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| 3 January 2014

14 January 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Bruce Springsteen - High Hopes CD

Essentially a collection of cast offs, covers and bits n’ pieces, High Hopes may not be the best or most cohesive album Springsteen has released, but there is plenty to enjoy here-in – after all, The Boss’s cast-offs are often better than many band’s highlights.

Citing Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello as muse for the record, the noisenik can be heard playing throughout, giving the songs a nice edge of fire and brimstone where necessary.

Best in show are the powerful American Skin (41 Shots) – originally written after the 1999 shooting of African immigrant Amadou Diallo by four NYPD officers, finally getting a worthy studio treatment; Just Like Fire Would – Springsteen gives Chris Bailey’s Saints hit single of 1986 the full E Street Band treatment to great rousing effect; Frankie Fell In Love’s iconic blue collar rock n’ roll, which nobody does better; Hunter Of Invisible Game’s bleak lyrical themes of sadness, despair and futility set to an almost 50’s string arrangement that keep the glumness at bay and even inject some hope into the mix; and album closer Dream Baby Dream, a cover from New Yorker’s Suicide that Springsteen has played live on and off for years, here he delivers it as an uplifting prayer to hope, making it a wonderfully fitting end to High Hopes.

Elsewhere This Is Your Sword tries hard but just doesn’t quite get across the line despite a hurdy gurdy and mandolin added to a latter-day Born In the USA style chest beater; and Ghost Of Tom Joad – last seen as a stark acoustic ballad, is given the full rock band treatment here, complete with some searing solos from Morello, but it’s a touch more bluster than the song needs, and only just doesn’t quite live up to the original.

There are also a few E Street Band-by-numbers tracks which are still engaging and occasionally powerful, so overall it’s as solid as a mish mash collection can be, and a worthy addition to the collection in advance of The Boss’s extensive Australian tour in March.


Category: CD Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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