“Bruce Springsteen’s” latest album, High Hopes, was released in 2014. It was a collaboration with Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who takes it upon himself to inject himself into other bands now it seems. I’m all for collaborations if they work, but the often times have disastrous results, which is what happened with High Hopes.
Tom Morello filled in on one of the many guitar parts Bruce utilizes on his tour leading up to the release of this album. Morello, a fan of Springsteen’s music, especially his early stuff, kept bringing up and discussing some of his older songs with Bruce, which eventually led to many of the songs being re-worked with Morello’s signature guitar sound. For the record I can’t stand Morello’s guitar sound; much like U2’s The Edge it’s put through so many pedals, programming and effects that it barely resembles a guitar when they’re done.
High Hopes is not even a new album in the truest sense, because it’s mostly full of re-worked older songs from Bruce’s past. Granted, some of the songs have not been officially released, but they all have been performed live at some point during Bruce’s career. There are also cover songs interspersed in the album as well.
To make matters worse, the vinyl versions cost $40 initially. Every place that was selling the album when it first came out was charging that, or close to it. It’s a an absurd price, considering Springsteen stuff is pressed in very large numbers, even his RSD releases. Everything post The Rising can still be easily found. Seeing the price, I held off on buying the record waiting for the inevitable price drop. The price drop took over one year to happen, but it finally did. I bought a copy for $19 shipped. This drastic price drop is not widespread however, as many prices are not marking down the album nearly as much. Many places are marking it down, but only by two of three dollars, which is still too much money for this album. The price is even more absurd when you take into account the laziness of the release and some of the cost cutting measures.
While most of Springsteen’s latest material is packaged very nicely for the vinyl version, High Hopes, unfortunately, is not. It was pressed as a double LP on 180 gram black vinyl, but that is the only thing that is over the standard treatment. The double LP comes not in a gatefold jacket, like it should, but an enlarged single pocket jacket, which everyone knows are flimsy pieces of garbage. Each LP comes in a poly lined paper dust sleeve, which is then slid into a full color glossy dust sleeve. The lyrics for every song are printed on these glossy dust sleeve. The lyrics are separated out by what side of the record (1-2-3-4, not A-B-C-D) they appear, so each side of the glossy dust sleeves has a certain side printed on it. Each side of the two dust sleeves has one side of the record printed on it. Side 4 of the dust sleeve has expansive liner notes printed on it written by Springsteen himself. It describes how the album came to be, sheds light on the recording process and some background info on some of the songs.
The aforementioned laziness of this release pertains to the attention to detail, specifically regarding the full color glossy dust sleeves. They are printed backwards, so Sides 2 and 4 appear on the front and Sides 1 and 3 appear on the back. Instead of a download card, which costs extra money to host on a website, a CD of the full album is included instead.