I’ve never had the chance to be disappointed by a Bruce Springsteen album.
As a relatively new Springsteen obsessive – I’ve only been on board this train for about 5 years – I still feel privileged for any new E Street release in my lifetime.
After all, the wrecking ball will find it’s mark at one point or another on every life. Even Bruce Springsteen will succumb to time. So I’m usually giddy with any news of new Springsteen music.
So, as Bruce’s latest album High Hopes is released worldwide today, why am I so underwhelmed?
Maybe it’s because I haven’t been much into music lately. Though I’ve enjoyed adding to my vinyl collection in the past year, 2013 wasn’t a big music year for me. I’ve honestly been far more into podcasts lately. (Shout out to Colt Cabana!)
Maybe it’s because High Hopes is a different kind of album. Instead of being all original tunes, this release is a collection of B-sides, rarities, and remakes.
It’s exciting to hear some long lost tracks and some re-imagined ones with new collaborator Tom Morello in Bruce’s band for the first time. But the hype hasn’t really been out in full force for this release. There’s a more muted excitement around the Springsteen fanbase.
Or maybe it’s just because I’m expecting too much from Bruce Springsteen.
I expect Springsteen’s music to have a profound impact on my life. I expect his songs to move me beyond what the average pop song does. I expect to get lost in the soulful sounds of the Clemons family saxophones. I expect to find answers to all of life’s struggles in Bruce’s intricate lyrics.
I expect all of these things because they have been true in the past.
Sure, I love even lesser Springsteen music more than just about anything else on my iPod. And there’s a lot in these new songs to love (I really dig “Heaven’s Wall”, “Just Like Fire Would” and the reworked “Ghost of Tom Joad”).
But as an album, I don’t know. High Hopes is not quite what I was expecting.
Maybe if I just lowered my expectations I would not be disappointed. If i didn’t expect so much out of The Boss maybe I could enjoy this album a bit more.
Lowering your expectations seems like a good way to get more enjoyment out of life. If hopes aren’t too high, then more things have the ability to surprise you with their awesomeness.
Sure. I think this line of thinking works sometimes. You go see a movie you’re not expecting much from. It entertains you well enough. You probably enjoyed it more because you weren’t expecting much from it.
But I read something the other day that changed the way I think about this.
In her book Packing Light, Allison Vesterfelt writes about quitting her job and taking a trip to see all 50 states. (Allison also has a fantastic blog you should check out.)
In one chapter, she talks about being disappointed by Mt. Rushmore and stumbling onto a more unexpected incredible experience.
Instead of lowering our expectations, Allison writes that we should be expecting more out of life:
So the problem with expectations, if there is a problem, is that our expectations aren’t big enough to hold the possibilities that will unfold in front of us. Our single perspective is so limited…Maybe we should live our lives in a constant state of expectation, always curious and excited about the possibilities that could unfold in front of us. Maybe it is our sense of vision that colors our reality.
Maybe we should expect more.
Maybe I should expect Bruce Springsteen’s music to take me to a higher place because I know it can. His music has moved me in the past. That’s why I’m so passionate about his songs.
Maybe we should live life with eyes full of expectation and be even more overjoyed when God exceeds our expectations.
Paul talks about this in Romans 8, as he points us to a God who we can expect more from:
We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to create something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. (Romans 8:28)
When we expect more out of life, we are saying to God, “I expect You to be awesome. I expect You to be everything You say you are.”
Expecting more from life is simply taking God at His word.
Instead of expecting less from life, what if we constantly expected God to actually be everything He says He is and do everything He says He will do? What if we expected God to create something good and beautiful out of our lives?
What if we expected more than an average life?
Instead of lowering my expectations for Bruce Springsteen, I going to keep my hopes high this new album may yet surprise me after a few more spins. I know Bruce has that power, and I’ll keep waiting for it.
Instead of lowering my expectations for what God can do in this life, I’m going to raise them higher. I’m going to keep dreaming. I’m going to believe He has something good and beautiful in store for my life and for yours.
I’m going to take God at his word and expect more.
What do you expect from God? Have you been living with lowered expectations? How would your life change if you started expecting something greater from God in your life?