High Hopes

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Commercially Released: January 14, 2014 (High Hopes) / April 18, 2014 (American Beauty)
Produced by Bruce Springsteen, Brendan O'Brien and Ron Aniello
Recorded by Toby Scott, assisted by  Ross Petersen, Nick DiDia (High Hopes)
 and Rob Lebret (American Beauty) at Thrill Hill Studios*
Mixed by Bob Clearmountain, assisted by Brandon Duncan at Mix This!, Mix LA,
 Henson Recording Studios, Southern Tracks
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering
Design by Michelle Holme
Photography by Danny Clinch, assisted by Edward Smith and Nyra Lang

* A total of sixteen studios were used, see below for full list, including their assistant engineers.

Overview

The High Hopes story begins on December 9, 2012. Springsteen called producer Ron Aniello to say that he had some songs that he wanted Aniello to work on. He presented him with a collection of demos, older songs, saying "We're gonna get these in shape and see what we've got." However, Springsteen was currently halfway through the Wrecking Ball Tour, which meant convening for sessions was difficult, if not impossible to achieve. As such, much of the recording work was undertaken by Aniello in Los Angeles and New York, E Street sessions in Australia in March 2013 and also band members adding parts individually at recording studios around the country. Most of the demos appear to be from the 2002-2008 period, and those recordings form the basis of the final result found on the album. According to Aniello, a total of twenty songs were recorded during this period, so eight were cut, including some of Aniello's favourites. Four of these rejected tracks (three mentioned by Aniello, plus "Hurry Up Sundown") were later released on the American Beauty EP for Record Store Day on April 19, 2014. The fourth song title revealed by Aniello, "Cold Spot", remains unreleased.

For a limited time High Hopes came with a Bonus DVD Born In The U.S.A. Live.

American Beauty is a four-song EP by Bruce that was released on limited edition (7,500 copies) 12-inch vinyl exclusively for ’Record Store Day’ on April 19, 2014. A digital download version was also released on April 22, 2014. The four songs that appeared on the EP are outtakes from Bruce’s 2014 album High Hopes. Bruce said of the four songs, "they're just good music that didn't get onto this record, and was sitting there. I thought it's a nice time to support the record stores, which are dwindling and get some new music out at the same time."

Liner Notes

Bruce Springsteen on High Hopes
I was working on a record of some of our best unreleased material from the past decade when Tom Morello (sitting in for Steve during the Australian leg of our tour) suggested we ought to add "High Hopes" to our live set. I had cut "High Hopes," a song by Tim Scott McConnell of the LA based Havalinas, in the 90's. We worked it up in our Aussie rehearsals and Tom then proceeded to burn the house down with it. We re-cut it mid tour at Studios 301 in Sydney along with "Just Like Fire Would," a song from one of my favorite early Australian punk bands, The Saints (check out "I'm Stranded"). Tom and his guitar became my muse, pushing the rest of this project to another level. Thanks for the inspiration Tom.
Some of these songs, "American Skin" and "Ghost of Tom Joad," you'll be familiar with from our live versions. I felt they were among the best of my writing and deserved a proper studio recording. "The Wall" is something I'd played on stage a few times and remains very close to my heart. The title and idea were Joe Grushecky's, then the song appeared after Patti and I made a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. It was inspired by my memories of Walter Cichon. Walter was one of the great early Jersey Shore rockers, who along with his brother Ray (one of my early guitar mentors) led the "Motifs". The Motifs were a local rock band who were always a head above everybody else. Raw, sexy and rebellious, they were the heroes you aspired to be. But these were heroes you could touch, speak to, and go to with your musical inquiries. Cool, but always accessible, they were an inspiration to me, and many young working musicians in 1960's central New Jersey. Though my character in "The Wall" is a Marine, Walter was actually in the Army, A Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry. He was the first person I ever stood in the presence of who was filled with the mystique of the true rock star. Walter went missing in action in Vietnam in March 1968. He still performs somewhat regularly in my mind, the way he stood, dressed, held the tambourine, the casual cool, the freeness. The man who by his attitude, his walk said "you can defy all this, all of what's here, all of what you've been taught, taught to fear, to love and you'll still be alright." His was a terrible loss to us, his loved ones and the local music scene. I still miss him.
This is music I always felt needed to be released. From the gangsters of "Harry's Place," the ill-prepared roomies on "Frankie Fell In Love" (shades of Steve and I bumming together in our Asbury Park apartment) the travelers in the wasteland of "Hunter Of Invisible Game," to the soldier and his visiting friend in "The Wall", I felt they all deserved a home and a hearing. Hope you enjoy it.

Bruce Springsteen on American Beauty
American Beauty is a collection of songs I cut at home. Upon revisiting them for High Hopes I recognized their potential and Ron Aniello and I worked on them until we'd turned them into the music before you. In the song “American Beauty,” I get to sing in a part of my range I don’t often visit and that along with its ‘guitar wall of sound’ gives it a little 'exile on E Street' power. "Mary Mary" is a lovely mystery, a small piece of heartbreak poetry that sneaks up on you with its slippery grove, punctuated string section and spectral lyrics. It came closest to making the High Hopes cut. "Hurry Up Sundown" is a fun piece of modern power pop, while "Hey Blue Eyes" rounds out the EP with one of my darkest political songs. Written during the Bush years, it's a metaphor for the house of horrors our government’s actions created in the years following the invasion of Iraq. At its center is the repressed sexuality and abuse of power that characterized Abu Ghraib prison. I feel this is a shadow we as a country have yet to emerge from.

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1. HIGH HOPES 4:57 HOPES
2. HARRY'S PLACE 4:04 HOPES
3. AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS) 7:23 HOPES
4. JUST LIKE FIRE WOULD 3:56 HOPES
5. DOWN IN THE HOLE 4:59 HOPES
6. HEAVEN'S WALL 3:50 HOPES
7. FRANKIE FELL IN LOVE 2:48 HOPES
8. THIS IS YOUR SWORD 2:52 HOPES
9. HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME 4:42 HOPES
10. THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD 7:33 HOPES
11. THE WALL 4:20 HOPES
12. DREAM BABY DREAM 5:00 HOPES

Total Running Time: 56:32

Additional Information

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