noyoucmon's current selection is:
The Wayfarer
by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen's 19th solo album is unlike anything he's done before. Coming off an extended Broadway run where he nightly presented a solo acoustic career retrospective of sorts, he turned to an inspiration incongruent with his East Coast mythology: California pop of the '60s and '70s. Western Stars is rich with orchestras and soft melodies, and while the outcome is not stunning the combination works much better at times than one might expect. Like all Springsteen albums since the '90s, Western Stars has its share of winning moments as well as clunkers, but this new territory is nothing if not refreshing after his 2007-2014 sequence of turgid rock albums with greatly diminishing returns.

No members of the current E Street Band are present, aside from his wife Patti Scialfa who handles vocals and vocal arrangements on four tracks and vocalist Soozie Tyrell who appears on three. Long-ago E Street pianist David Sancious, absent from the band since 1974, is present on two songs. Producer Ron Aniello, who also helmed Springsteen's previous two albums, is the most prolific musician on Western Stars after Springsteen himself; between the two they are credited with 27 instruments. Hollywood producer and musician Jon Brion is also present and plays a number of percussion, guitar, and keyboard parts.

The Wayfarer is the song from Western Stars that has stuck with me the most since buying the album. It is a slow burner; the payoff begins at 2:35 and climaxes at 3:38. If you can't make it to those points, orchestral Boss is likely not your cup of tea. Should the idea remain interesting, though, check out Tucson Train, another album highlight, which is a bit more upbeat throughout.
2019 - Columbia
Posted: 9th August 2019
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