Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes
A shared history of political activism, rather than obvious musical lineage, bonds Tom Morello and The Boss. Hence why the Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist chose to accept Bruce Springsteen’s offer to fill in for right hand man Steve Van Zandt on the Australian leg of last year’s mammoth Wrecking Ball tour. And it was Morello’s presence that inspired the re-igniting of a project Springsteen had tinkered with for years.
Springsteen himself describes this new collection as “some of our best unreleased material from the past decade.” Some claim, indeed, with that period having seen him release six albums in various guises, much of it to broad acclaim. But by its very nature, (out-takes, originals without a home, covers) High Hopes lacks the cohesion of much of the recent catalogue.
The high sheen production could really do with roughing up but the less typical moments shine; a sharp take on Suicide’s Dream Baby Dream and tender original Down in the Hole are highlights in an admirable, largely likeable but, ultimately, far from essential set. See it as a spring clean of the archives, and, perhaps, an adieu to the big man Clarence Clemons, whose unmistakeable playing features here.