At the top of his documentary, 'Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes,' Springsteen reveals that the impetus behind his newest album comes from "trying to resolve something that's bothering me internally...even after all these years." 'High Hopes' might be the title of his latest album, its signature song and this documentary, but, despite all the accolades and fame and glory, it's probably what also astutely describes the most important thing the Boss possesses.
The half-hour documentary, which airs April 4 on HBO, explores the creation of Springsteen's latest album (his 18th). Despite much publicity (including a stint on this season's 'The Good Wife'), the album reached the No. 1 position in 20 countries after its January release, but, like the documentary, the record's success most likely has more to do with the enduring charm of the Boss and his continued dedication to make music that means something, than any marketing ploy could ever conjure.
Rehearsal footage of the 64-year old in a tight black tank, draped in chains and buffed biceps exposed, confirms to us Springsteen is still that Jersey boy who the U.S.A. (and the rest of the world) fell in love with 40 years ago. Springsteen is nothing short of passionate when it comes to his craft after all of these years, which is apparent as he describes the feelings of "discomfort" and his "obsessive compulsive" nature that comes with creating and selecting songs for 'High Hopes' and citing his unsung heroes who served as inspiration, including fellow New Jersey musician, Walter Cichon.
Springsteen, a fan of Cichon's New Jersey band, The Motifs, acknowledges the tireless dedication of his own fans, both new and old, who have stuck by him throughout the years, even after the death of Clarence Clemons, his long-time saxophonist, and the reinvention of his E Street Band. Footage from Springsteen's last concert tour shows hundreds of thousands of fans packing in stadiums to catch a glimpse of the Boss, and really, this is exactly why such a documentary exists.
There is nothing extraordinary about it. Sure, it's fascinating to watch one of the greatest, living rock 'n' roll musicians of our time, rock out and explain his reason for being, and how his artistic process works (meditation is involved), but non-fans will probably tune out. This doc is made for those fans who watched the Boss in the pouring rain and loved every minute of it because, well, he's the Boss.
'High Hopes' reunites Springsteen with Grammy and Emmy-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny, who previously directed 'The Promise: The Making of ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ and features reveaing interviews with Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, who collaborated with Springsteen on 'High Hopes," which included texting lyrics to the Boss in the middle of the night. Familiar faces crop up in the rehearsal segments, like long-time band member, Steve Van Zandt, and Springsteen's wife/back-up singer/producer, Patti Scialfa, but the doc is Springsteen's baby, and, let's face it, this is why we're watching it in the first place.
At the end of the doc, Springsteen asks what some of us have probably wondered: why a grown man of his age would "go onstage and drain himself and exhaust himself?"
Then he answers: Because he has to.
And we're so glad he does.
'Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes' premieres April 4 at 9:30/8:30c on HBO.
Brucie looks like grandpa material nowadays. But, hey, he's a legend who has been recording for 40/41 years now; so, you know, just appreciate that he's still with us.
Message Posted On Apr 2nd, 2014, 12:47 pm
The Boss is an utterly immense phony and has not made a truly evocative album for two decades. In other words, he's the perfect draw for the HBO crowd.
Message Posted On Apr 2nd, 2014, 12:40 pm
I'm undecided as to whether Springsteen is a sellout or has simply evolved. His early work was an urban Dylanesque poetry. Later he went all John Mellencamp all American guy. Yes his music is still wonderful but far different than when I saw him at St. Bonaventure in the 70's. My problem is the shift to a broader base. Was it artistic desire or corporate profit which caused the change of direction? Would that make him a reverse Todd Rundgren, creating his own music first then becoming influenced by the allure of big bucks and coming under the sway of corporate masters. Someday maybe someone will discuss his evolution. Maybe Bob Dylan could be in the same room offering his insights regarding his own perceived sellouts.
Level 1 (98%) Since: 07/Oct/13
Message Posted On Apr 2nd, 2014, 11:17 am
I love the boss! And this review. Looking forward to it!