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Boss bares scars in deeply personal album

Staying In

WISTFUL JOURNEY Western Stars sees Bruce Springsteen in contemplative mood.

Paul O’Brien

Western Stars is Springsteen’s wild and wistful journey through the landscape of his life. Set against the sweepscape of his New Jersey ranch and performed in his 100-year-old barn, it’s a journey of loss, love, regret, pain, faith and hope.
Springsteen calls on some of the trademark metaphors he has used through his five-decade-spanning career and touches us, again, with the depth of his lyrical genius. Cars, the road, small towns, bars, beers and cowboys all evoke a character who has chanced to live, love and lose but whose faith in the beauty and power of love and belonging are his ultimate redemptors.
I can never listen to Springsteen without feeling he is speaking of something deeply personal to me...and to all of us. The Boss is in contemplative mood here and the music bares the scars of someone who has chosen to face what’s broken in him, with faith that redemption is by this path.
The orchestral backing embellishes the experience, and, amid the rustic rafters of the barn, both sucks you in and lifts you up. The songs from the album will tell you their own story and Springsteen will speak to you as he always has, so I’ll leave that to your own interpretation.
Listening to Western Stars, I started wishing I was sitting in that barn and was left feeling I had been....