HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME

Album version

I hauled myself up out of the ditch
And built me an ark out of gopher wood and pitch
Sat down by the roadside and waited on the rain
I am the hunter of invisible game

Well I woke last night to the heavy clicking and clack
And a scarecrow on fire along the railroad tracks
There were empty cities and burning plains
I am the hunter of invisible game

We all come up a little short and we go down hard
These days I spend my time skipping through the dark
Through the empires of dust I chant your name
I am the hunter of invisible game

Through the bone yard rattle and black smoke we rolled on
Down into the valley where the beast has his throne
There I sing my song and I sharpen my blade
I am the hunter of invisible game

Strength is vanity and time is illusion
I feel you breathing, the rest is confusion
Your skin touches mine, what else to explain
I am the hunter of invisible game

Now pray for yourself and that you may not fall
When the hour of deliverance comes on us all
When our hope and faith and courage and trust
Can rise or vanish like dust into dust
Now there's a kingdom of love waiting to be reclaimed
I am the hunter of invisible game
I am the hunter of invisible game
I am the hunter of invisible game


Page last updated: 09 Jul 2014

Intro

Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME is the ninth track on Springsteen's 2014 album High Hopes. The above lyrics are for Springsteen's studio version of HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME as released on High Hopes.

Writing and Recording

In a March 2014 interview for Rolling Stone, Bruce Springsteen told Sean Sennett: "I wrote [the title] down years ago, and I don't remember a lot about it except I said, 'That's a nice title.' I wrote it down and it sat there. Then I did more reading of other things. And I started to get into this sort of post-apocalyptic idea. The idea of these travellers in the wasteland, and what's the guy trying to do? He's trying to hold onto their humanness, their humanity in all of this ruin. That was the idea. That's who this guy is, the guy who is hunting out remnants of what makes the spirit. It was one of those songs that came together a certain way and I didn't think much about it when I wrote it. I put it away. Now it's probably one of my favorite things on the record."

HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME was produced by Brendan O'Brien and features Tom Morello, which indicates that the core recording was originally cut sometime between 2001 and 2008 (more probably later in that period), while some elements were added in 2013, including Tom Morello's guitar. In a 19 Dec 2013 interview that premiered on 10 Jan 2014 during Dave Marsh's Live From E Street Nation show on Sirius XM's E Street Radio channel, Bruce Springsteen said that he doesn't remember a lot about writing HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME, or what he was working on at the time when he wrote it. But the song was a big favourite of Morello who happened to hear it in studio a couple of years before, so he mentioned it and prompted to resurrect it. Morello has stated in an interview that he heard O'Brien tinkering with a recording of the song in 2007 or 2008, but this doesn't necessarily prove it was recorded at that time.

In a December 2013 interview for Rolling Stone, Ron Aniello told Andy Greene: "The editing we did on 'Hunter of Invisible Game' was very light. With respect to Brendan, that's his production, and I didn't want to meddle too much. We touch it up and Bruce might have changed a lyric or two. I actually can't remember, but for the most part those were the Brendan O'Brien stuff."

The album version of HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME was produced by Brendan O'Brien. The performing musicians line-up on the track is:

  • Bruce Springsteen (vocals, guitar)
  • Garry Tallent (bass)
  • Max Weinberg (drums)
  • Tom Morello (guitar)
  • Soozie Tyrell (additional violin)
  • Ed Horst (Atlanta Strings – string arrangement and conductor)
  • Justin Bruns (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • Jay Christy (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • Sheela Iyengar (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • John Meisner (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • Christopher Pulgram (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • William Pu (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • Olga Shpitko (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • Kenn Wagner (Atlanta Strings – violin)
  • Amy Chang (Atlanta Strings – viola)
  • Tania Maxwell (Atlanta Strings – viola)
  • Lachlan McBane (Atlanta Strings – viola)
  • Karen Freer (Atlanta Strings – cello)
  • Charae Krueger (Atlanta Strings – cello)
  • Daniel Laufer (Atlanta Strings – cello)

High Hopes

High Hopes is Bruce Springsteen's eighteenth studio album. It was officially released on 14 Jan 2014 on Columbia Records. It consists of 12 tracks and clocks at 56:24. Four songs were previously released in different versions (two of which are covers), two more were previously performed live but never released, and the remaining six are new to fans (one of which is a cover). "This is music I always felt needed to be released," Springsteen wrote in the album's liner notes.

In a December 2013 interview for Rolling Stone, Springsteen told Andy Greene that he has always written and recorded significantly more songs than can fit on to whatever album he's creating at the moment. "I have a lot of this music on a computer," he said. "I bring it out on the road to amuse myself. Very often, if I have nothing to do late at night I'll bring it up and look at different bodies of music." The songs that began catching Springsteen's attention were largely recorded after he reunited with the E Street Band in 1999. "The songs were relatively current and had a similar sound picture," he said. "I was interested in putting this material together in some form because it sounded like it all fit together... You have to imagine that when I'm home or done with a tour I go into a studio and I'm surrounded by paintings that I've sorta half-finished. There might be something wrong with this one and I didn't have time to finish this one. When I go into my studio, I'm surrounded by all my music that I haven't released. I wait to see what's going to speak to me." But then they cut a few sessions in 2013 while on tour. "I said, 'Well, these sound good,'" Springsteen told Rolling Stone. "These things blend together. Suddenly, it began to feel very fresh and fit together quite well."

Work on the album started in late 2012 when Springsteen called producer Ron Aniello asking him to work on some demos that he was thinking about releasing. "I remember that Bruce called me on my birthday, so it was December 9th, 2012", Aniello told Andy Greene in a December 2013 interview for Rolling Stone. "He said to me, 'I have some songs. I want to get together.'" According to Aniello, these were old demos that Springsteen had done with Toby Scott and that had been around for a while. Springsteen told him that he wanted to get these songs in shape and see what comes out of that. Aniello was not able to sit with Springsteen to sort it all out because Springsteen was away most of the time touring with the E Street Band. "It all happened in a very unusual manner," Aniello told Rolling Stone. "There was a lot of conversations in Europe and I did some of the recording via iChat when the band was in Australia."

In a January 2014 interview for Rolling Stone, Tom Morello told Andy Greene that he wasn't aware that there was ever talk of a new studio album when they sent him a couple of songs to add guitar on. He did that in his home studio and shortly after he was recording in studio with Max Weinberg and Ron Aniello. "But these studio sessions just kept occurring without any formal notion of what we were doing," Morello recounted. "My assumption was just that 'Bruce is always recording music.' So it was fantastic that I was asked to be a part of it. I was psyched." In March 2013 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band performed ten shows in Australia as part of the Wrecking Ball Tour. Steven Van Zandt was off filming his television series Lillyhammer and was replaced by Morello for that leg of the tour. Morello suggested to add HIGH HOPES to the live set. They worked it up during the rehearsals prior to the Australian shows and Morello then "proceeded to burn the house down with it," as Springsteen said. They then re-cut the song along with JUST LIKE FIRE WOULD at Studios 301, Australia's largest studio complex. "Tom and his guitar became my muse, pushing the rest of this project to another level," Springsteen said. He told Rolling Stone's David Fricke, "We've never had a recording session during a tour in our lives. We did a couple of things that I wanted to put down. So that was very exciting. And being with Tommy was exciting. The band – Steven, Nils, all those guys – continues to be a source of inspiration for me." Morello told Rolling Stone that he didn't get the notion that this was "coalescing into what was going to be a major release" until they were in Australia.

No less than sixteen recording studios were used in the making of High Hopes: Thrill Hill Recording (Springsteen's home studio in Colts Neck, NJ), Stone Hill Studio (Springsteen's new home studio in Colts Neck, NJ), Very Loud House (in Los Angeles, CA), Renegade Studio (in New York City, NY), Veritas Studio (in Los Angeles, CA), Southern Tracks (Atlanta, GA), East West Studios (in Los Angeles, CA), NRG Studios (in Los Angeles, CA), Village Studios (in Los Angeles, CA), Studios 301 (in Byron Bay and Sydney, Australia), Record Plant (in Los Angeles, CA), Electric Lady Studios (in New York City, NY), Avatar Studios (in New York City, NY), Sear Sound (in New York City, NY), and Berkeley Street Studio (in Santa Monica, CA).

Ron Aniello revealed that at least 20 tracks were recorded for the album. Among the tracks that didn't make the album cut were COLD SPOT, HEY BLUE EYES, AMERICAN BEAUTY, and MARY MARY.

The album was produced by Bruce Springsteen, Brendan O'Brien, and Ron Aniello. It features all E Street Band members, including the late Clarence Clemons and the late Danny Federici on several songs of what Springsteen calls "some of our best unreleased material from the past decade." The album also features an ensemble of guest artists, including Tom Morello who's featured prominently on the album, appearing on eight tracks.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]

High Hopes is available in three configurations: standard CD edition, limited edition, and double-disc LP. The limited edition consists of the standard audio CD and includes a bonus live DVD of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band performing the entire Born In The USA album on 30 Jun 2013 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England, during the Wrecking Ball Tour. The double-disc LP is pressed on 180-gram vinyl and includes a CD version of the album.

High Hopes track list:

  1. HIGH HOPES
  2. HARRY'S PLACE
  3. AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS)
  4. JUST LIKE FIRE WOULD
  5. DOWN IN THE HOLE
  6. HEAVEN'S WALL
  7. FRANKIE FELL IN LOVE
  8. THIS IS YOUR SWORD
  9. HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME
  10. THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD
  11. THE WALL
  12. DREAM BABY DREAM

High Hopes was officially announced on 25 Nov 2013 and the release date was set for 14 Jan 2014, but on 28 Dec 2013 it became available for purchase as individual tracks in MP3 format through Amazon.com's mobile application. Although Amazon quickly removed the files, presumably recognizing its mistake, the album had already made its way onto file-sharing websites.

The album topped the charts in 20 countries, including the United States and the UK. It was Springsteen's eleventh #1 album in the US, placing him third all-time for most #1 albums only behind The Beatles and Jay-Z. It was his tenth #1 in the UK, putting him joint fifth all-time and level with The Rolling Stones and U2.

[Click here to display/hide list of countries in which the album charted]

Short Film

A short film titled "Hunter Of Invisible Game" was released on Bruce Springsteen's official website on 09 Jul 2014. The 10-minute short film serves as a music video for HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME. The audio is dubbed from the album version of the song, extended at the beginning with a five-and-a-half-minute instrumental score composed by Springsteen. Thom Zimny and Bruce Springsteen are credited as filmmakers.

A note from Bruce Springsteen was posted on his website along with the film. In it he thanked "our friends and fans who supported us on the High Hopes leg of our World Tour" and promised for more to come. "We've still got a few surprises for you," he added. He also talked about the making of the filmm: "For a long part of the year, Thom Zimny and I have been talking about shooting a short film for 'Hunter Of Invisible Game.' We've finally got the job done, and we think it's one of our best."

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce poster]

Live History

HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME was performed once during the 34-date-long High Hopes Tour. The song was played in its album arrangement.

[Click here to display/hide detailed High Hopes Tour performances list]

Covers

As far as it's known, no artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME.

Credits

Thanks Shawn Butler for the lyrics correction.

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