The Boss is back. Actually, he never went away, and today Bruce Springsteen revealed that he's got "High Hopes" for 2014, a new album of rarities to help us get through these troubled times. The 12-song set is due on Jan. 14 from Columbia Records.
A video for the album's first single and title track is out now. It's directed by Thom Zimmy and features photos by Danny Clinch, mixed in with footage from Springsteen's Australian tour. The single is available now via iTunes.
The album, available for pre-order, features tracks produced by Springsteen with Ron Aniello, as well as recent collaborator Brendan O'Brien, with accompaniment by members of his long-time backing band, the E Street Band, and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello.
Longtime fans will also be thrilled to hear the set will include previously unreleased tracks featuring late E Street members saxophonist Clarence Clemons and keyboardist Danny Federici, who died in 2011 and 2008, respectively. Springsteen calls these songs "some of the best unreleased material from the past decade." He adds in the album's liner notes, "This is music I always felt needed to be released."
Springsteen reveals that it was Morello that inspired the inclusion of the title track, when he was filling in for Steve Van Zandt, who was off working on his Netflix show "Lilyhammer," during the March 2013 Austrialian leg of the "Wrecking Ball" tour.
"I was working on a record of some of our best unreleased material from the past decade when Tom Morello suggested we ought to add 'High Hopes' to our live set," Springsteen explains in the liner notes. "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."
Springsteen had previously issued the song on the 1995 "Blood Brothers" EP and it was heard in the documentary of the same name a year later.
"High Hopes" also includes a cover of "Dream Baby Dream" by another legendary punk band Suicide, and offers alternate studio takes of "The Ghost of Tom Joad" and "American Skin (41 Shots)." Other tracks include "The Rising" outtake "Harry's Place" and the Vietnam veteran-inspired "The Wall," co-written by Joe Gruschecky, which has popped up a few times in Springsteen live sets.
This isn't the first time that Springsteen has released a rarities set. In 1998, he issued "Tracks," a four-CD boxed set of outtakes.
Here's the complete "High Hopes" track-listing:
1. High Hopes
2. Harry's Place
3. American Skin (41 Shots)
4. Just Like Fire Would
5. Down In The Hole
6. Heaven's Wall
7. Frankie Fell In Love
8. This Is Your Sword
9. Hunter Of Invisible Game
10. The Ghost of Tom Joad
11. The Wall
12. Dream Baby Dream