Bruce Springsteen calls his new album, High Hopes, an anomaly. The record is comprised mostly of new versions of songs he has recorded before, but even the “new” songs have been works-in-progress for years. Springsteen talked with Rolling Stone at great lengths about the LP, out next week (but that you can stream now!). Here’s five things we took away from the length interview.
1. There’s an album of electronic music, a la “Streets Of Philadelphia,” that he’s been working on since the ’90s. “I made an entire record similar to that record, where I was using drum loops. I’ve been listening to that for almost 20 years… I’ll pick it out sometimes every two or three years and I’ll see if I have any fresh insights. And if not, I put it away, and if I do I may work on it a little bit.”
2. He’s working on an album that he started before 2012’s Wrecking Ball. Springsteen was working on a more stripped-down album when he got sidetracked by the project that became Wrecking Ball, and he’s finally back to working on that album at the moment. “I was missing a song for that record and so I wrote ‘Easy Money,'” he said. “‘Easy Money’ then turned into a 10-day recording session where I wrote and recorded all the rest on ’em, a completely different album.” Later in the conversation, interviewer Andy Greene returned to the subject of that album and if it will come out next: “I don’t know. [That’s] the only thing in this entire conversation where I don’t know exactly what I’m doing.”
3. He feels that his best songs need to have authorized, studio versions. And that’s why he will do studio versions of songs like “Land Of Hope and Dreams” and “American Land” (both of which appeared on Wrecking Ball) and “American Skin (41 Shots)” and the electric version of “The Ghost Of Tom Joad” (which are on High Hopes) years after debuting them in concert. Regarding the latter two songs: “Those were two songs that I said, ‘Okay, these are two of my best songs that I’ve written over the past 10 or 20 years.’ And they didn’t have a formal presentation on a studio record. When that happens, a song always loses a little of its authority.”
– Brian Ives, Radio.com