After a couple days of teasing the news on Twitter with prismic photos of Western landscapes, Bruce Springsteen has announced his 19th studio album will be called Western Stars, and it comes out June 14th on Columbia Records.
On one level, it appears The Boss is hopping on the super-prevalent cowboy trend in pop culture that runs from Kacey Musgraves to Lil Nas X to Orville Peck and Chris Stapleton; that title, the photo of a galloping stallion on the cover (see below), song titles like “Tuscon Train” and “Chasin’ Wild Horses.” Then again, wasn’t Bruce doing Americana like 40 years ago? So maybe it’s just the trends coming back around to him.
The lead single, “Hello Sunshine,” is indeed country-inspired in the classic sense; the earthy tones and stately arrangements of George Jones, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, and even a touch of Roy Orbison’s pop torch songs. Its brisk marching snare beat and emotive pedal steel playing are met with an elegant string section kicking in after the first chorus, and paired with visuals of a classic car’s tailfin as the road unfolds behind it, it seems to be about the aimlessness of that long dusty highway called life. As Springsteen sings, “No place to be and miles to go, but miles to go is miles away.”
As Pitchfork reports, Springsteen calls the album “a jewel box of a record” that was co-produced with Ron Aniello and features contributions from Jon Brion, and Patti Scialfa, among others. “This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character-driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements,” says The Boss.
Check out the album art and track list below.
Sleepy Joe’s Café
Drive Fast (The Stuntman)
Chasin’ Wild Horses
Somewhere North of Nashville
There Goes My Miracle
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