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High Hopes
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on June 11, 2014
Wrecking Ball, bloat and all, had its moments, so it's gratifying to see "High Hopes" surpass that. The songs might be from all over, but the focus feels tight. It's a batch not a themed mission statement. Good. The title track opener is a stomper though a little stuffy, and the entire first half feels like the big wheel trying to get itself to roll. "American Skin" is a great song, but this version sounds heavily processed in the studio, which dulls the chilling cautionary tale from "Live in New York City." Much of the album, in fact, adds weird electronic embellishments that do nothing to enhance the music. To be clear: I have never had a problem with electronics - I'm no rootsy purist - but artists choose their sound and sounds for reasons and the add-ons and phasing and squiggles here and on "Wrecking Ball" don't fit Bruce well. When the songs shine through, however, it doesn't really matter. I think the aces of "High Hopes" are on the backside: "Frankie Fell in Love" is weird and rousing, "This Is Your Sword" might be the briefest anthem in the Springsteen songbook, but, boy, he lays into it. The next four are as good as Bruce has sounded in a while, yet I just get the sense he doesn't know exactly what he should sound like in 2014. He's fishing for a new way to represent and maybe stay modern, when he shouldn't worry about it. Just play 'em. He reaches back here to 1998 for the "The Wall," one of the best songs he's ever written, and plays it unadorned, and it's worth the price of the record. There has been division over his album-ending version of Suicide's "Dream, Baby, Dream," and I think the naysayers wrongly overlook the Rorschach elasticity of the song's nature. Compare with Neneh Cherry's skronking dissolution on "The Cherry Thing," and also with the original, which sounds like Phil Spector's Wall of Sound streamed through Fisher-Price musical toys and heroin. Springsteen chooses hopeful hymn, and what is so wrong with that?
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on December 8, 2015
A must for the Springsteen collector and the casual listener. While Tom Morello's influence is apparent in the arrangements it fits the E Street Band sensibilities and the band owns the sound. Several tracks are haunting and will stay with you to become favorites: High Hopes, Just Like Fire Would, Frankie Fell in Love, and Dream Baby Dream. Other songs the BS&ESB fans will know several others from his concerts: American Skin, The Wall and The Ghost of Tom Joad which soars and haunts with featured Morello vocals and guitar.
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What else is there to say about Bruce that hasn't been said, except, there will never be another one quite like him.

64 years young, and still bringing it 'Night after Night after Night'.

Bruce knows the clock is ticking, and he's certainly using that as a motivation to keep touring and to create & release new music more often. 'High Hopes' is a hodge-podge of covers and original material. What it also is, is Bruce's mantra not to tour without supporting a new record.

While Bruce certainly has at least 3-4 great records left in him, this isn't one of them, but it still has some greatness within.

Tom Morello certainly brings a different sound to the proceedings, especially on re-recordings of High Hopes & Tom Joad.

Keep bringing it, Bruce, and please play 'Be True' when u come to South Florida!
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on April 25, 2014
Just bought this on Amazon, but I am already listening on my Kindle Fire....that is amazing in itself !

I have been a Bruce Fan for over 30 years.....and this one is good. I love the way his voice and style has matured. I love Tommy Morello's guitar, and all members of the E Street Band.

Having said that - this is Not "Born in the USA" It will not spawn any #! Singles. Instead it is a collection of Bruce's heartfelt words of wisdom and comfort.

I love that it is not overproduced and that it can move me from cheers to tears.

This is not a dance album, this is not a Pop Album (remember albums ?) It is eclectic and interesting and inviting and BRUCE.
Bruce offers this gift to you, for you to open and explore and enjoy in your own way - to paraphrase The Boss himself "it is like a friend has written a letter, and you can open the letter and read it and re-read it time and again, each time finding another kind of joy."

I understand Bruce has not authored every song......but he makes them his.
Glad I did not pass on this one !
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on March 18, 2014
The first thing I thought when I played this cd was how great these tunes would sound live!
Bruce already has done a lot of these live and decided that they needed "proper" studio representations.
Bruce and the E Street Band's live shows are in comparable and better than ever!
Their live renditions make their studio albums sound almost
(almost) watered down.
So it's kind of odd for him to take live stuff and make a studio album.
Another odd thing to me is that they have always been an albums band not a singles band.
This cd does not have an underlying theme, just random singles.
Having said all that, it is still new Bruce. As fun and as serious as you want it to be.

Highlights are High Hopes, Down in the Hole, Heavens Wall, the Ghost of Tom Joad, The Wall and Dream Baby Dream.
Not Born To Run or even The Rising but still Bruce and the Boys playing their hearts out.
I can't wait to hear it live!
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VINE VOICEon January 21, 2014
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.
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on April 11, 2014
Springsteen is a genius. I would recommend this CD/DVD to anyone who understands that we all are connected. High Hopes lyrics are spot-on, the instrumentation and musical score are superb, and Bruce's phrasing and emphases are warm, tender and touching. His last song, Dream Baby Dream, is a great way to end the album---you feel as if the album doesn't really end, that hope and dreams go on. There are times when hope and dreams are life sustaining, but it really is our actions which achieve and sustain equity for all. Hope and dreams can be a nice oasis for when we need refreshment. Being proactive is what gets the job done, though. As usual, Mr. Springsteen gives us an abundance of songs on his CDs. He even includes a bonus DVD which gives us 12 songs. Bruce Springsteen respects his audience. He cares about us. He wants us to get our due for the money we spend for his albums--and for his concerts, as well. He knows what it is like to earn that money and he respects that. Gotta love a guy like this!
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on July 31, 2015
Primarily covers and unreleased tracks. The live track of "Ghost of Tom Joad" is much better than the studio version found here.
The DVD of a live run-through of the entire "Born in the USA" album is pretty awesome, except the extended jams on "Glory Days" and "Dancing in the Dark" make the finale of "My Hometown" seem anticlimactic compared to the album version.
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on September 27, 2014
Bruce is like a fine wine...BETTER with age! This version of The Ghost of Tom Joad is worth buying alone! Rocks! Bruce and Tom Morello (one of the world's greatest guitar players) bring a heartfelt, blow the roof off rendition of this Springsteen classic. Bruce is in TOP form on this album. If you have not seen a LIVE Bruce Springsteen concert, do yourself a favor, GO, but save me and my teenage daughter a place in the PIT (up front)!!! We had a wonderful time up there! Way too fun for words. You too will be inspired - TRULY AMAZING! The Boss surfed over our heads! Does this man seem like 65?!? Does he seem like 65!?! Nope, 35 is more like it! E- St. BAND...none better! The band he has assembled for his most recent tour (E-St. Members and other superior musicians) are simply the best. Thanks Bruce, for all of your great music over the years. Indeed..."See you further up down the road!" :) BRUUUUCE!
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on June 16, 2014
A solid release. A couple of songs don't cut it. Finally a decent version of "The Ghost of Tom Joad",(the album remains the worst of his releases), and a studio version of "41 Shots" are winners. The only down side of the album is Clarence is still badly missed.
He was the soul of the band. Still it is Springsteen so you can't go wrong.
The live DVD of the entire "Born in the USA" album proves as always they are the best live band ever. Making the 30 year old songs sound fresh, a must have,almost worth the price alone.
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