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I love this beautiful song on first listen! Comparisons made here and elsewhere to Glen Campbell and Lay Lady Lay are spot on. The singing for Bruce is so tender. Really wets the appetite for the new disc.

Last edited by CrookedCrutch
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DenverBrian posted:

Not my style of music and I was prepared to dismiss it but damn, that's a good song. 

I had very much the same sentiments, Brian. The music fan that I was 20 years ago would not recognize the one I am today. I credit Bruce for that, as he tends to explore different styles and genres. I'm ready to love it if it's a country album.

I never liked Glen Campbell or Jimmy Webb so my expectations were rather low. And this didn't even meet expectations. The melody is too close to "Blood Brothers," a far better song. The arrangement is annoyingly predictable with the instruments coming in as exactly expected. Bruce's vocal is okay. He's expressed the perils of wallowing in isolation and loneliness a lot more eloquently on numerous other songs. As Frank pointed out, the pedal steel is over the top. As for the strings . . .The only great Bruce track with strings is "Jungleland."

"Working On a Dream" was schlocky enough, and, from at least this song, Western Stars promises to be even more schlocky. Since BTR, I have bought every Bruce album on its release date, but I'll probably be passing on this one come June 14. Amoeba will be overstocked with returned used copies by June 17.


"I've done my best to live the right way"

Last edited by LB

Here's the New York Times piece on it:

For some time Bruce Springsteen has been mentioning an album that harks back to the 1970s of Southern California — Laurel Canyon pop, a genre exploration that has nothing to do with the 21st century. “Hello Sunshine” is the first sample of that album, “Western Stars.” It’s a well-cushioned, smoothly melodic testimonial to despairing resignation. Springsteen sustains a croon, backed by a pedal steel guitar, a cottony bass line and a string section; there’s a meditative instrumental outro. But when he sings “Hello sunshine, won’t you stay?” it’s a request without much hope; he’s been singing about lonely, endless empty roads ahead: “no place to be and miles to go.” As plush as the music is, that’s his vista. PARELES


"I've done my best to live the right way"

I grew up a fan of Campbell, but was not sure whether I would like "Hello Sunshine" or not. I like it more with each listen. I put it quality/stylistic wise, in the realm of songs such as "Brilliant Disguise" and "Magic." Good shout that it's a lot like Blood Brothers and not as good as that song.

Bruce almost always chooses an "okay" song for his first release from his albums and almost always there are much better songs on the album. If that holds true here, I think I'll be happy.

PS- I think much of this album is about his own clinical depression and dealing with it, including this song.

I’m surprised at the comparison to Blood Brothers - can’t hear that at all - but I’m even more surprised to see Blood Brothers held up as a better, even a good song... The original greatest hits version is right up there with 30 days out and American beauty as perfunctory Bruce - perfectly acceptable but not of sufficient album quality, and almost never bothering the set lists. The alternate released rock version is ok but again there’s a reason he doesn’t play it (maybe once?). The version from the end of the reunion tour of course was something very special - no argument about that - but the occasion, the paring down of the accompaniment, and most significantly the removal of the ‘I don’t know why I made this call or if any of this matters’ verse are what makes this version what it is. And sets it far beyond the original, which if it wasnt needed for Greatest Hits as a theme setting for the 1995 ‘reunion’ and video, could easily have been replaced by Back In Your Arms. 

Anyway - I like the new song. I’m excited for the album. But most of all I’m just glad I don’t work in an industry where no matter what I do people will always say it’s not as good as this or that from forty years ago. If every time I had a performance review with my manager, and she said well you’ve done some good work this year, but I don’t think it’s quite to the standard of the work you did at that hardware store in 1975, I don’t think I’d ever get out of bed again... but then maybe that’s where the depression comes in - oooh hello sunshine indeed...

It's nothing like Blood Brothers, which is unlike anything else. Thank goodness!

Bruce never repeats himself. He works in a style or a genre for a bit, then moves on.

I remember people complaining that Darkness was nothing like Born to Run. Everybody wanted the same record again, which is dumb.

Hey, maybe he could have fixed up Zero and Blind Terry, Linda, Frankie and Save Your Love and given it a try to make Born To Run II? But what artist would want to do that? Okay, aside from Meatloaf and Alice Cooper.

For some people, Born In The USA was too commercial, not enough like The River or Darkness.

Bruce isn't the problem. The artist is never the problem. If you are a fan of an artist, don't be a fan of your own expectations. You'll be disappointed every time.

I don't want Bruce, at 64, to try to make the same record he did at 24. or 35 or 49. He will sound foolish doing it.

Bruce has often said, 'you try to surprise your fans, not freak them out."

Springsteen has the talent to rewrite Cadillac Ranch or Glory Days or Backstreets twenty different ways. But why do it? Because fans want it? Is that enough reason?

He is an artist that draws inspiration from his life, and he is continuously searching new streams of expression, ways to colour new stories and old messages. He is among a very rare group of artists who goes out on tour and actually plays a large chunk of his new music. It's refreshing.

I am always prepared to like / love anything new he does. In the past, he has perplexed me a time or two, but there was always something of merit in it, for him and us, when he swung for the fences and only made it to first base.

With all that in mind, what good does it serve to compare his latest work with his past?

If one does not assess something for what it is, for its uniqueness, without comparison, one is destined for disappointment.

No one is saying he has to re write BTR or The Wild, the Innocent, but how about good lyrics or a non-generic song? Often with him the rest of the album has at least a handful of songs better than the first one released. How about one at least as good as We Take Care of Our Own, Radio Nowhere, Meet Me in the City? People have also talked about its resemblance to "Goodtime Charlie's Got the Blues," take a listen to it. For great songwriting for a mature audience take a listen to some of the modern country (ish) writers like Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, Jason Aldean, Zac Brown, Nathaniel Rateliff, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Brett Young, Kasey Musgraves, even the great Bryan Fallon, who has put out more good songs in the last 5 years than Bruce has in the last 15. And I like Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb. Take a listen to the soundtrack of the farewell tour of Glen, "I'll Be Me." Bruce has some commentary on the video version of the concert documentary. 

No one is saying he has to re write BTR or The Wild, the Innocent, but how about good lyrics or a non-generic song?

Exactly. I agree with 90% of Frank's post. The attempts to put down criticism of "Hello Sunshine" as fans being unable to accept anything new and different is simply wrong. I loved GOTJ and Nebraska is my favorite official album. I'd probably like a sparse more country style album of good songs with Gary, Nils, Max, and Roy.

I think Ron Aniello brings out the worst of Bruce's tendency towards schlocky pop. But then Dylan did those lame Sinatra "standards" albums. Nobody's perfect.


"I've done my best to live the right way"

Last edited by LB

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