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'High Hopes'exceeds Springsteen fans' hopes

By Zachary Lederman
On January 22, 2014

I've always been a classic rock guy, and as a result, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band has always been high up on my radar. I can't say I've loved everything the boss has released (I'm looking at you, "Working on a Dream") but, I do firmly believe that 1975's "Born to Run" is one of the best albums ever released in the history of rock 'n roll. That being said, his newest album, "High Hopes", is certainly giving it a run for its money.
The album, which was released little over a week ago, features 12 tracks, including the titular single "High Hopes" as well as multiple other tunes, some of which are re-releases or re-imaginings of previous songs. According to the boss, all new releases are the best previously unreleased content from the last decade. If that's really the case, then I have to ask what it was about these songs that made them not worthy of being released previously!
The album kicks off with a bang with the aforementioned 'High Hopes' originally written by Tim Scott McConnell in 1987, but previously recorded in 1995, and now re-released. It's a great song with fantastic lyrics, reminiscent of "Born to Run" complimented by Bruce's powerful (yet notably aged) vocals. It certainly wasn't my favorite song on the album, but it definitely sets the mood for the rest of the song lineup.
The unreleased content is easily the star of this show. As I said earlier, I'm not sure what was the deciding factor in not releasing these songs years ago, but I hope it was worth denying us fans from amazing music for so long! Songs like "Harry's Place" and "This is Your Sword" do a great job of reminding us what a powerful voice Springsteen still has, and that has talent certainly hasn't waned over the span of his nearly 40-year career. "The Wall," which is probably my favorite, is one of the most powerful songs I've heard over the course of my life. If I were ranking Bruce Springsteen songs, I would certainly place it amongst the ranks of "Backstreets" and "Born to Run".
My only issue with this album was all of the rereleases. To me, it didn't seem like enough had been done to justify rereleasing them as 'remastered' despite the album's claim. As lovely as it is to have a walk down memory road, I already have all of these songs on my iPod, there's nothing particularly novel about hearing them again. Fortunately, the new material on the album easily justified the purchase, so I don't feel as though I've wasted any money.
If you're a fan of the boss, don't hesitate to purchase this album. It's got plenty of new material to keep you entertained, and the remastered songs, despite my previous criticism, serves as a nice little bonus.
 


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