Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars
Critic Score
Based on 25 reviews
2019 Ratings: #26 / 423
User Score
Based on 154 ratings
2019 Ratings: #336
June 14, 2019 / Release Date
LP / Format
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
The Independent
Where most rock superstars sink into trad tedium by 69, Springsteen is still crafting sophisticated paeans of depth and illumination, a rock grandmaster worthy of the accolade. A must-have for anyone who has a heart.
100
The Telegraph

With its tension between escapism and responsibility, Western Stars is an album about reaching the end of the road, and what you might find there.

100
musicOMH

Western Stars is, annoyingly, another fantastic album to add to your rotation. But then it is a Bruce Springsteen album. Of course it’s superb.

91
Consequence of Sound

Despite the lower volume, Bruce Springsteen sounds positively invigorated on Western Stars. With a new sonic palette and renewed focus on the LP as a means of writing short stories, it’s easily his best album of new material since 2007’s Magic.

91
Entertainment Weekly

Placing intricately detailed portraiture on massive musical backdrops has been a Springsteen trademark for years, of course, and Western Stars continues this legacy, transforming the enormous into the intimate. That’s the sort of magic Springsteen specializes in conjuring — and he clearly has little interest in slowing down his ride.

90
God Is in the TV

Western Stars is simply a staggering record. One that few of us could have anticipated Springsteen was capable of, this late in his career. If I was a musician starting out now, and heard this album, I think I’d just hang my guitar up in defeat.

80
Rolling Stone

Western Stars shows Springsteen pulling back the curtain on his craft in much the same way Springsteen on Broadway did. In fact, in its elliptical narratives, it might have the makings of a good musical itself.

80
PopMatters

Similarly, with so much to unpack, Western Stars grows more satisfying with repeated exposure. Deeply moving, inventive and even a bit risky, Western Stars will take its place among Springsteen's solo gems.

80
The Guardian

It adds up to an album that manages to be both unexpected and of a piece with its author’s back catalogue. Normal service may well be resumed in due course, but Western Stars is powerful enough to make you wish Bruce Springsteen would take more stylistic detours in the future.

80
American Songwriter

Western Stars is erratic in the first half, as Springsteen’s need for exposition sometimes grinds uneasily against the sweep of the music. But the second half is a profound pleasure.

80
Clash

‘Western Stars’ is an understated triumph, righting the wrongs of his last few releases and more than emphasises the fact that Springsteen is still brilliant enough to be invested in.

80
NME

Majestic in its scale, but traditional in its subject matter and narratives, ‘Western Stars’ is a wonderful thing.

80
AllMusic

Western Stars contains none of that rabble rousing. Springsteen plays and writes with a gentle touch on this 2019 album, his empathy evident in his series of story songs and character portraits and in his embrace of another aspect of AM radio that he previously avoided: orchestrated arrangements so rich and enveloping they can sound softly trippy.

80
Under The Radar

Rest assured, Springsteen sounds confident and comfortable on Western Stars. His 1984 self that hoped to make different kinds of records would be proud, maybe even surprised.

80
The Observer

Springsteen’s first album in five years delivers a sound like little else in his extensive catalogue, brimming with lush strings and French horns.

80
No Ripcord

In Western Stars, the old adage about finding meaning through the journey couldn't feel truer. And that's an idea that Springsteen can relate to—leaving a little bit of yourself in a landscape that feels immortal.

78
Paste

Springsteen’s latest entry in such a storied catalog more than holds its own.

78
Pitchfork

Bruce Springsteen returns with elegiac and wise songwriting conjuring the golden expanse of the American West; it’s his best studio album in years.

75
The Line of Best Fit

Western Stars is simply a classy record from a man growing increasingly comfortable with his status as an elder statesman of classic rock. And I absolutely cannot wait to listen to it in a car.

75
The 405

A lot of heart has gone into Western Stars, and so has a lot of effort. For someone like Springsteen, who has every reason to just kick back as the royalty checks fly in, to keep pushing on like this is quite admirable.

70
FLOOD Magazine

With a vocal sound richer and warmer—even friendlier—than it has been in the past, it appears as if the sun and the Western stars have indeed done Bruce some good.

70
Exclaim!

The arrangements roll and soar while leaving room for more intimate revelations, which is where Western Stars really finds its stride.

67
A.V. Club
The rough-around-the-edges element of his music has always been a highly calculated aspect of Springsteen’s perfectionist tendencies, but in crafting this record of genteel retro Americana, his smooth sound is missing some bite.
thomasny18
50
As much as I couldn't really care about this album and haven't listened to any other Bruce Springsteen album before, I felt really happy that he's still around making music. I think that's what matters the most. As long as he enjoys doing what he's doing, I'll be glad about it.
notanalt
75
I Got The Horse In The Front
EdFruscley
85
Springsteen, the man of all good numbers, I never understood before, but today I know it. There's more than a rock star face with low music. Here's a man with a style, a songwriter showing a creative process by his own, with control and purpose. Remember last single of John Mayer? "I'm a man serious after all" Well Springsteen is that man without a live message in Spotify.
usedtobe
70
Remove the horse then I would like the album cover a lot more. A placidly entertaining return from the legendary singer/songwriter that delves on the stories in between American back-roads with sweeping orchestration and sentimental eye to the distinctive vision of the record. It does just fine for the meanwhile.
dearsongs
68
When I was younger I really didn't like Bruce Springsteen's music... Maybe because I grew up in Jersey where the man is looked at as a musical god (My family lives in the same country as Bruce). When I was 18 I worked as a flower delivery boy and I actually used to regularly delivered flowers to his 'farm property'. I've met him a few times and he seems like a nice enough guy. As a kid I only knew of the songs my sister would play, so when I first heard 'Nebraska' as an adult my eyes were ... read more
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Track List

  1. Hitch Hikin'
  2. The Wayfarer
  3. Tucson Train
  4. Western Stars
  5. Sleepy Joe's Café
  6. Drive Fast (The Stuntman)
  7. Chasin' Wild Horses
  8. Sundown
  9. Somewhere North of Nashville
  10. Stones
  11. There Goes My Miracle
  12. Hello Sunshine
  13. Moonlight Motel
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Added on: April 25, 2019