The song open with Springsteen singing "41 shots," but his vocals are distorted and distant--a cheap effect. In , the song is too aware of its own import, which means it strains for the same sense of gravity that once came easily. Springsteen has struggled in the s to find the best musical vehicle for his thoughts on the state of America. Live, the E Street Band can be a powerhouse, as the sexagenarian continues to exude charisma and energy on stage.
The studio, however, is another thing. Nebraska aside, Springsteen has never been a minimalist, but his recent output has been maximalist in all the wrong directions. Rather than the Spectorian wall of sound he perfected on Born to Run and The River , he now dabbles in studio gimmicks that sound both expensive and dated: vocal distortion, caked-on production, pots-and-pans percussion, inert drum loops, a puzzling fascination with Celtic flourishes.
Completists, meanwhile, will savour two offcuts from The Rising sessions , which feature the late Clarence Clemons on sax and the late Danny Federici on organ. There is too, a proper recording of Springsteen's sombre Vietnam memorial The Wall , one of the most bitter songs in recent Springsteen memory.
The overall impression, however, is of a record playing with playfulness. The most audacious rethink by some measure, though, is the album's closing cover of Dream Baby Dream, which Springsteen has been playing live since Devils and Dust. Penned by 70s nihilist synth-punk duo Suicide , Springsteen and co take the song's scrawny hopefulness and ratchet it up to hymnal E Street proportions — an act not unlike this record, which takes the idea of a stopgap album full of odds and ends and reimagines it as something much more satisfying.
The Observer Bruce Springsteen. Bruce Springsteen: High Hopes — review. Columbia Bruce Springsteen's album of offcuts, covers and reworkings adds up to a slice of the Boss at his best Read Kitty Empire's gig of the week review here. Bruce Springsteen: curveballs and cover versions. Springsteen said that the new music was "some of our best unreleased material from the past decade" and among the best of his writing and deserved a proper studio recording.
Work on the album started on December 9, Springsteen called Aniello to discuss some demos of older songs that had never been finished. It all happened in a very unusual manner. But once we got started on it and he started to uncover what it was exactly.
It just took the most part of a year for him to figure it out. I'm not sure what he had in mind from the beginning, but this is what we ended up with. In March , the day before Springsteen flew to Australia to resume touring, he went to Los Angeles. Aniello said Springsteen was "working his ass off, just working his ass off. I've never seen someone his age work like that. He put in a hour day in the studio. Aniello stated that 20 songs were recorded for the album. But when it comes time to analyze, that's when he turns the screws on everything.
Then he'll go back and forth with sequences for months and months until he gets it exactly where he wants it. I don't see that in any other artist that I work with. It's usually like, 'What's a good sequence? Then the bad songs should go at the end. He has a story to tell. We recorded a lot and at first it was a much longer record. Bruce did the same thing with Wrecking Ball. I have the piece of paper with all 15 or whatever songs on it, and he draws a line through the last four and goes, 'This is it.
Let's take these four off. I was like, 'Those are my favorites! It's got to work as a piece. This was a much bigger experiment because it was so different. There was a little more back and forth with it.
High Hopes is a first for Springsteen: a studio album composed entirely of covers, outtakes and reimagined versions of songs from past albums and tours. I don't really work linearly like a lot of people do. The album's title track and first single, "High Hopes", was originally recorded in and released on the Blood Brothers EP.
The album also features songs originally written for other albums, such as "Harry's Place," a song written in and intended originally for The Rising ;  "Heaven's Wall," "Down in the Hole" and "Hunter of Invisible Game," which all date from to ;  and "The Wall", which Springsteen wrote around based on an idea from Joe Grushecky.
The Motifs were a local rock band who were always a head above everybody else. Raw, sexy and rebellious, they were the heroes you aspired to be," Springsteen explained. Morello also inspired the performances of two covers that ended up being recorded.
On December 28, , Amazon. Amazon quickly removed the files, but it was too late and the album leaked by mid-day. Usage of Springsteen's songs was part of a deal between his label and the CBS television network to gain wider exposure for the album in an unconventional way and lure his baby boomer fans to the show and the network's website.
Springsteen said, "This is music I always felt needed to be released. I felt they all deserved a home and a hearing" in a statement discussing the CBS deal. Springsteen and Fallon, both dressed as Springsteen from the Born in the U. Christie Traffic Jam", poking fun at the Fort Lee lane closure scandal.
Springsteen was also interviewed. High Hopes garnered mixed reception from music critics. At Metacritic , the album holds a weighted average Metascore of 67 out of , based upon 37 reviews, indicating generally favorable reception.
Jesse Cataldo of Slant rated the album three stars, writing that "Springsteen aligns himself with a long tradition of folksingers, and as a devotee of protest music, he clearly understands the genre's responsibility in identifying such trends; the specific instances that create the songs may change, but the deeper inequalities that inspire them don't.