Bruce Springsteen High Hopes
For a collection of what Bruce Springsteen terms the E Street Band’s “best unreleased material from the past decade,” High Hopes is surprisingly cogent. The horn-peppered title track—a cover of a Tim Scott junkyard-folk tune—is slicker than Springsteen’s mid-’90s version, while the romance-drunk “Frankie Fell in Love” boasts clever lyrics and exuberant bar-band bluster.
Elsewhere, deceased E Streeters Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici make poignant appearances. The former’s sax adds moody grit to the gangster blues of “Harry’s Place,” while the latter’s somber organ elevates “The Wall.” High Hopes’ secret weapon, however, is frequent Boss collaborator Tom Morello. The guitarist adds bombastic playing to a strident redo of “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and more subtle color to an atmospheric, electronic-tinted cover of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream.”
High Hopes is a solid indication of where Springsteen & Co. have been—and where they’re going in the future.