Stream Springsteen’s “High Hopes” right here, then later in a primetime TV drama, what in the what?

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Well, not here, but HERE on Slate.com.

The stream is also available via Stereogum and CBS, the latter of which will build an episode of “The Good Wife” around the songs on the album. Which is how you promote albums these days, assuming you’re not playing halftime at the Super Bowl or the center of some luxury car advertising campaign or professional sport advertising campaign, or getting back together with the old band, or Opening Up about your Heartbreak or your Brave Recovery from Whatever, and so on and on and on.

In earlier times you’d think such artistic compromises would be cardinal sins; hard evidence of a broken spirit and/or moral chaos. But these days….when it comes to getting your work across to the people you do what you gotta do.

Bottom line: The album sounds good in my ears. Not quite the tectonic plate-rumbler of Wrecking Ball, but well above the confused mishmash of Workin’ On a Dream. What we have here is a decade-plus of studio leftovers, stage-enhanced versions of acoustic tunes and a handful of well-chosen cover songs.

BRUCE sightings: The Vatican, NPR and Jake Clemons’ book bag

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Some fun/exciting developments on the BRUCE front. And Dec 20 seems like the most perfect day to bring it up — it’s the 35th anniversary of the first Springsteen show I ever attended, at the Seattle Center Arena on December 20, 1978.

A stand-out night for me, and when I described the experience to Clarence Clemons in early 2011, and got to the part where my pal Bill Becker and I were hanging over the railing bellowing Bruuuuce! above where he and Bruce were walking arm-in-arm back to the dressing rooms Clemons nodded excitedly, as if some long mystery had just been clarified: “Ohhhh, that was you guys!” Didn’t crack a smile either, even after I started to laugh.

But anyway.

This week’s issue of The New Yorker features James Carroll’s profile of Pope Francis, which includes this surprising revelation about Antonio Spadero, one of the Vatican’s top Jesuits and editor of La Civiltà Cattolica:

“Before leaving Spadaro’s office, I looked again at the book on his table: it was “Bruce,” a biography of Bruce Springsteen. The book next to it—the breadth of a Jesuit’s interest!—was “Ratzinger: Opera Omnia.”

So that’s something.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Star Tribune had a quick chat with Jake Clemons recently, who revealed that he’s been filling in his knowledge of his employer by reading you-know-which biography. Jake added some nice thoughts about the book but even I’m not narcissistic enough to re-type them and put them here, so I’ll just say: Thanks, Jake.

Lastly: I’ll be on National Public Radio’s “Here & Now” at some point after Christmas talking about “Born to Run” and that sheet of lyrics that sold at auction for nearly $200,000 the other day. I’ll post the airdate when I hear it, but also check yer local listings.

Video of the day: Springsteen’s “High Hopes”

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By now you probably know: 1. That Bruce Springsteen’s new album, his 18th long-player of original(ish) recordings and compositions, is called High Hopes. 2. That it includes 12 songs, including several cover songs including the title track. 3. Which track has been released online today. 4. Along with this strikingly cool video, which takes the fractured mosaic visual style from the last few videos to new levels of action, imagery and symbolic whiz-bangery. 5. The album will be released on January 14, 2014, two months shy of the 2nd anniversary of Wrecking Ball‘s release date in March, 2012.

What strikes me at first viewing: That Tom Morello is the most (only?) visible band member; That the wah-wah guitar thing that happens about 2/3 of the way into the tune is “Shaft”-ing its way to the tippy-top of my heart; That the stop-motion/repeat-motion thing that happens at the same time, showing Bruce ripping at his acoustic guitar, captures the tension/fire in his performances in a new and striking way.

Check it out here:

BRUCE at Seaside, Oregon Public Library, Nov 21

Don't be late!

Don’t be late!

The weather’s great in Oregon today — blue skies, gentle breezes and okay so it’s pretty cold but hey, it’s nearly December so just bundle up and stop yer whining — so come on out to the coast and we’ll talk Springsteen at the Seaside Public Library.

The action starts at 7 pm and runs for 90 straight minutes. Readings, questions, answers, all in the key of ‘B.’ See what I did there? With the ‘B’?

So you should come. We’ll hang out.

Another rare Springsteen song: ‘Homestead’

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Heard originally on Joe Grushecky’s Bruce-produced American Babylon album in the mid-90s, “Homestead” is a Springsteen-Grushecky co-write that could fit easily on any post-“The River” Springsteen album. Grushecky fronted the song on his album, but somewhere along the way they recorded a Springsteen-led version. This is it, as played by Grushecky on his recent E Street Radio guest shot.

You’ll like it.