Bruce Springsteen fans from Asbury Park and beyond blog about The Boss
FANS REACT: Mixed responses to Springsteen’s High Hopes’
About this blog
The writers of this blog are not music critics, and they don't consider a second (or third, fourth or fifth) mortgage to be a perfectly reasonable course of action to pay for front-row tickets, but despite being a whole lot more middle aged than
The writers of this blog are not music critics, and they don't consider a second (or third, fourth or fifth) mortgage to be a perfectly reasonable course of action to pay for front-row tickets, but despite being a whole lot more middle aged than they were when they first put \x34Born in the U.S.A.\x34 or \x34The River\x34 down on the turntable, still feels like Bruce has something -- OK, a lot of things -- to say about our country and the way we live our lives, things that not a lot of other artists are saying. And whether he's talking about the knife that can cut this pain from your heart, the house that's waiting for you to walk in or what that flag flying over the courthouse means, he's nailing down feelings that are so universal that they can raise your spirits and break your heart at the same time. Plus, let¹s face it, the man rocks.
Sure, people had their issues with 2009′s “Working on a Dream.” But is it me, or is the reaction to “High Hopes” even more explosive?
As far as professional critics go, some people love it and some people hate it, and you get the impression that if you put them in the same room together, blood might be shed. And then there’s the Washington Post, which said they love it but justify their argument by saying his last bunch of albums stunk, which seems like an odd approach. (For the record, we though the album was mostly pretty darn good, albeit not a cohesive classic.) Opinions on the individual songs differ just as wildly: For instance, many praise “Harry’s Place” for its gritty tone, and just as many say it’s as cheesy as an ’80s cop show. (Cue “Miami Vice” theme …)
Fans seem equally divided, some of them praising it unabashedly and others disgusted. Part of that is probably due to the insistence of Springsteen Inc. that this collection of older songs and outtakes is a “new” album, as if it’s just like “Darkness on the Edge of Town” was when it came out in 1978. As reader Robert Lefebvre pointed out, if “High Hopes” was presented a bonus disc to a “Tracks 2,” diehards would have been much more forgiving. “That says more about the reviewers than the songs themselves,” Robert argues, and we tend to agree.
As it is, it seems a good number feel like the Boss is phoning it in — except for all the people who love it. (And don’t get people started on Tom Morello: He’s great! He’s annoying! He brings things to a new level! He’s cheesy as hell! etc.) In short, not a lot of in-between on “High Hopes,” as you can tell from a small sampling of the comments collected from the Blogness Facebook page and Twitter feed. Read them below, add yours at the bottom, and answer our poll about which track you skip the most:
Rob Kulessa: Outside of The Wall it is an incredibly unremarkable record. The Wall is one of his finest songs regardless of era … No matter how you slice it, it isn’t a great record. Here’s another way of looking at it. If this were Bruce’s first album and you never heard of him, do you buy this record? The answer to me is no. Aside from The Wall I would shrug my shoulders and wonder who the 80′s retread was on TGOTJ trying to shred and merely sucking the oxygen out of the song. The only reason this record has any life is because of Springsteen’s reputation.
Dave Michael: I give it 4.5 Besides High Hopes, the rest is GREAT
Jim Boothe: I’m sorry but some of us would like, and expect better than an album hastily thrown together with covers and songs released on previous albums. I’ll say it again, lazy work! … With the last three or four releases, it has become painfully obvious to me that Bruce has lost a good deal of creativity. It’s also become painfully obvious that some of his fans will buy, and like, anything he puts out.
Jackie Murphy: Lazy?!!! The man has a catalog of songs we have never even heard. Bruce and lazy should never be mentioned together.
Matthew Orel: On a star system, I’d give 3… or maybe 3.5. I like the idea, but there’s too much here that just doesn’t work.
Anne Breen Heininger: I actually like the album. It was made on the road so…I could live w/o Morello simply because he is not E Street. I think the big disappoint maybe that it’s not all new music. There was space on that vinyl for new stuff and he definitely has it in him!!! American Skin and TGOTJ still kill me though…I just wish it was an E Street new album. But I’ve stopped comparing Bruce to Bruce a long time ago and I just listen. Eventually he leads me somewhere…and I survive.
George Kovacik: I heard today and I give it an “A.” I wasn’t expecting it to be so good, but I love it.
David Hensel: I’m not a fan of this producer, and there is a little too much Tom Morello (I could have done without him trading vocals on “Tom Joad”) but there are some good and even more great songs on this record. He has everything you’d ever want in a rock band now, I wish he would just let them cut all of this live and move away from the loops, effects, and voice distortion of the past few records. I’d like to see what Bruce and this version of E Street could do with someone like Rick Rubin, Buddy Miller, or T-Bone Burnett. Sometimes these effects can work but too much of it makes things sound a little too artificial for me and takes away from the songs. I like the record though but it does feel like more of a stop gap, in between album, a companion piece to Wrecking Ball that freshens up the tour as it keeps going. Can’t wait ot hear some of this stuff live but I’m really looking forward to what comes next.
Colby Crossley: Streaming High Hopes against my own will. One question. WHY THE F–K ARE PEOPLE COMPLAINING???