes to live with his songs before they see the light of day (or not). You don’t have to look too far in to the back catalogue to realise that several tracks from the Seeger Sessions had been around for nigh on 10 years, same with Devils and Dust (from the Ghost of Tom Joad and after sessions). Let’s not even venture back into the 1990s and previous decades where Tracks and other recent releases shows the wealth of material that has been waiting on shelves ready for release.

 

And so, it is Wester Stars finally gets to be released after such a long period of gestation. In many ways ot carries many of the themes found in previous albums such as Born to Run vs Darkness (escapism vs what happens when you stop running) and facing the realities and cruelties of love (Tunnel of Love).

 

However, it is as different as it is familiar.  Yes, the themes recur (more of which later) but the sound is different. It seems that with hindsight some of the material from Magic/Working on A Dream (and the sounds that were developed for those albums find their way, on to this one. Albeit in a more advanced and refined manner.

 

Also, THAT voice. There have been many attempts (some more successful than others) to use the higher upper registers of his voice. Think of the beauty in live versions of Across the Border/The River/and the delicateness in Springsteen on Broadway…compared to the slightly less successful All I’m thinking About and Lift Me Up. Here, perhaps with age as well as finding the place and the songs, the voice appears to be an instrument in and of itself.

 

First three songs: theme of travel and searching for redemption but not sure where to find it.

 

Hitch Hikin’

 

As with many Springsteen albums (probably all apart from High Hopes) the first song tends to frame many that follow. Think of Thunder Road/The Ghost Of Tom Joad/Badlands and Darkness.

 

And so, it is with Hitch Hikin

 

Tells the tale of movement and travel away or to somewhere in a carefree unplanned manner (following the weather and the wind). Born to run? Is this the tale of what it feels like to not live somewhere you feel rooted (links to Long Way Home)?

 

Interestingly family man giving a pregnant partner a ride is a ‘gift’ says the observer. Yet such ‘blessings’ are not for this character. Next verse again highlights he dashboard with a pretty girl (or woman?) and the constant search for something but what we are not exactly sure and nor is the character. Fascination with speed and travel run through this song and the methodical and steady rhythm track play out.

 

 

 

The Wayfarer

 

This theme of travel continues with the next track. Such good sequencing. The wandered continue to sleep from town to town…looking for a place to call home. Dreams of being part of a couple (bungalow) but the blues that eventually fall leaves ‘hearts of stone’. The comforts of life are wide and varied but not for this character who can’t even dream of such simple pleasures.

 

The refrain ‘where are you now?’ aches with sadness as the character may be referring to a person, a life a sense of belonging and that place to call home. The search is endless and lacks fulfilment.

 

Tucson Train

 

The form of travel switches but travel nevertheless (car/truck to train). This time wondering whether joy and peace will arrive after such fruitless searching. Fresco brought little comfort and led to further travel. But the love that was in vain may yet see redemption.

 

Looking for a new life sums up the first three songs well. The baby’s coming on the Tucson Train (wish/fact/dream) waiting for hope while working as a crane operative. Waiting at the station, praying for hope and redemption that people can change. But will she arrive, and will he be able to change. This we are left to ponder as the sound of train tracks closes the song.

 

In summary we have a character (or set of characters) looking for contentment in life. However, this is far from easy or straightforward. Those things that we once thought were the answers to our happiness turn out to be false and the search continues. Ask someone towards the closing years of their life looking back…as is the case with track 4…Western Stars.

 

 

 

Western Stars

 

Here we have a character who is simply glad not to be dead and laying beneath the sod. A film character needing something raw to bring himself back to life an that blue pill that will rejuvenate the youth now lost.

 

Cowboys form the metaphor that runs through this song. Wildness surrounds him with wild animals and lost sheep. Memories of long ago but of what...credit cards. Life is about nothing new or fresh just more of the same…again.

 

Western stars…memories of days long gone/western stars from the days of Hollywood Movies and the wild west or western starts that give guidance (like the North Star/western America Grapes of Wrath and search for a new life on the west coast) to provide direction and a way forward. Works on several possible levels. That search applies to Mexican immigrant (Tom Joad style)

Yet the only thing this character has to drawn upon is being in a film with John Wayne. Cowboys/people all riding in life’s whirlwind. A song of fading so-called glories if they indeed can be called that. As the character concludes, just glad to be alive or rather not yet dead.

 

 

Sleep Joe’s Cafe

 

A small respite from the theme so far. Some lightness much needed. After the working week time to relax and see those girls flirting…as the week slips away. Before the weekly grind begins again on the Monday.

 

 

The Stuntman

 

Whatever gets you through the night and whatever gets you through the day…moving with pins and steel rods included.

 

Climbing trees (autobiographical) of feeling free from fear. How those memories don’t go (keep you in my heart) and keep going on through life. Again, a good sequence between sleep Joe’s Café and this.

Life’s about now, not the past or the future but living for what we have, all we have which is the here and now.

 

Another/same character on movie film sets…but mentions of Baja again placing this and our Western Stars character in California area.

 

Chasing Wild Horses

 

Theme/melody from Magic 2007? Chasing wild horses, doing things that are dangerous but nevertheless doing it but with regret.

 

Leaving again home/friends. BLM and choppers very much in the theme of The Line/Sinaloa Cowboys and the Tom Joad vibe.

 

The aching loneliness of shouting the name only to find the echoes throw it back. Wonderful. Something but more likely someone that’s been left behind. Have we been, over the last several songs searching for that person, finding someone new like that person or simply fleeing from those memories and losing our selves amongst the shadows of darkening memories.

 

Sundown

 

Almost imperceptibly it proves hard to know when the previous track ends and this begins. Beautiful sequencing and thematic development once again.

Theme once again being a long way from where I want to be.

 

Clearly the respite (at Sleep Joe’s Café) is long over and that endless search continues through these last three songs. However, those café’s now see our character as the lonely observer beyond and outside these communities.

 

This character is on the verge of falling into the sea of his deepest fears (but only that little voice in his head) keeps him from sinking down, especially as the day fades and the sun falls from the sky.

 

Somewhere North of Nashville

 

And as the sundown falls, our character makes lists in the mind of things he failed to achieve. Only a melody and time to kill, reminds me of the character in Western Stars (no more just again).

 

 

Stones


Next day…aware of deceit and lack of trust in another. These are only the lies you’ve told me (but what about those you haven’t)?

 

And as for those crows in the fields it is usually believed that the crow is a symbol of bad luck and death, but it is not always the case. As we have already said, a crow may be a symbol of life magic and mysteries.

 

So, after the mourning and the loss, do we move to the anger and despair of mistrust in a lost loved one? Interestingly it is worth knowing that in the Bible stones are the symbolism of stones centres on ideas of endurance, stability, and permanence. They represent the ability to be grounded and connected with the earth.

 

There goes my miracle

 

The search continues for love, but as has been the case throughout the album, this manages to evade and avoid capture. Even the lucky (Western) star cannot be found. The sudden realisation that time is everyone’s enemy.

 

The look what you/we have done reminds me of the way Dylan sang Idiot Wind (you’re an idiot babe vs we’re idiots babe). And in both cases the book of love has seen its rules broken. The miraculous chance of love fades behind the auburn skies.

 

 

 

Hello Sunshine

 

Some form of summation of the journey that we’ve been on. The naive view that sunshine (like happiness) can be permanent. Walking too far away from things that may resemble or symbolise home and a place of belonging. Again, these deep themes appear again as they have in so much of Springsteen’s work down the years…you fall in love with lonely you end up that way.

 

This song clearly works on a number of levels (like much of Springsteen’s work and that of many great artists) ranging from the need to feel like you belong/the battle against depression and the ways our mind views the world around us.

 

Moonlight Motel

 

From the first verse, this could be a place of promise (where lovers may be found) in what appears a blank and deserted place. Alas, that doesn’t appear to be the reality. The place appears abandoned and is full of various ghosts from a past long gone.

 

As Springsteen said, we are either haunted by ghosts or ancestors. But it’s better to have loved…with only the memories and ghosts of love left to recall.

 

The place to revisit (a form of painful recollection rather than nostalgia)…where we toast/fade into the ether of our memories of a pst that can no longer be brought back.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the 'hood. Look forward to more from you mate.

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10 hours ago, Born To Walk said:

Yes, Manchester was the day after Sunderland.

In that case, as I think I've said before but going with what MacBruce said … if that was my last Bruce concert (and it probably was) then I'm happy to have bowed out with such a magnificent one.

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11 hours ago, dr winston oboogie said:

Auntie no wonder you cannot remember Manchester...the W & O got big licks from you that day and there was quite a sway on..;):ph34r:

Oh, I remember Manchester alright - it's where it was on the calendar that bamboozled me.

I thought I had a bit of a sway on years back … was it before the Seeger Sessions Band?  Not a sway to be seen at the later Manchester concert. :)

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13 hours ago, MacBruce said:

So do I.

I think it's a good and accurate way to describe Western Stars. Bruce's albums have basically reflected his life story, and despite the obvious (that he is American and therefore there is lots of Americana in his songs), the theme and feelings of his songs have always been about the human condition through all stages of life and are therefore universal...hence his huge popularity worldwide especially in Europe. Western Stars may be his last album, but hopefully we do get another one with the ESB as he promised, but if WS was to be his last one, what a perfect epitaph to his career. What a life, and what and incredible body of work he has left for all of us to enjoy forever.

Nailed. 

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11 hours ago, Philsmith87 said:

 

 

Hello Sunshine

 

Some form of summation of the journey that we’ve been on. The naive view that sunshine (like happiness) can be permanent. Walking too far away from things that may resemble or symbolise home and a place of belonging. Again, these deep themes appear again as they have in so much of Springsteen’s work down the years…you fall in love with lonely you end up that way.

 

This song clearly works on a number of levels (like much of Springsteen’s work and that of many great artists) ranging from the need to feel like you belong/the battle against depression and the ways our mind views the world around us.

 

Moonlight Motel

 

From the first verse, this could be a place of promise (where lovers may be found) in what appears a blank and deserted place. Alas, that doesn’t appear to be the reality. The place appears abandoned and is full of various ghosts from a past long gone.

 

As Springsteen said, we are either haunted by ghosts or ancestors. But it’s better to have loved…with only the memories and ghosts of love left to recall.

 

The place to revisit (a form of painful recollection rather than nostalgia)…where we toast/fade into the ether of our memories of a pst that can no longer be brought back.

 

 

 

 

Love your whole take but your description of these two songs - perfection.  

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I just listened to it again for the eight time (six full time) after OD'ing on it and found myself still liking about half of it or so;

the first four songs and the last three are the best to me.

I finally got the greatness of the extremely sad Moonlight Motel.

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I wasn’t blown away upon an first listen but the album is a real grower. Is anyone else’s favorite song Moonlight Motel? She was boarded up and gone like and old summer song is my favorite lyric.

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27 minutes ago, Declansk said:

I wasn’t blown away upon an first listen but the album is a real grower. Is anyone else’s favorite song Moonlight Motel? She was boarded up and gone like and old summer song is my favorite lyric.

MM is the best song on the record, and his best songwriting since... well... a long time ago.

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Just thinking. He writes the script to my life.

This week I have been in staff training and the lyric going round my head “Hell these days there ain’t no more, now there’s just again”.

Just the same stuff again, but at least Bruce understands:D

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