High Hopes Personnel
Bruce Springsteen High Hopes Personnel
The E Street Band
Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, guitar, percussion, bass, percussion loop, organ, synthesizers, piano, banjo, mandolin, vibraphone, drums (track 11)
Roy Bittan – piano, keyboards, accordion
Clarence Clemons – saxophone (tracks 2, 3)
Danny Federici – organ (tracks 2, 11)
Nils Lofgren – guitars, background vocals
Patti Scialfa – background vocals
Garry Tallent – bass
Steven Van Zandt – guitars, mandolin, background vocals
Max Weinberg – drums (except tracks 8 and 11)
Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band have finished their second full length album since legendary saxophone and tambourine player Clarence Clemons passed away in 2011. Stream High Hopes above, via Spotify. The official release is slated for January 14, 2014. You can pre-order at Amazon and iTunes.
In many ways, High Hopes is a continuation of Springsteen's previous album, Wrecking Ball, released in 2012. The album was recorded during the Wrecking Ball World Tour and the personnel are very similar, with The E Street Band providing the main backing parts. Max Weinberg once again proves himself as a great and powerful rock drummer, capable of playing with soft and subtle nuance as well as driving a big beat. The horn section of Jake Clemons, Ed Manion, Barry Danielian, Clark Gayton, Stan Harrison, and Curt Ramm give a fresh sound to the album, as "High Hopes" combines rock with a New Orleans funky jazz.
Ron Aniello's stamp as producer is all over the album, with electronic drum loops present on several songs and a lot of the same sonic characteristics of Wrecking Ball, which had been the first album he produced with Springsteen. Brendan O'Brien, who produced and mixed 4 albums with Springsteen from 2002 to 2009, is also credited as producer.
One of the biggest differences between the two albums is that High Hopes features 3 cover songs, while Wrecking Ball featured all original tunes. The opening song, and the album's namesake, "High Hopes," was written by Tim Scott McConnell and first released by his band The Havalinas in 1990. The closing song, "Dream Baby Dream," was first released by a band called Suicide in 1979. The third cover, "Just Like Fire Would," was released in 1986 by The Saints.
Another notable element of the High Hopes album is that Tom Morello is featured prominently, as he appears on 8 out of 12 tracks as a lead guitar player and trades lead vocal parts with Springsteen on a haunting "The Ghost Of Tom Joad" which was a staple cover for Rage Against The Machine, after it was first released by Springsteen in 1995. Morello filled in for Springsteen's usual #1 guitar player Steven Van Zandt on tour in Australia when Van Zandt was filming his new television series Lillyhammer.
Another political song, "American Skin (41 Shots)" was originally released in 2001 in response to the death of Amadou Diallo. After Trayvon Martin was gunned down by George Zimmerman and found not guilty, Springsteen began playing the song as a tribute to Martin.
In all, a very enjoyable album. Springsteen continues to make great music with an enlightened blue collar attitude and important things to say. This is a melting pot of rock and roll, gospel, folk, blues, jazz, funk, and electronic music that all come together into a single cohesive work of art.