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High Hopes (AMAZON BONUS LIMITED EDITION*)(CD/ DVD)

4.3 out of 5 stars 551 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

'High Hopes' finds Bruce Springsteen in a number of different musical settings, and includes the E Street Band members in various large and small combinations as well as guitarist Tom Morello on eight tracks. Besides Morello, the album also includes appearances on several songs by Clarence Clemons, who passed away in 2011, and Danny Federici, who passed away in 2008, on what Springsteen calls "some of our best unreleased material from the past decade." The album was recorded in New Jersey, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Australia and New York City and marks Springsteen's 18th studio album. As Bruce writes in the albums liner notes, "I felt they were among the best of my writing and deserved a proper studio recording."

The AMAZON BONUS LIMITED EDITION* version also includes a live DVD of Bruce and the E Street Band performing the entire "Born In The U.S.A." album in London, England, during the historic Wrecking Ball World Tour.

*This version will be available for a LIMITED TIME ONLY.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 14, 2014)
  • Limited Edition edition
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B00GUXO12O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (551 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,554 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
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.
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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.
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Format: Audio CD
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...
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