Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes

 
(i)

 

Album documentary is best for longtime fans of The Boss.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Viewers glimpse the process by which a studio album is produced, from writing lyrics to perfecting the sound behind them. Artists talk about the sources of their inspiration and what they hope to accomplish by their work. Some lyrics touch on serious issues like war and death in thoughtful, metaphorical terms that reflect the artists' respect for the topics. 

Positive role models

The documentary shows Springsteen to be a consummate professional who takes pride in his work and appreciates his fans' loyalty. He surrounds himself with people who bring out the best in him, and he finds inspiration in real-life struggles of humanity. 

Violence

Some songs touch on war or death in metaphorical ways.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

One instance of "s--t" in a song lyric. 

Consumerism

The show offers intriguing insight into Springsteen's artistic process, but it also acts as a lengthy commercial for his High Hopes album, featuring samples of many of the tracks. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some song lyrics include references to drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes chronicles the production process behind Springsteen's 18th studio album, High Hopes. It features segments of many of the album's tracks as well as interviews with Springsteen and his collaborative partner, Tom Morello. There's no iffy content to speak of, but you'll hear "s--t" in one song lyric, and others refer to smoking, drinking, and serious themes like war and death. Springsteen fans are sure to enjoy this poignant glimpse into the workings of a music master and his crew, but others may see it as a lengthy ad for the High Hopes album itself. 

What's the story?

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S HIGH HOPES is a 30-minute documentary about the making of The Boss' 18th studio album, High Hopes. The project comprises previously unreleased songs and covers as well as some re-recordings, all of which have been updated for the album. Interviews with Springsteen and Tom Morello, who lent his musical expertise to the project, let fans see how songs were chosen and developed as well as what the album means to each of them. Concert scenes and recording sessions are interspersed between the interviews as well.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes taps into the mind of a modern musical genius to give fans a sense of what makes him tick and how he translates that into chart-topping hits. It's an intimate glimpse behind the curtain, but one on which the jovial Springsteen seems happy to lead viewers, and his self-deprecating demeanor is a refreshing change of pace from the celebrity egos that often steal today's headlines. Fans come away from this documentary with a new respect for the Boss' strong work ethic and a better understanding of the sources behind his trademark metaphorical lyrics in songs like "The Wall" and "Hunter of Invisible Game."

That said, this project is obviously geared toward faithful Springsteen fans whose familiarity with his decades-long resume will give them better appreciation for how he talks about his latest work, which includes veteran songs that never made the cut for his previous albums. Newcomers will still enjoy the backstage tour of the production process, but they may also get the sense that the documentary is designed to sell albums as well as to entertain fans.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how entertainment veterans like Springsteen hold up against today's music stars. Is his music relevant to younger listeners' lives? Is he "showy" enough to compete for the spotlight? What gives some stars staying power and others not? 

  • Springsteen talks about drawing inspiration for his art from the brokenness of humanity. Do you agree with his statement that everyone is broken in some way? Does this seem true of celebrities, too? How do you think their personal lives compare to what we see on the screen? 

  • Teens: Do you know of any artists who successfully bridge the generational divide? What makes their appeal more timeless than that of others? In general, do you think modern celebrities are rewarded more for their talent or their shock value

TV details

Cast:Bruce Springsteen
Network:HBO
Genre:Reality TV
Topics:Arts and dance, Music and sing-along
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes was written by

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Quality

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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