'High Hopes' is Bruce Springsteen's most disjointed album, and purposely so. Pulled together from various outtakes, cover songs and re-recordings from the past two decades, Springsteen's 18th album is looser and less structurally sound than anything he's released since becoming a star in the mid '70s. And without something more sturdy to hang his music and lyrics on, 'High Hopes' is somewhat aimless.
The first part of the '70s was tough for Eric Clapton. In addition to becoming so infatuated with his friend George Harrison's wife that he recorded an entire album about it (Derek and the Dominos' classic 'Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs'), he was deep into a heroin addiction that would temporarily sideline him.
Unlike Bob Dylan's similarly themed 'Bootleg Series,' the various volumes in Neil Young's 'Archives' haven't stretched out much. Aside from 2009's massive early-career box set and a couple of later concert documents, the albums in Young's ongoing series mostly have been live shows from the first few years of his solo period.
By the time the Beatles began their three-year relationship with the BBC, they could perform their mix of covers and originals in their sleep. Years of playing for drunken and disinterested audiences had sharpened their stage skills to the point where nothing could faze them -- not even playing the same songs over and over, week after week, for the BBC's various radio programs.
As everyone was trying to one-up each other in the later part of the '60s -- hoping to keep up with 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' and what it spawned -- Pete Townshend looked forward by looking back. While his contemporaries had psychedelic visions spiraling within their heads, the main songwriter and guitarist for the Who had something else in mind for his band.