The timeless Boss

With "Western Stars", Bruce Springsteen releases his most melancholic album yet; a tribute to 70s pop country that's miles away from his trademark rock'n' roll...

By Marc Zisman | Video of the Day | June 27, 2019

A few months before his 70th birthday, the Boss has released an album that’s totally out of step with his usual sound. Bye-bye to the E Street Band, his loyal backing band that gets entire stadiums up and dancing, and hello strings, brass and choirs!

With Western Stars, Bruce Springsteen transforms himself into a kind of third millennium Glen Campbell. In fact, the singer who died in 2017 often comes to mind; building bridges between pop, country and soul with a voice as iconic as that of Sinatra or Elvis, Campbell topped the charts with hits like Gentle on My Mind, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, Galveston, Rhinestone Cowboy. Much like his deceased elder, Springsteen detaches himself from the present and comes across as innocent and nonchalant rather than resistant or distrustful.

In addition to a kitsch atmosphere that harkens back to California of the late sixties/early seventies (the Boss has clearly been playing Jimmy Webb, Harry Nilsson and Burt Bacharach on loop), we find an almost cinematic feel thanks to Ron Aniello's silky production. He’s not new to the job, having already worked with Springsteen on Wrecking Ball (2012) and High Hopes (2014).

Here, Springsteen moves away from pure rock’n’roll and drenches his songs in melancholy. Western Stars is not just a compilation of thirteen tracks. It feels more like a novel or a film - one that you could watch over and over again and still find something new every time.


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