USA Today’s Brian Mansfield notes the optimistic tone of the album’s first tracks, which takes on a more somber note as the album goes on. Like Billboard’s review, USA Today’s notes the influences, which move Springsteen’s familiar music in a new and refreshing direction. “The best moments on High Hopes often come from its most familiar songs, but Springsteen, now 64, sounds musically invigorated. To his credit, High Hopes pushes Springsteen's style forward rather than keeping it too rooted in a fading past,” writes Mansfield.
Tom Morello's influence is what takes the album to another level.
According to The Independent's Andy Gill, High Hopes is much less cohesive, lacking the thematic unity of Springsteen’s previous albums. The album is worth a listen however, even just for the old material like “American Skin (41 Shots)” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad”, revived by Morello’s influence. “American Skin” dates back to 2000, but has been re-recorded for the album as a tribute to Trayvon Martin. Some songs do fall flat, says Gill, like “Harry’s Place” and the religiose “Heaven’s Wall”, which “add little to his canon, while covers of The Saints’ “Just Like Fire Would” and Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream” fail to reveal any new depths.”
Despite a few hits and misses, High Hopes marks an obvious evolution for Springsteen.
High Hopes will be available for purchase on January 14, but can now be streamed for free at cbs.com/springsteen.