Bruce Springsteen has clearly spent the last few years with an eye toward the past; after all, he did just spend months reflecting on his life and career in a Broadway run full of ruefully administered songs and stories. Last month's "Hello Sunshine," the first single from Springsteen's new album Western Stars, certainly looks back, both in its tone of weary regret — "You fall in love with lonely, you end up that way" — and in its spare, slide-guitar-infused instrumentation.
Now that we've got a second song from Western Stars, a clearer picture of the album (his 19th, and first in five years) is coming into focus. "There Goes My Miracle" captures Springsteen at his most musically introspective, as he presides over a dense, string-swept studio sound that transcends time and place, but feels rooted in another era. The new track could so easily have been written for Roy Orbison — who'd have made a meal of its soaring-yet-plainspoken chorus — that it's hard to believe it's not already a standard Springsteen dusted off for the occasion. Which, come to think of it, is a high compliment.
Western Stars comes out June 14 via Columbia.