Fresh Beats with Brody: Bruce Springsteen – ‘High Hopes’ Review


If there’s one thing that has had no negative effect on Bruce Springsteen, it’s time. High Hopes is no exception and certainly no stranger in juxtaposition to the other seventeen albums he’s released thus far. High Hopes consists partially of odds and ends The Boss has written over the last decade, two of which including The Rising b-sides “Frankie Fell in Love” and “Down in the Hole”. When spinning these tracks, the fact that they were overlooked remains an enigma on it’s own. Other newly arranged tracks include “American Skin (41 Shots),” and an innovative 21st century take on “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” a song originally appearing in acoustic manifestation the album of the same released in 1995. This re-recording effortlessly blows the original away and stands as one of the album’s biggest feats. Along with these re-recordings and B-sides, High Hopes is also the first Springsteen record to include covers – The title track originally by the 1990’s eclectic rock group The Havalinas, and “Dream Baby Dream” by the proto punk group Suicide. As strange as it is that the lead single off High Hopes was The Boss’ rendition of Suicide’s classic, the song is powerful and dreamlike, somewhat of a Jersey car culture lullaby.


These additions not only bring a refined nostalgia to High Hopes, but they illuminate the new tracks which should feel like home for longtime fans. “Just Like Fire Would” is a flawlessly timed, alt-country influenced track with the familiar, anthemic charisma that frames nearly all of Springsteen’s work without losing it’s charm. “The Wall” carries as a melodic ballad; a picturesque spell cast by simplistic instrumentation and solemn, moving storytelling reminiscent of the singer’s youthful, Jersey roots. With these new tracks, we also see a return of the noir storytelling reminiscent of a much younger Bruce on the late 70’s/80’s records “Born to Run” “Darkness on the Edge of Town”, and “Nebraska” – A storytelling unseen on 2012’s politically angled “Wrecking Ball”. While High Hopes is a few footsteps away from classic when considering the spectrum of The Boss’ vast collection, High Hopes reigns as a worthy addition to the now eighteen album anthology – A record possessing that exact spark that continues to keep this ageless musician and everyone that’s played with him along the way relevant.

Be sure to check out High Hopes when it releases on January 14th! Until then, you can stream the record here.


Be sure to listen to: Just Like Fire Would

Image Credit: Columbia Records