It's hard to believe this is Bruce Springsteen's 18th studio album, yet the veteran rocker shows no sign of slowing down.
High Hopes, Springsteen's 11th No. 1 album in the US, still boasts the singer's begrudging working-class perspective and enduring rock 'n' roll attitude.
The 12-track album starts big with the title song. The good mix of acoustic and electric guitar, which accompanies Springsteen's husky vocal, kick-starts the track, which later turns into a saxophone-driven anthem.
The adrenaline rush subsides in third track American Skin (41 Shots), in which Springsteen mourns the killing of a black man, Amadou Bailo Diallo, by New York City police officers. The reflective lyrics and Springsteen's rare tenderness are a reminder of the seriousness of racism in everyday America. Diallo was shot 41 times.
This Is Your Sword begins with something that sounds like a bagpipe. It's worth a listen. And tracks such as Frankie Fell in Love and Hunter of Invisible Game display touches of folk music.
Although some might think this album isn't remotely pertinent to today's teens, High Hopes is catchy, full of narratives and lessons, and just as relevant as Avril Lavigne's break-up rock.