Western Stars, Springteen’s 19th studio album, expected to split opinon among fans of the Boss.
Springsteen said of the album, “This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements. It’s a jewel box of a record.” A press release also notes, “The 13 tracks of Western Stars encompass a sweeping range of American themes, of highways and desert spaces, of isolation and community and the permanence of home and hope.” Furthermore, the release also says the album was inspired “in part from the Southern California pop records of the late ’60s and early ’70s,” and that it was recorded mostly in his New Jersey home, as well as in California and New York.
New album #WesternStars coming June 14. “This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements. It's a jewel box of a record." – Bruce pic.twitter.com/X00HQRWJoL
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) April 25, 2019
Bruce Springsteen has been trying out different things as he wends his way towards the twilight of his career.
His 2016 River tour broke with tradition by celebrating his past — he reprised the titular 1980 LP all the way through —rather than his present. (irishexaminer)
That was followed by a Broadway theatre residency where he looked back on his youth in New Jersey, pondering, in particular, his troubled relationship with his father.
But now comes perhaps the most striking departure yet: a shiny country rock album inspired by “the Southern California pop records of the late ’60s and early ’70s”.
At one level this is Springsteen returning to the mode of musical historian — the same guise he adopted for 2006’s folk revue We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.
The difference is that where that project was all grit and Appalachian angst, Western Stars gleams with the lacquered brightness of a Cadillac tail fin.
That isn’t at all a bad thing — but it is a step outside that familiar blue-jeans image and Springsteen diehards may have to acclimate to the full-force jauntiness and the lyrics sprinkled in Hollywood glimmer.
The first image appeared on Bruce Springsteen’s Twitter and Instagram account on Monday April 22nd at 10:03 AM. It appeared to be a Joshua Tree in the the middle of a bright desert. At 8:00 am the next morning another image of a desert tree appeared, though this one was slightly distorted. A third desert photo appeared at 8:06 am this morning, but this time it’s a long road with a horse on the side of it. There haven’t been captions attached to any of the images. (RollingStone.com)
There’s no solid information about what exactly is going on here, but Springsteen has said that he’s working on a new album. “That record is influenced by Southern California pop music of the ’70s,” he told Variety in December. “Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach, those kinds of records. I don’t know if people will hear those influences, but that was what I had in my mind. It gave me something to hook an album around; it gave me some inspiration to write.”
Adding to that, a source in Brian Hiatt’s new book Bruce Springsteen: The Stories Behind the Songs referred to the sound of the record as “Grand Canyon music.” Not much else is known about it, though in that same Variety interview he said that it was a “singer-songwriter record. “It’s connected to my solo records writing-wise, more Tunnel of Love and Devils and Dust, but it’s not like them at all,” he said. “Just different characters living their lives.”
Springsteen has kept a very low profile since Springsteen on Broadway wrapped up its 14-month run in December, but on April 13th he did play two songs with Danny Clinch’s Tangiers Blues Band at the Kristen Carr Fund gala benefit at New York’s Tribeca Grill.