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Released a year ago today and I still love it. Best since the 1980s, at least for me.

I adore WS for various reasons, I was obsessed with it for months after it was released, and I still listen to the album very regularly. It's a therapeutic record, the strings and orchestrations are m

That’s exactly how a great Bruce album is supposed to be: artistically different, but Springsteen to the core. A masterpiece, IMHO. 

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"The definition of what freedom is alters as you grow older. And so the film is sort of about the way that that word changes as time passes by. But it's also about the price you pay if you don't grow or change as that time passes by. If you don't lay down your old baggage and sort through it and see where you've made your mistakes. … The film is fundamentally about a transition that everyone has to make. And it's about how you make that transition. The price you pay if you don't make it. The rewards you get, if when you do. And that's what the film became about as we worked on it."

 

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From Backstreets News Archive May - May 2019

I am a longtime Backstreets reader, and I wanted to share this Rolling Stone article — about about the rise of suicide, specifically among white men in the western U.S. — because I think it's incredibly well written, and as I read it I really could not help but think of one of Bruce's new songs. Ample warning: sorry in advance for the morbidness of the contents of the article.

The story talks about the great number of men who feel isolated, work intense jobs, and deal with a turbulent family life, who have no access to mental health facilities and are surrounded by guns. It's an astonishing look at a particular group of people and a lifestyle that many of us can't fathom. 

As I was reading about these people struggling to find ways to overcome their depression, I couldn't help but think of Bruce's new song, "Hello Sunshine." Sure enough, the article specifically mentions a man in Wyoming who finds solace in that particular song and relates it to his life. 

For such a heart-wrenching article, it is encouraging to see that people from all walks of life dealing with the same things across the country can find similar meaning in some of Bruce's songs. I know Rolling Stone has published plenty of articles and notes on Bruce in recent days, but I wanted to make sure you saw this one — the Bruce mention is a quick sentence in an otherwise very long article, but it's all certainly worth a read. 
Evan Higgs

 

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2 hours ago, el sergio said:

From Backstreets News Archive May - May 2019

I am a longtime Backstreets reader, and I wanted to share this Rolling Stone article — about about the rise of suicide, specifically among white men in the western U.S. — because I think it's incredibly well written, and as I read it I really could not help but think of one of Bruce's new songs. Ample warning: sorry in advance for the morbidness of the contents of the article.

The story talks about the great number of men who feel isolated, work intense jobs, and deal with a turbulent family life, who have no access to mental health facilities and are surrounded by guns. It's an astonishing look at a particular group of people and a lifestyle that many of us can't fathom. 

As I was reading about these people struggling to find ways to overcome their depression, I couldn't help but think of Bruce's new song, "Hello Sunshine." Sure enough, the article specifically mentions a man in Wyoming who finds solace in that particular song and relates it to his life. 

For such a heart-wrenching article, it is encouraging to see that people from all walks of life dealing with the same things across the country can find similar meaning in some of Bruce's songs. I know Rolling Stone has published plenty of articles and notes on Bruce in recent days, but I wanted to make sure you saw this one — the Bruce mention is a quick sentence in an otherwise very long article, but it's all certainly worth a read. 
Evan Higgs

 

that deserves its own thread 

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The more time passes, the better the album sounds. To me, it has now acquired complete independence to the rest of Bruce catalogue, or to his rock n' roll persona. And still, it's 100% Springsteen. It could stand alone, as a work for a different musician, and still be considered a masterpiece.

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5 minutes ago, Frank said:

The more time passes, the better the album sounds. To me, it has now acquired complete independence to the rest of Bruce catalogue, or to his rock n' roll persona. And still, it's 100% Springsteen. It could stand alone, as a work for a different musician, and still be considered a masterpiece.

Completely agree.

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35 minutes ago, stillilllife said:

The chorus of Western stars is so anticlimactic to me...The first half is beautiful and then the second part comes in and that chord sequence makes it so boring.

Oooooo I most vehemently disagree on this- WS is simply majestic  :D

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7 minutes ago, stillilllife said:

Both of those are too jazzy for my taste, and especially Iceman. Kinda the same thing with Meeting across the river and Kitty's back. I like the atmosphere in them, but the Melodies don't move me compared to how for example the melodies in The River and My hometown move me.

For me Kitty is about the music first and formost - im not into Jazz one little bit - its elevator music - and i did not take to Kitty right away also thinking it was a bit jazzy ...but then i saw Max's big band (with no vocals) do it and i understood the allure of the musical feline

I was overjoyed when the ESB played it at the R&RHoF inductiom - it really showcases the band  

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On 8/24/2020 at 3:17 PM, el sergio said:

"The definition of what freedom is alters as you grow older. And so the film is sort of about the way that that word changes as time passes by. But it's also about the price you pay if you don't grow or change as that time passes by. If you don't lay down your old baggage and sort through it and see where you've made your mistakes. … The film is fundamentally about a transition that everyone has to make. And it's about how you make that transition. The price you pay if you don't make it. The rewards you get, if when you do. And that's what the film became about as we worked on it."

 

Bruce spends a lot of time talking about laying down his old baggage and sorting through it, in some form or another. He seems to spend an awful lot of time doing that. But at some point it’s good to leave those old bags and things in them strewn across the floor, pick up some new bags and take them on a trip. If you’re always looking behind you miss the beauty of what’s lying in front of you.

I think part of it is an age thing. The road behind you is much longer than the road in front of you. But the road in front of you, though short, still holds the promise that the road behind you can’t have. 

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In line with Springsteen’s storied discography, Western Stars is thematically rich. At the start of the album, Springsteen’s casts himself as characters based all over the country—from Hollywood to Montana, Nashville and Tucson. His characters are all just as alive as Wild Billy and Mary were on their respective songs. This time, they’re all him and all in first person. Springsteen has lived many lives throughout his career, and they all seem to find some kind of resolution by the time the tearjerker “Moonlight Motel.”

“I pulled a bottle of Jack out of a paper bag/ Poured one for me and one for you as well/ Then it was one more shot poured out onto the parking lot/ To the Moonlight Motel,” he sings. As he pays tribute to the haven his road-weary characters have searched for, the song’s vast heartland bliss draws the album to a close.

If Western Stars were Springsteen’s last album, it’d be a perfect note to end on. In a sense, it ignores the constraints he’s railed against on past albums. Springsteen’s fire hasn’t gone out, but on this album, he’s more interested in expressing the solemn joy and the beatific heartbreak he’s felt in the quiet moments between shows, albums, relationships and towns. The album is like a sunset over the desert, traversing the road that connects the dots of his life—he’s still “Hitch Hikin’” along.

Josh Rosen, riffmagazine.com
https://riffmagazine.com/album-reviews/bruce-springsteen-western-stars/

 

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