Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes
18 albums and still going strong, Bruce Springsteen can never be accused of resting on his laurels, even if his most recent release, High Hopes, is arguably his most displaced to date.
Systematically a compilation of tracks/outtakes that have roamed throughout the bootleg circuit, Springsteen makes no attempt to camouflage it as anything but a stroll through familiar territory dating as far back as 2002.
All of the trademarks are present: tragic heroes, flowing rivers and heaps of nostalgia, but somehow it all fails to pull together and deliver the impact we associate with Springsteen’s previous work.
Just Like Fire Would, Heaven’s Wall and Hunter of Invisible Game do little to inspire (perhaps giving sight to their absence from previous albums) whilst the folk-industrial mishap that is Down in the Hole leaves a cold empty hole where any other Springsteen reject would have been welcomed.
Even the addition of Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello into the E Street Band falls short of remedying the situation; his efforts stifled throughout the crux of the album with his trademark record-scratch sound left flickering in the background.
Nevertheless, the album still manages to pull off some big punches with melodramas like Frankie Fell in Love, Harry’s Place and American Skin (41 Shots) all promising to be (if not already) signature live tunes.
In an unpredictable move, Springsteen sandwiches the album with two covers, title track High Hopes (The Havalinas) and Suicide’s Dream Baby Dream, each stealing the show in their own unique way as if tailor-made for The Boss himself.
As a whole, High Hopes discouragingly leaves the listener unsettled, as if only telling half the story. That said, the few hits provided are enough to satisfy any diehard Springsteen fan, even if at times sounding like a reworking/rip-off of his own earlier material.
High Hopes is released on 14th January 2014. For further information or to order the album visit Bruce Springsteen’s website here.
Watch the video for High Hopes here: