High Hopes, the 18th studio album from Bruce Springsteen was released worldwide in January 2014.
The album features Springsteen’s regular backing band, the E Street Band, and guitarist Tom Morello. Springsteen said that the new music was “some of our best unreleased material from the past decade” and among the best of his writing and deserved a proper studio recording.
So far the album has gone to #1 in 10 countries including the UK which was his 10th #1 album there.
Track by track review
1. High Hopes
The title track and the lead single off the record starting it all off. The sound of the single sounds like a new reinvention of himself with classic Springsteen at the same time. 8/10
2. Harry’s Place
So jazzy and soulful. Sounds like a modern day slowed down version of Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi but with less emotion. 8/10
3. American Skin (41 Shots)
Some of his very best lyrics. You can tell this is one of his most personal songs. The only downfall is that it’s a little too long. 7 minutes is milking it a little bit. Shortened to 5 minutes would have been more appropriate. 7/10
4. Just Like Fire Would
A cover. But one done justice and made his own. If you didn’t know the original song you would totally think this is a Springsteen song. 8/10
5. Down In The Hole
As soon as it gets to about 1 minute 30 I get instant ‘I’m On Fire’ vibes from it. Sounds like a song from his mid 80’s era. Not as great as his 80’s stuff, but it has potential. 6/10
6. Heaven’s Wall
As soon as the track kicks in you can tell instantly there is a slight different approach to the track from what we’re used to hearing from him. There is a slight soul and gospel feel to it as well as his classic rock vibe. The energy is incredible and would be an amazing show opener for his tour. 8/10
7. Frankie Fell In Love
A great singalong track with care free lyrics. This would go great down at a festival. 8/10
8. This Is Your Sword
Sounds like early Springsteen. The lyrics aren’t the best for his standards but nothing terrible. 6/10
9. Hunter of Invisible Game
Very calm and quiet. Not the most moving track and could have been left off. It’s not the most memorable track on this record. 6/10
10. The Ghost of Tom Joad
I’m not really a fan of songs that go on too long and again, over 7 minutes is far too long for a song which would have been shortened down to 5 minutes. 6/10
11. The Wall
Beautiful trumpet solo near the end. It kind of complete’s the song and saves it from becoming boring and forgotten since there seems to a be a few slow numbers on this record. 7/10
12. Dream Baby Dream
Easily one of the best songs on the record and it finishes the album really nicely. Another cover he has made his own, really great. The track at times reminded me of a more slow downed version of All That Heaven Will Allow. 8/10
Overall album rating: 7/10
Key tracks: High Hopes, Harry’s Place, Heaven’s Wall, Frankie Fell In Love, Dream Baby Dream.