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A gorgeous tone poem that both deepens and personalizes the audio recording, creating a satisfying emotional arc that isn’t as apparent in the collection of 13 fully-orchestrated country-tinged songs.
Western Stars goes far deeper than the usual performance document, to sensitively explore what he sees as the state of his, and our, lives. It’s a ruminative, almost elegiac look at Springsteen’s life and career, filled with moments of uncommon beauty that makes it of a piece with this latest, most introspective phase of his career.
Don’t go into Western Stars expecting to see The Boss. That guy is on a break. What we get instead is Bruce Springsteen, a human being who seems a lot less sure of himself than The Boss ever did. Springsteen’s book gave us some details, but Western Stars looks straight into his soul.