The Boss is well-known for his prolific approach to music. Since 1973, Bruce has famously discarded thousands of rhythmic relics telling tales of love, loss, discovery and hope.
Songs like ‘Fire’, ‘Ain’t Good Enough For You’ and ‘Talk To Me’ became some The Boss’ most acclaimed rock’n’roll keepsakes when ‘The Promise’, Bruce’s 2010 compilation album, which picked up lost session recordings from ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’ , was released. Previously, Bruce had not back-tracked his work and bought out an album full of antique cuts from former records. The release of ‘The Promise’ signified a change in The Boss’ musical journey as he invited fans into a world which they have not been exposed to before, a deep rooted world of estranged artifacts which illustrated their beloved singers imagination, perception and apprehension.
For E-Street fans, the past two years have been an astonishing stimulation of melodic intensity and devil like ferocity on The Boss’ behalf. The release of ground-breaking album ‘Wrecking Ball’, and mass parade of live shows across the globe emulated the perpetual fire and passion that burns in the belly of the E-Street Nation. However, it was still unseen to many hopeful fans that just four years on from ‘The Promise’, that same electric empire would be adorned with further hair-raising heirlooms from their ballad-hawker hero, an honorary heirloom which sells a dream of faith and desire, belief and ambition, a heirloom entitled ‘High Hopes‘.
With it’s stories and tributes of tragedy; each one, hand crafted, across the Atlantic ocean, with stars, stripes and worn out flags, ‘High Hopes’ is drenched in Americana. ‘American Skin (41 Shots)’, written in 2000, was Bruce’s response to the Amadou Diallo shooting in New York City, controversy grew like bad weed around the song, although Bruce decreed that the tale was unbiased, holding no inclination of covert agenda, the song scarcely made it into set-list’s’s until Bruce re-visited the number in dedication to Trayvon Martin in 2012. In the linear notes of ‘High Hopes’, Bruce regarded the relics as ‘among the best of my writing and deserved a proper studio recording.”, undoubtedly displaying and justifying a track like ‘American Skin..’ made it into the collection.
‘The Ghost Of Tom Joad’ is a number which continues the albums western-esqu, memorial theme. ‘..Tom Joad’ made it’s fame playing title track to 1995 album ‘The Ghost Of Tom Joad’. Taking it’s inspiration from John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel ‘The Grape Of Wrath’, and Woody Guthrie’s ‘The Ballad Of Tom Joad’, Springsteen’a rendition dealt with themes of social transformation in America, along with the life and times of the weak, voiceless and ignored with lived within it. The song was covered by Rage Against The Machine in 1997, at a time when it was unknown to guitarist Tom Morello, that he would go to feature along side Bruce Springsteen and play the song,(along with others), on ‘High Hopes’.
Title track ‘High Hopes’ and power ballad ‘Just Like Fire Would’ are the god-summoning rock’n’roll pioneers of the records. Relentlessly rhythmic percussive sounds pushing against awe-inspiring guitar licks, (check out Morello’s electrifying solo work when introducing ‘Just Like Fire..’ and breaking down ‘High Hopes’ to intensify The Boss’s vibrant and lively vocals, ”I’ve got high hopes!”, Bruce roars upon a sensual soul driven saxophone riff , a sound fans of The Boss are already used to hearing and loving in aid from the late Clarence Clemons.
Past records from The Boss has shown us that there is no exciting anthems like ‘Dancing In The Dark’ with the softer, entrancing chime of ‘I’m On Fire’, no angst guided ballads of energetic ecstasy without the inert and haunting resonance of ‘The Angel’. Which is why, ‘High Hopes’ would not be complete without the eerie and frighteningly atmospheric serenades like ‘Down The hole’ and ‘Hunter Of Invisible Game’, to stand against the former thrilling numbers. ‘Down The Hole’ is Bruce Springsteen like you’ve never heard him before, the song is not only a look into a deep and dreary tale which lays echoed by chilling melodies and harmonies, the song is a deeper look in the man behind the music, behind the legend that is The Boss. Bruce’s children, Evan, Jessica and Samuel Springsteen all take the role of backing singers in this number, creating a sense of inner and outer community within the track, this addition lifts this song from a down-tempo bar-side ballad, and transposes it into a world-turning hymn of unnerving destruction and serene colored faith.
Over the past years, acclaimed artists alike have recall their melodic past to re-create the world in which they was once inspired by. 2012 saw the re-release of Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland‘, 2013 introduced Glen Campbells country curio’s with ‘See You There’ and Bob Dylan revisited ‘Self Portrait’ and ‘New Morning’ with his ‘Another Self Portrait’. Paying another tribute to past work can be hard or an artist to do, many times history has shown us it’s best to sometimes let it be, but with newly passion infused rhythms, unfamiliar yet enticing melodies and advanced chimes of optimism and prospect, ‘High Hopes’ is definitely one the most quintessential pieces of artistry for and music fans collection. Bruce’s renewed and resorted spirits of dedication, devotion and devoutness go to show that the finer things in life never get old, they simply turn to classic relics of artistry and virtuosity.