Bruce Springsteen Returns With “High Hopes”

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 25 2013 12:03 PM

Bruce Springsteen Returns With “High Hopes”

Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello
The Boss seems to really like playing with Tom Morello.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

It’s only been a year since the release of 2012’s Wrecking Ball, but Bruce Springsteen is already coming back with a new album. How has the Boss whipped together a new batch of songs so quickly? The new album, High Hopes, will be a bit of an odds-and-ends LP, bringing together what Springsteen describes as “some of [the band’s] best unreleased material from the past decade.” Adding a layer of excitement to the material is guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, who features on eight of the album’s 12 tracks.

As a preview of the album, Springsteen has shared the title track and album opener, “High Hopes.” A version of the song was actually already released on the 1996 EP Blood Brothers, but here the band has piled into the studio to record a beefier version with more of a New Orleans sound, complete with a horn section, a marching rhythm, and some artful noise from Morello. The song itself remains fairly straightforward, with Springsteen pleading for “peace,” “love,” and “hope,” even in the face of all the world’s horrors.

For fans it’s good that this song and other live favorites from Springsteen and the band should finally be getting the recordings they deserve.* Check out the full tracklist, via Pitchfork, below:

01 High Hopes [ft. Tom Morello]
02 Harry's Place  [ft. Tom Morello]
03 American Skin (41 Shots)  [ft. Tom Morello]
04 Just Like Fire Would  [ft. Tom Morello]
05 Down in the Hole
06 Heaven's Wall  [ft. Tom Morello]
07 Frankie Fell in Love
08 This Is Your Sword
09 Hunter of Invisible Game  [ft. Tom Morello]
10 The Ghost of Tom Joad  [ft. Tom Morello]
11 The Wall
12 Dream Baby Dream  [ft. Tom Morello]
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High Hopes is out Jan. 14.

*Correction, Nov. 25, 2013: This post originally said that "High Hopes" was "not Springsteen's most brilliant work lyrically." In fact, the song was originally written and recorded by Tim Scott McConnell of the Havalinas.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer.