73 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2014
Bruce Springsteen's 18th studio album finds itself in a bit of an identity crisis: part new, part covers, part updated versions, it features a wide range of songs and styles culled from various material that's been sitting around for the past couple years. High Hopes will satisfy those fans looking for something new from The Boss but ultimately it feels more like a random compilation than another essential addition to his beloved discography.
The title track opens the album on a strong note, a flurry of funky rhythms and a strong horn section that help to give it a distinct flavor. It doesn't sound too far off from the tones of his last album, Wrecking Ball, and continues in the more experimental tone that album helped to usher in. It works well and is certainly of the album's more memorable pieces. "Harry's Place" is promising at first with its bluesy swagger and Bruce's gruff voice giving it some personality. Unfortunately it doesn't vary much and stays on a pretty straight course, making it a decent tune that invokes a bit of old-school Springsteen but lacks the energy needed to effectively pack a punch. Much as already been said about "American Skin (41 Shots)" over the years and by now you've probably made up your mind about it. Personally I've never cared for this song but for fans who have longed for an official studio release this is undoubtedly a big draw.
Things get back on track with "Just Like Fire Would". Despite being one of several covers on the album it manages to recapture the E Street energy of older albums and its upbeat melody makes it fun and engaging. It's proof that Bruce can still take someone else's song and make it his own. "Down in the Hole" begins softly before slowly morphing into a track that's part Nebraska and part The Rising, though not nearly as stirring as anything those albums contained. "Heaven's Wall" starts with a gospel choir before the band kicks in, all lead by Bruce's trademark vocals. It's a nice touch and it makes me wish the whole album could have been done in this flavor. It suits Springsteen extremely well. "Frankie Fell in Love" is serviceable and proof that after all these years he still has the ability to suck you in with a solid rock song coated in passion and emotion.
"This Is Your Sword" sounds like another outtake from Wrecking Ball and the subtle Irish influence is a nice touch. "Hunter of Invisible Game" is a tender ballad that's also a bit forgettable, a passable track that floats by a bit too effortlessly. Perhaps the most interesting selection for this album is "The Ghost of Tom Joad", the title track from his 1995 album of the same name. Here it's completely redone and it's one of many tracks to feature the work of Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who throughout the album adds in various guitar solos and effects. This interplay between Morello and Springsteen is certainly interesting and works well on this track, transforming the gentle acoustics of the original for a heavier rock version that's been played at various shows over the years. It doesn't add much to the album but at least fans can now have both versions at their disposal. "The Wall" tells the story of Bruce's visit to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. and the impact it had on him. He sings about Walter Cichon, a local New Jersey musician who went to fight in Vietnam and never returned. It's a fitting tribute that finds Bruce back in his folk-singer guise. His cover of "Dream Baby Dream" is a sparse and soothing closer that I appreciate for what it is. It's nothing extraordinary but it's nice to hear nonetheless.
Despite the title, High Hopes should be approached with balanced expectations. This is a collection of random tracks written and recorded at various intervals and it shows. The E Street Band doesn't get much time to really shine, resulting in a record that's disjointed despite some great moments. The guitar work of Morello really dominates the overall sound and those yearning for Bruce's signature style will find it hard to come by, save for a handful of tunes. It's clear that Bruce felt strongly about these tracks and wanted to see them get an official release, yet he probably would have been better served just making this a compilation instead of a straight studio album. It's lacking the consistency and punch to elevate it to anything more than a curiosity for longtime fans and a forgettable experience for newcomers and casual listeners. Springsteen's at a point in his career where he can do things like this and that's okay. It's an interesting collection that's neither essential nor throwaway but rather somewhere in the middle. Let's hope this is just a stop-gap release and that something bigger and better is on the horizon. That's where my high hopes reside.
55 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2014
While much of the critical discussion of this album focuses on the origins of the songs...a few covers and a number of Springsteen originals that were written by Springsteen over the last 20 years...the album shouldn't be seen as a "Tracks, Part II" or as a thrown-together effort of obscure tracks from recent years. Rather, this is a cohesive album that fits well with Springsteen's growth in recent years.
Among the best tracks are "High Hopes," which features a pounding beat and demonstrate his recent interest in strains of gospel and his renewed use of horns. "American Skin" is one of Springsteen's best compositions since the 80's. It surely belongs in the same conversation as the tracks from "Wrecking Ball" and "The Rising." This track was first debuted around 2000 (featured on "Live in New York City"). This studio version does a nice job of using Tom Morello's guitar work (which can be heard throughout much of the album) and maintains the powerful vocals. Both of these tracks continue to show Springsteen's focus on empathy for the downtrodden and the hope that there's a place for these folks in the American dream. Of course, these have been life-long themes for The Boss, but they certainly continue that thematic focus at the heart of "Wrecking Ball."
As always, Springsteen remains at his best when he tells the stories of silent pain and loss experienced by the common man and forgotten heroes. Both "Down in the Hole" (originally written during "The Rising" sessions, about the rescue-workers at the World Trade Center) and "The Wall" (about the lingering sense of a generation's loss via the Vietnam War, told via the story of a childhood friend lost in this war) tell these stories in moving ways. It's nice to hear a few of the E Street band members who've passed away in recent years, as Clarence Clemons & Danny Federici can be heard on a few of these tracks.
This album's version of "The Ghost of Tom Joad" is wonderful in its own way. While it was a meditative folk song on Springsteen's 1995 album, Tom Morello's reimagining of the song (via Rage Against the Machine) seems to have pushed Springsteen to reimagine the sound of the song. In many ways, it exceeds the original...whereas the folk version was hopeless, this version seethes with Springsteen's signature brand of anger, but tinged with an abiding sense of hope. And, yes, it also rocks :)
Yes, the avid Springsteen collectors among us will be able to dissect the album and hear the different times in which Springsteen wrote or began recording these tracks. But most listeners will hear an album that has a cohesive sound that is truly updated for Springsteen's current influences. While it is not as thematically tight as "The Rising" (about 9/11 and its aftermath) or "Wrecking Ball" (about the Great Recession and the plight of the working man), it would be difficult for any musician to top those efforts, as they are among the best albums of this century. Nonetheless, this album does have a continued focus on the plight of the down-trodden and those on the margins of society.
86 of 105 people found the following review helpful
I suspect that most people looking at this page will be long-term Springsteen fans like me who will already have ordered this no matter what any reviews say, but for what it's worth I think this is a pretty good album: not a Springsteen classic but well worth having. I thought it might just be some previously rejected, sub-standard old stuff cobbled together but it's a lot better than that. I was very lucky to receive an advance copy of this album and I've listened to it a lot over the last couple of weeks. I'm glad I did because I was unimpressed on first hearing, but it's improved a lot with repeated playing.
It's hard for Bruce to follow the excellent Wrecking Ball because that was such a passionate, heartfelt album. Tracks like Death To My Hometown came from deep in his heart and it showed. Here, there's not so much of that and I think there are a couple of pretty weak tracks, but there are some fine songs and a few real belters - a fine out-and-out Springsteen rocker in Frankie Fell In Love and a terrific, driving, full-rock-band version of The Ghost Of Tom Joad, for example. American Skin has grown on me a lot and I think it may be among my list of Bruce classics in the end. He sounds rather like JJ Cale in Harry's Place and very like Dylan in Hunter Of Invisible Game, both of which are very good songs... I'd describe it as a varied and interesting set with some great highlights.
Springsteen's lyrics have always been a real strength. His fine, heartfelt stories in natural-sounding language have made songs like The River, Racing In The Street and dozens of others genuine classics, and he also regularly comes up with simple but brilliant couplets like,
"Somewhere along the line I stepped off track -
One step up and two steps back..."
This is not so much in evidence here. For example, there are no rhymes in either High Hopes or Just Like Fire Would (the weakest track on the album for me). This is hard to pull off in a rock song and doesn't really work here. There are some fine lyrical moments on the album - notably in The Wall and American Skin - but there's not that much in the way of real classic stuff.
I'm also slightly dubious about some of the production, which strays more toward pop than rock values at times. There's nothing wrong with that, but I don't think it sits all that well with Springsteen's style in a lot of songs. For example, in Down The Hole the vocals begin in a compressed down-a-phone-line effect and then suddenly (and quite randomly) become normal - it just seems like a pointless and gimmicky trick to me which diminishes a good song.
I don't want to carp too much - the good far outweighs the poor here and I doubt that any of Bruce's fans will be disappointed. He sings with real heart most of the way through and there's no doubt that the man has still got it. This isn't up there with his genuine classic albums and it's not as good as Wrecking Ball, but it certainly doesn't disgrace a truly great songwriter and performer and I'll still be playing a lot of it for years to come, I think. My advice is to buy it and play it a lot - I think you'll like it.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
I have been a fan of the Boss since I was in junior high and "Born In The USA" came out. I was instantly hooked and got my hands on every disc in his back catalog and devoured each and every track. Since then I've been pretty happy with his releases with the notable exception of "Devils and Dust" which I thought fell far short of the mark. Here on "High Hopes" we really get a few gems mixed in with a decent amount of filler.
One thing that I have always respected about Springsteen is that he will work tirelessly on an album and he wouldn't release it until he thought it was done. With that attitude he's released some great albums and also has collected a bunch of great songs that just didn't fit the vibe of a given album. With that said I view "High Hopes" not as a Springsteen album but a collection of misfit songs. It doesn't have the flow and connectivity that a Springsteen fan will be used to in his work.
Springsteen's signature sound is augmented by the guitar work of Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine who joined the E Street Band for some dates. Not being a Rage fan maybe I'm just missing something but his guitar work to me just doesn't seem to fit especially on the rocked up version of "Ghost of Tom Joad." A cool live experience maybe, but recorded the song just doesn't have the same power as the original acoustic version.
For me the highlight of the disc is "The Wall" which has made appearances in Springsteen's live shows since 2003. The song is a tribute to one of Springsteen's childhood friends that didn't make it back from Vietnam. It's the most heartfelt track here without a doubt in my opinion.
"Hunter of Invisible Game" is also a standout track and one of the more recently written ones in the set. We have a lyric filled with biblical themes and the singer talking about hunting for invisible game, or really collecting souls. We never do find out if it's God, Satan or someone else but it only adds another interesting layer to the song.
"This is Your Sword" is another track with biblical themes and this one musically sounds like it could have been a Pogues track so if you like Celtic music you'll probably dig this one as well.
Even though there are some tracks here that I don't love I do appreciate the fact that Springsteen is still working to bring something new to the table and not afraid to tinker with a formula that has worked through the years. To me artists that try to reinvent themselves are like big time home run hitters. Sure, you're going to strike out a bit but you're also going to be on top of the world.
The bottom line is your mileage on how much you like this album will depend on what you're expecting coming in. As a mixed bag of misfit songs I found it enjoyable. If you're looking for a cohesive Springsteen record then you might be disappointed.
29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2014
Unlike many of his peers, Bruce Springsteen insists on having new music to tour in support of when he hits the road. I've always respected that and preferred that approach to people like Billy Joel who hasn't written a new song in 20 years and has never stopped cashing in on his greatest hits. Springsteen is an artist who insists on continuing to create new work and some of the work he's created after 2000 ("The Rising" & "Magic") are true highlights of his career. Last year's "Wrecking Ball" was an average Springsteen release. "High Hopes" isn't even that good.
"High Hopes" is now the FIFTH outtakes album Bruce has released during the past ten years. It follows "Essential - Disc 3" "Devils & Dust," "Working on a Dream," and "The Promise." Sandwiched between was "The Seeger Sessions" album. Five albums of outtakes and covers since 2003! And while even an Average Bruce song is better than most people's best, "High Hopes" is starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel a bit too much for my tastes.
That's not to say there isn't some good stuff here because there is. However, most of that good stuff is either a cover of another artists work or a re-working of a previous released version of an older song.
1. High Hopes - This is a re-worked outtake of an outtake originally appearing as a different version on the "Blood Brothers" outtakes EP. A cover and a pretty good one. And unlike "41 Shots" and "Ghost of Tom Joad" is re-worked enough to justify it being considered new. Tom Morrello adds some nice layered guitar work and the percussion, vocal section and horn section of the post Clarence Clemons E Street Band are put to good use here.
2. Harry's Place - Second worst track on the album. Completely skip-able after one listen. However, Clarence Clemons does make an appearance on sax which did make me smile.
3. American Skin (41 Shots) - Torn on including this one. Yes, it's a new studio version but the song was officially released back in 2001 on the "Live in NYC" album. And, unlike the re-worked "Land of Hope & Dreams" from "Wrecking Ball," doesn't improve or even rework the arrangement. Now unfortunately the song's message is still alive and well in the post Zimmerman Trial era of "stand your ground" America and I assume that's why it's here... It's a good version of song I actually like quite a bit but again, not sure the necessity of including it.
4. Just Like Fire Would - Another cover song. It's good and think has the potential to be very good live but it's far from great.
5. Down in the Hole - Tom Waits has song by the same title but this isn't that. This isn't as good. However, this is one of the better, more interesting songs on the album. Reminds of the title song from "Magic." Has a bit of a "I'm on Fire" arrangement. Clarence Clemons and Danny Federci both appear on this one meaning it's probably from around the time of the "Magic" sessions and the similarity might explain the exclusion from that album. One of the best songs here.
6. Heaven's Wall - Growing on me. Again, much like the title track, great use of the new, expanded E Street Band's percussion and vocal components.
7. Frankie Fell in Love - The shortest song here and the catchiest song on the record. This should be a lot of fun live. The arrangement does remind me a lot of "Leap of Faith" from 92's "Lucky Town"
8. This is Your Sword- Honestly, the only thing good I can say about this is that it's short and over quickly. This is really a bottom of the barrel reach. Worst song here.
9. Hunter of Invisible Game - This is a good track. Lyrically one of the better originals here. Great arrangement and Bruce's voice sounds great here. Clear and warm. This one gets better every time.
10. The Ghost of Tom Joad - This is the best song here. However, this is the FOURTH official release of this song and the THIRD featuring the full band and Tom Morello. This was released as a live version on the "Magic Tour Highlights" and the "Hall of Fame Concert" and now it's here as a studio track. This is no better than the previous two versions and I still prefer the acoustic version from the album of the same name. Again, this is the best song here and it was released 19 years ago for the first time which should tell you all you really need to know about the entire album.
11. The Wall - This one's been floating around for awhile on bootlegs. Good to see it finally appear officially. About the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC. Again, good, not great song. Would have fit well on "Magic"
12. Dream Baby Dream - Another cover. Bruce closed a good portion of the "Devils & Dust" tour with this one. It's a good movie soundtrack song. Something for the end credits and a decent album closer. However, is it something that begs for repeated listens? Not really. In fact, if you told me you found it a bit boring I wouldn't really question why.
In the end "High Hopes" is worth owning if you're a fan. If you're not this won't convince you to become one. Nothing overly essential here but a few tunes that will make it onto my Ipod for repeated listens.
Best "new" Songs: High Hopes, Down in the Hole, Frankie Fell in Love, Hunter of Invisible Game, The Wall
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I've been a fan since 1978 and the only Bruce album I really hated was Wrecking Ball. I felt the over-earnest lyrics and ridiculous pomposity was, by far, the worst thing he has ever put out - although there was still 3 songs on there that really moved me. So of course I had some reservations about High Hopes, especially when I read about the patchwork way it was assembled - covers, reworking of existing songs, and outtakes from other projects.
After listening I was very pleased to know that Bruce is back in the game again and producing masterful work. I resisted the Rolling Stone-like impulse to give the cd 5 stars. It's not quite that good, but 4 to 4 1/2 stars is warranted. The missing star is due to the fact that, although the songs are mostly wonderful, all of them together do not quite form a cohesive album. So what? I'll take a half dozen great songs and a few good ones, even if they don't quite fit together.
What do you get? 3 covers, all of which are pretty good. High Hopes the song has some good lyrics; Bruce and Tom Morello make this work. Dream Baby Dream is a bit simplistic but I get where Bruce is going with it. Just Like Fire Would is a classic Bruce rock track that grows on me every time I hear it; great vocal and guitar.
It is a little odd to have 2 already-released Springsteen songs on a new studio album, but I do understand the rationale. American Skin is such a great song musically and lyrically that Bruce wanted to make sure that it didn't get relegated to live album only status. The Tom Morello reworked Ghost Of Tom Joad is also definitely worth hearing, although I can't help comparing it to the live version that was released on iTunes a few years ago. This one is a bit tamer, but still worthwhile.
So the rest of the songs are new (at least to me) Springsteen originals, some of which apparently have been around for a while. There are 2 gospel-ish tracks which only partially work. I like that Bruce is trying this genre but I think his lyrics are a bit forced. He's got some religious imagery in there, but I don't sense that he's really feeling it yet.
Hunter of Invisible Game, The Wall and Frankie Fell In Love are great songs, but my 2 favorite songs on the cd are Down In The Hole and Harry's Place. These are both outtakes from The Rising and boy are they good. Down In The Hole is another masterful study of grief in the vein of You're Missing, Empty Sky, or Nothing Man. This is just as good as any of them; maybe Bruce thought that it was a bit redundant to include it on The Rising. But I am happy to have it here; the vocal and production are perfect.
Harry's Place is a masterpiece. On the surface it is simply a Sopranos-like account of a mobster's domain. But the last 2 verses reveal it as much more - a commentary on the world and sin, a treatise on evil. The production and musicianship are perfect and the way Bruce sings these lyrics is impressive. I am impressed with both the lyrics and vocals on this album. And I think Tom Morello was a good choice all around. If we get something of this quality from Bruce every couple years I am a happy man.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2014
One of the keys to the Boss' longevity is his willingness to try new things. I respect that. Perhaps my reticence in identifying with this new work is seated in my own inability to embrace change. Maybe it's just too much, too fast.
First we lost Danny Federici. I believe Charlie Giordano has done a fine and respectful job of stepping into those shoes. Then we lost Clarence Clemons. Like Danny, he is irreplaceable, and an entire horn section (including the genetic link with Jake) is not enough to compensate for the loss of Clarence's musicality and personality. Please don't get me wrong--I appreciate that these fine musicians are playing with the E Street Band. I'm just questioning how many crucial elements can change without affecting the essence of what makes the E Street Band.
For me, the prominence of Tom Morello on this album takes things over the edge. It's too much Morello, not enough E Street. Again, I like Morello as an artist, but I think what's missing here is respect. If you're given the honor of sitting in with a legendary band like E Street, you should consider toning down your individuality to align with the band's signature sound. Be a team player! Again, I respect that Morello has fulfilled the role of "muse" for the Boss--that's great, and thank you! But this album should have been billed as "Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello with the E Street Band."
I can't stop wondering how Steve, Max, Garry, Roy and Nils feel about this album. Sure, I get it that Steve was filming Lillyhammer and they needed a sub for the TOUR. But for a fan, a concert is a live moment in time. You buy a ticket for a certain experience. An album is different; it's a permanent record. It's analogous to the difference between a gifted author giving a speech and his/her finished opus. What was the huge emergency that necessitated Morello overshadowing the ALBUM? I was so looking forward to the gift of previously unreleased tracks, and indeed, I was nearly overcome with emotion when I first heard Clarence on "Down in the Hole." This is what I wanted, and why I bought the album. Knowing that there's a deep vault of precious unreleased tracks, I believe the album would have been much better if Bruce had pulled 11 more songs like this one and marketed it as a compilation of previously unreleased material, like he did for "The Promise" or "Tracks."
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2014
I've been listening to the record over and over, and I've got some bones to pick, but not with Mr. Springsteen.
The Amazon reviews are really smart; usually with artists of this caliber, they are way more interesting and informative than the print critics' attempt at review. I would balance my opinion along the lines of the rest in this stream, so I won't repeat much. Above all, though, I'd buy this just for "American Skin." I challenge anyone to stand facing a couple of decent speakers with the volume righteously high and listen to the song and not be swept away. Everyone has a Springsteen favorite, and this one ranks, for me, with "Thunder Road." Maybe more to my heart, even.
My gripe, really, is how the media is dumping on this CD. Oh, how they love to topple the mighty. Some of you might remember Lou Reed's "Take No Prisoners," the live "comedy" album, when Lou goes after critics for building someone up just so they could tear the artist down. He was referring to Springsteen in that live rant. Check it out. It's there. Way back in the day.
What's happening in the media is just another round of the tiny mouth pirañas ripping into the big fish. No teeth, just snark. My personal lexicon applies here. Snarkiness is the last refuge of critics almost intelligent enough to be cynical, but not quite, not really. That's what we're seeing in the print and broadcast media. Pure Snark. Sarcasm's "challenged" twin.
And check out the phrases the "critics" use, all exactly the same. They sound like the folks who brought you the Republican Talking Points. I kid you not. Go after them. They all knock Morello for being jarring or inappropriate or whatever, but his playing hits to the core of the songs. On "Tom Joad," the guitar scratching isn't DJ, it's Dust Bowl. Pay attention! The crits all go after the same malarky about weird "Irish" instrumentation here and there, which is rather nutty, since the same critics bellow praises for all the new synth bands who use synth versions of "Irish" instrumentations to back up their Celtic Ahem Men's Choir choruses.
This is not a great Springsteen record, but it's a very fine one. I think you'll find much here to commend this. I would approach it as a great sketchbook, and my dear friends, a Picasso or a Van Gogh sketch is far, far more important and valuable than a fully realized oil on velvet portrait of dogs at a poker table which, sadly, is what's getting praised by the desperate to be hip print critics out there.
I praise the Amazon writers. And Mr. Springsteen, for a clunky set of sketches, some unfinished, but beautiful, each and every one.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2014
Haven't listened to the album a sufficient number of times to form a knowledgeable impression, but the bonus DVD-- containing a replay of the full "Born in the USA" album (performed in 2013 concert in London)-- is fabulous, and worth every penny by itself. Both sound (5.1 surround) and picture are high quality, and the Boss and band are in high energy mode and appearing to have a great time. Highly recommended.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2014
It was always going to be a huge task to follow up 2012's "Wrecking Ball", an incredibly strong, cohesive Springsteen album that was amongst his best in recent years. One hoped that Springsteen could pull yet another great album out of his magic hat with a follow up, but "High Hopes", while solid, did not turn out to be that album.
As we all know, "High Hopes", the Boss' 18th studio album, could very well of been released as just a compilation album, and it would of been a good one, but being put together with unreleased tracks and cover tunes and being touted as a studio album, it comes off as disappointing. It starts things off in the right way though, with the title track, "High Hopes". The track is a catchy, up-tempo cover tune that is different from other Bruce songs. It lets you know right off the bat that collection is going to be something a tad different, but still familiar. "Harry's Place", left off 'The Rising', is a funky number that has people split. Some praise it and others say it sounds like an "80s cop show theme song". Whatever. I like it and is one of my favorites here. Other standouts include the first ever studio recording of "American Skin(41 Shots)", which is nice to finally have. The first studio recording does the song justice and is just as powerful as it was well over a decade ago. "Heaven's Wall" is a real standout. Gospel-infused barn burner that isn't too far out of the norm, given the Boss' gospel/religious influences of late. Definitely a highlight. "Frankie Fell In Love" is not the best Bruce song lyrically, but it is one of his best "fun" rockers in a while. "The Wall" is a great song about one of Bruce's Jersey friends who went off to Vietnam and never came back. One of the most emotional and heartfelt songs on here. There are a few others I like ("Just Like Fire Would", "This Is Your Sword"), but there are fewer real knock outs here than on 'Wrecking Ball'. "Dream Baby Dream", another cover tune, ends the disc on a haunting note. Even though it's not an original Springsteen song, it fits him well.
So, "High Hopes", while mildly disappointing, is not the train wreck some critics and other reviewers think it is. It is the first Springsteen album to come along in a long time that has really divided fans and critics. It is certainly disappointing when compared to his recent output, but it is better and more interesting than "Working On A Dream" by far. Springsteen can still write a song, and it's an amazing thing when his cast offs, B-sides and unreleased tracks are still better than most anybody else's new, original albums. The man has been consistently putting out great albums for decades, and if one doesn't hold up as well as others, oh well. He's earned to have a few of those. "High Hopes" is a decent and pretty solid album, but it just isn't a classic. It doesn't have the cohesive through line as some of his others and feels a little scattershot. Still, Bruce is Bruce, and we know he's got more great stuff in him. This is a mild diversion while we wait for the real "Wrecking Ball" follow up.