has a new album on the way. The Boss will debut Western Stars, his first studio album in five years and his 19th overall, on June 14 via Columbia Records. Excuse the obnoxiously placed song reference, but … we’re kind of on fire about it.
After posting a series of cryptic, caption-less photos like the one below to his social accounts, Springsteen made his grand return official on Thursday. He does so alongside his wife Patti Scialfa, who has vocal contributions on four tracks, and Ron Aniello, who co-produced Western Stars alongside Springsteen, and chips in bass, keyboard and other instruments.
A post shared by Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) on
If the name didn’t already drop a few hints, Western Stars is poised to deliver a filmic saga of pensive Americana a la John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. “This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character-driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements,” Springsteen explains in a statement, adding, “It’s a jewel box of a record.” Expect motifs of highways and desert spaces alongside references to both isolation and community, all channeled through music inspirational pulling from SoCal pop records of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.
Such a route may be somewhat uncharted territory for Springsteen sonically; SoCal pop is a distinctly bell-bottomed sound defined by the likes of The Beach Boys’ idyllic musings and America’s “A Horse With No Name,” underpinned by those layered harmonies and electric-folk backdrops that were the signature of The Byrds and Eagles. Yet there remains a bit of overlap in the thematic explorations of them both— that telltale yearning for a promised American Dream, and the lamentation when it’s nowhere to be found, except in occasional glimpses in the freedom of an open road. It’s precisely the kind of subject matter, and the ability to view it both critically and romantically, that has solidified Springsteen’s mystique.
Springsteen will release the album’s first single, titled “Hello Sunshine,” at midnight ET on Friday, along with an accompanying music video.
See the Western Stars tracklist and album art below, beneath a 1978 Springsteen performance from the Paste archives.
Western Stars Tracklist:
01. Hitch Hikin’
02. The Wayfarer
03. Tucson Train
04. Western Stars
05. Sleepy Joe’s Café
06. Drive Fast (The Stuntman)
07. Chasin’ Wild Horses
09. Somewhere North of Nashville
11. There Goes My Miracle
12. Hello Sunshine
13. Moonlight Motel
Western Stars Album Art: