Bruce Springsteen: High Hopes - album review

Unnecessary but endearingly earnest set of offcuts from The Boss

High Hopes
Springsteen spent his heyday rewriting and keeping much of his best material in the vaults because it didn’t fit whatever conceptual narrative he was telling –1978’s high-watermark Darkness on the Edge of Town alone generated 30-plus shelved tunes. Which makes The Boss’ decision to release this ragtag bag of recent outtakes (from 2002 to today), covers and re-recorded classics (‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’ and ‘American Skin (41 Shots)’. The muse behind these reimaginings is Tom Morello, whose temporary slot in the E Street Band led to his appearance on two-thirds of this collection. Revolutionary as a member of The Rage Against the Machine, in High Hopes, Morello’s trademark tricks verge from dazzling to parody but never sit alongside the traditional Bossisms. It’s an intriguing pairing, but a proper joint-penned collaboration is surely necessary to justify a full LP. As it is, we’re left with a set of schizophrenic Springsteen offcuts peppered with cool/garish guitar weirdness. Not that we’re necessarily complaining.
Rob Garratt

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