Album review: Bruce Springsteen, 'High Hopes' (Columbia)
A few low notes but the Boss has still got it covered
Though lacking the thematic unity one expects from Springsteen albums, High Hopes has much to recommend it, particularly the way that Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello has re-invigorated old material like “American Skin (41 Shots)” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad”.
The former, dating from 2000 but re-recorded as a tribute to Trayvon Martin, rides a fatalistic, descending throb eventually redeemed by euphoric breaks from Morello and saxist Jake Clemons; while the latter, once a Guthrie-esque solo acoustic plaint, gets the full power-chord treatment, climaxing in Morello’s extraordinary siren-guitar solo. These are the highlights of what is effectively a mop-up album of outtakes and cover versions which includes previously unreleased performances by the late Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici, restored vividly to life on the wistful “Down in the Hole”.
The most compelling of these outtakes is “The Wall”, a late-Nineties elegy for a local New Jersey rocker, Walter Cichon, who never returned from Vietnam. Over wistful accordion, organ and acoustic guitar, the singer surveys the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC, musing on Robert McNamara’s belated expression of regret. “Apology and forgiveness got no place here at all,” he decides.
Elsewhere, things are less impressive: “Frankie Fell in Love” is routine Springsteen street-opera, outtakes like “Harry’s Place” and the religiose “Heaven’s Wall” add little to his canon, while covers of The Saints’ “Just Like Fire Would” and Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream” fail to reveal any new depths. The frisky “High Hopes” is better, whisked along on horns and guitars, but the other notable rediscovery is the poignant “Hunter of Invisible Game”, with Bruce murmuring over lilting strings about his struggle to sustain the ethical nobility which is, ultimately, the rock upon which his career rests.
Download: American Skin (41 Shots); The Ghost of Tom Joad; The Wall; Hunter of Invisible Game
Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigourfilm
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
- 3 Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: In defence of Mesut Ozil - the Arsenal midfielder works magic in the shadows
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 5 Tony Abbott embarrasses Australia by praising Japanese WWII military, ‘getting on the sake’ and posing for ‘crotch-shot’ photo opportunity
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
Vanessa Feltz criticises 'vile' reaction to Rolf Harris allegations