zedmano

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars as reviewed by zedmano

July 10, 2019
Beautiful looking package the blue really stands out on the turntable
fantastic sound quality well engineered
JATPL

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars JATPL

June 29, 2019
Inner sleeves look like they have been run over in the factory. Why can't GZ get records into inner sleeves into and then into an outer sleeve without damaging them?
fgalvani

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars fgalvani

June 26, 2019
In my opinion this album is beautiful...there are many songs I would listen to every evening when the sun goes down or early in the morning...there is a great emotion into it if you can feel it..I personally loved orchestral arrangements..thanks Bruce for music and words...
Ps: for collectors...I got the special bag together with lp...very nice.
paoloblueskies

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars paoloblueskies

June 14, 2019
Is there a difference between the Bruce's store exclusive vinyl and the indie light blue one? I can't see the former listed here.. Are they the same color variant? Thanks!
SimonH1957

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars SimonH1957

July 10, 2019
The UK indie blue vinyl is a much lighter blue than the official Sprinsteen web store release. Both are pressed using the Chris Bellman cut, and the web store release has a US sleeve.
greeny400

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars greeny400

June 20, 2019
Just received my copy and it is the same colour as on the website, not like the one shown on the pictures on the release here.
Ross_il

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars Ross_il

June 18, 2019
Have you actually got your Webstore Exclusive?
I am still awaiting receipt and have had numerous email exchanges with them as it was preordered the day they went live. Disappointed not to have received on release day.
As far as pressings go, I have been advised there were 1,500 Webstore Exclusives pressed for UK. Compared to 7,000 Independent Retailer Exclusive.
mrjinks

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars mrjinks

June 17, 2019
Some - like me - got one blueish lp and one clear one from b&n. Take a look...
https://i.imgur.com/V1sVfj1_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&fidelity=medium
flowerfeeder

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars flowerfeeder

June 14, 2019
I’m guessing different. The Barnes & Noble exclusive that I just picked up is clear with “smoke” and not listed here yet either.
streetmouse

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars as reviewed by streetmouse

June 13, 2019

At first I thought Springsteen was laying down something akin to his classic Nebraska, but alas no, where aside from the numbers “Tucson Train,” “Western Stars” and “Sleepy Joe’s Cafe,” there was little that reminded me of the man who splinted my world back in the early 70’s.

To say that this is a new sound for Springsteen would be an understatement, nearly every song is laced with string arrangements to cover up his inability to develop a song and carry it through to fruition under his own steam. And yes, the critics are already lining up to phrase Western Stars, saying such things as “A album that evokes the enthusiasm and carefreeness of days gone by.” Of course that leaves me to wonder just which bygone days were being referred to. Others say that the record is, “Gorgeous, consistently absorbing, one of the most character driven albums of Springsteen’s career.” Well, that’s just not true. What is true is the the orchestral string arrangements lightly evoke the 60’s and 70’s sounds of Glen Campbell, Harry Nilsson, Burt Bacharach and of course Roy Orbison around the edges. That being said, as with those afore mentioned artists, this album doesn’t hang together well, Western Stars sounds for all the world like Bruce Springsteen had a great deal of trouble writing this, that he felt compelled to deliver an album and what he delivered is unclear, uncertain and uncharacteristic.

With the album’s title having revealing a double meaning of sorts, referring not only to celestial bodies, but also in the title track, to an actor of long lost western movies who’s grown older now and living to some extent in the past, where he attempts to make ends meet by appearing in commercials and enjoying the fact that people will buy him drinks simply because he was once killed by John Wayne in a B grade movie … in other words, he’s like the ex-high school baseball player of “Glory Days.”

This isn’t an anthem album, it’s not even a rock album, this is an album about Springsteen’s glory days, yet he doesn’t have the courage to say so, more content to move from rock to pseudo-country, partly telling his story through the guise of some imaginary characters that have no relevance to me or to Bruce’s life, when it would have been so much more glorious to make an actual honest album about himself growing older, where is journey feels less sure, his stance less certain and the fractured image of the once greatest man on the musical earth, challenged to write even a single good song with authentic emotional honesty. And that’s why this assemblage of songs hang together so granularly, devoid of any sense of cohesiveness, other that the orchestral maneuvers that float around in the ether to tie things together. Just listen, the sonic elements heard here are certainly beautiful in the direct manner of a highly polished rodeo belt-buckle, but they’re juxtaposed with the fine thread of an emotional sorrow that run though all of these ghost filled numbers, suggesting a tiredness beyond description.

This isn’t a cozy album, it’s designed to tug at your heart strings, probably one of the easiest and most disingenuous sort of songs one can write. Western Stars is all so pleasant, so stylish, all so grown up and so unremarkably filled with the refrain of pleading. Of course, the Mamas & Papas did this sort of thing on “California Dreamin’” and Brian Wilson laid it all out on “In My Room,” where those songs had you singing along, we remembered them, they were crystal in their vision and insight, but not here, I can’t remember even one number from this album and it has just finished playing.

Hey, I haven’t really enjoyed most of Springsteen’s later albums, where I’ve taken the songs I like the best, added them to an ever-growing collection and have a grouping of numbers that resonates best for me. It’s hard to hear this album, it’s equally hard to realize that Springsteen at nearly 70 still can’t bring about an authentic autobiographical song about the waining of his years, the coursing of his life, or able to look back on those years and aspirations and set them to musical verse.

Western Stars will never be a gem, you’ll play it once, then play it again to make sure you heard it right the first time, then never play it again. And you know, if my words don’t ring true for you, then I’m sincerely happy for you man, ‘cause you’ve got something to cling to, while I’m left dancing in the dark.

*** At the Springsteen store you can cop the vinyl, a double disc set pressed to 180 gram blue wax.

Review by Jenell Kesler
victoryvision2

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars victoryvision2

May 22, 2020
I appreciate the time and emotion that you invested in your review, however, Bruce is at a different point in his life. He isn't racing and protesting anymore. Bruce is now reflecting and preparing. Solid and different offering.
Tioman

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars Tioman

July 10, 2019
Review not helpfull. This is an amazing album, great songs and well produced. This shows how great he really is. This is why Im Bruce Springsteen fan since 1979....
streetmouse

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars streetmouse

June 17, 2019
edited about 1 year ago

Well gosh ... I'm sure sorry my review wasn't helpful, yet it wasn't awful either, it was exact, I suggested reasons for my thoughts and considered the overall character of Bruces's music. Sure, I'll agree with you, a good singer will always find a new way to sing his stories, yet this good singer hasn't found a profound way of expressing those stories here. So, rather than pointing an accusatory finger in my direction, why don't you lay out 800 words on why this is such a fine album. You haven't listed it in your collection. I'm entirely happy that you dig the new Bruce regardless.
dardoxmusicstore

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars dardoxmusicstore

June 17, 2019
your review is not helpful. It´s just awful. A good singer will always find new ways to sing his stories.