Before his album Western Stars came out in June, Bruce Springsteen released three of its songs, in April in May. The first was “Hello Sunshine,” a pretty, gently yearning ballad that wasn’t necessarily the album’s most dramatic track, but effectively summed up what was to come.
Like most of the album, the song — which has a string section, and prominently features Marc Muller’s pedal steel guitar — has a lush, cinematic sound. As many critics have noted, it’s reminiscent of Harry Nilsson’s massive 1969 hit, “Everybody’s Talkin’,” and other songs of that era by Glen Campbell and Burt Bacharach.
The character who sings is also a lot like the characters in many of the album’s other songs. He’s the strong, silent type, middle-aged or older, bruised by life but persevering. A drifter (“You know I always liked that empty road/No place to be and miles to go”) and someone who is well acquainted with depression (“I had a little sweet spot for the rain”), but is still trying to wrench some happiness out of whatever else life holds for him.
“You fall in love with lonely, you end up that way,” he sings, refusing to romanticize his plight. “Hello sunshine, won’t you stay?”
Background facts: Springsteen released “Hello Sunshine” on his 2019 album Western Stars. The song was also the album’s first single.
On each of the 70 days leading up to Bruce Springsteen’s 70th birthday (on Sept. 23, 2019), NJArts.net will do a post on one of The Boss’ best songs of the last 30 years. We’re starting with No. 70 and working our way up. For more on the project, click here.
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