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One of the great things to admire about Bruce Springsteen is that even at 61 years of age, he is still producing music that is relevant today. Most of his contemporaries seem to be prolonging their careers with endless greatest hits tours, yes Mick Jagger et al I'm looking at you!!
Anyway, The Rising was something of an emotional comeback album for The Boss. Released in 2002 it was his twelfth studio album, but his first in seven years and also the first with the E Street Band in eighteen. Critically acclaimed, it sold over half a million copies in its first week debuting at number 1 in the Billboard Chart and in the year 2002, was one of only two albums that Rolling Stone magazine give a five star rating to. In 2003 it picked up the Grammy for Best Rock Album and earned a nomination for Best Album.
The fifteen tracks on this album are amongst some of the finest in Springsteen's career. When you consider the firsts listed above, some people may accept that as an explanation, however the timing is far more significant. This album is Springsteen's reflection on the 9/11 attacks.
A number of tracks had been written before such as 'Waitin' on a Sunny Day' and 'Further On (up the road)', but they were re-recorded for the album and compliment the pieces written post-9/11. Indeed short of exploring the origins of the album, you would be hard pressed to know which were written before and after, such is the way each song compliments the overall end.
Every track on the album is a standout, but for sheer emotional pieces that leave the hairs standing on edge, then the title track 'The Rising' will take some beating. It tells the story of a New York City Fire Department fire-fighter going into the chaos of the World Trade Center towers in the moments after the attacks. The verses and chorus are almost at odds with one another, verses depicting the devastation in a surreal manner conveying the confusion while the chorus are so upbeat, almost mimicking choruses of Hallelujahs. The song has been continually used in live performances and was the penultimate song in the sets of the 2009 tour.
'Lonesome Day' is the first track of the album and is a bookend to 'The Rising' Here the thoughts of someone who has lost their loved one are given form. As thoughts of loss, revenge and acceptance play out, the subject of the song realizes they did not know their beloved as well as they should. Springsteen sets the tone for the rest of the album, a mid tempo rock sound with elements of country.
So how do you compare this to other Springsteen albums, is it the best? Who can say, in my opinion it is as strong as anything from the early days. That fact is borne out by the number of tracks that are still played on his tours and also how many new fans have been introduced to The Boss. When you consider that country music is not everyone's cup of tea, myself especially, and yet here he manages to fuse that sound in almost unnoticed, quite an achievement. It is simply one of those albums you must own and at £4.49 from amazon.co.uk there are no excuses. It is true that could be said of a lot of his work, but this one carries such an emotional weight to it, yet it treats its subject with such respect, it is perhaps the best memorial to the victims of 9/11.
released after the 9/11 attacks and the first album with the e street band since born in the usa this had alot to live up to.
but bruce isnt called the boss for nothing. and he delivers in big style.
I would class this as he's best album , it has a good mix which can be played without the need to be in the right mood.
some of these songs were inspired by the 9/11 attacks ( but not all
i find the songs universal in lyrics bruce has a knack for making them that way so you can read into it what you will.
its a commercial album that contains real songs.
it starts with lonesome day ( a single ) which is a good rousing fight back though tragedy theme song. into the fire is about 9/11 and has a good catchy chorus. waitin on a sunny day is one of the best pop songs he has written ( better than hungry heart ) and a great song live. nothin man is 9/11 inspired and close to streets of philadephia,
countin on a miracle is a full bodied rocker. empty sky is 9/11 themed with a catchy rythmn and hook, worlds apart is very different with its backing and a full rocker with some amazing lyrics. lets be friends is a fun beach song. further on up the road is a great rock song. the fuse is very modern in style and has some rather dirty lyrics. marys place is like the msuic he first ever wrote like rosalita but more grown up and a rousing party anthem.
your missing is 9/11 inspired and a lovely catchy ballad. the rising is bruce at his best and another classic anthem. while paradise is simply beautiful, the album ends with my city of ruins which is one of the best songs of he's careeer.
overall this album has everything and then some.
Shall we say something of a different review from me this time round. Modern rock aside, grunge gods given a break and onto one of the most respected musicians of my era. Bruce The Boss Springsteen is a man that has always known how to connect with his audience, whether it be through a 10 million selling album, a appearance on any one of the numerous American late night talk shows or even a John Kerry political rally, hes a man with a great influence on the public. The music he makes gets to the point and is direct, generally incorporating beautiful harmonies as heard on Born In The USA and Streets Of Philadelphia. Despite not being what you would consider a fan, I find it very easy to sit back and listen to his music and feel genuinely emotive. Hes a man that, if you dont respect as a person, then should definitely respect as an artist.
The Rising, released in 2002, is Springsteens answer to 9/11. Being a man that is as true an American as you could ever wish to meet, the tragic events of that day touched a chord with him, inspiring this masterpiece of a musical response. Being someone who has heard the majority of his work, yet isnt able to recall titles and such, this is the first of his releases I found myself listening to and simply thinking .wow. The passion for his homeland is there in every one of the 15 tracks, with titles such as My City Of Ruins and Youre Missing, this is extremely personal to The Boss and he knows how to convey his message. Dont expect rock god perfection with screeching guitar solos, because thats not how Springsteen does things, and secondly, this is not the time nor the place for such., this is about getting out the anger and hate for what happened that day in New York. Hailing from New Jersey himself, makes this even more of a personal matter to him, and as an answer, this is simply wonderful.
Lonesome Day, the album opener, is all that could be expected of a track covering such a subject as it does. It talks of walking alone, left to yourself and is presumably relating to the aftermath of the attack when Im sure the majority of Americans simply didnt know what had just happened. Obviously I cant speak for them, but Im sure I know of how much pain and hate they felt, and Springsteen obviously leads that. Waitin On A Sunny Day is a more upbeat song, yet the lyrics still tell you that this is no pop led ballad, this is a Springsteen style rocker along the lines of Dancing In The Dark, a track that bought him great success. Nothing Man keeps up the pace and the quality before we get to the undoubted favourite of the album Countin On A Miracle, a feeling Im sure was top of the thoughts at the time. Obviously it conveys the thoughts of the nation and the utter disbelief at what had happened and that a miracle was the only thing that could make things better.
Im countin on a miracle
Baby Im countin on a miracle
Darlin Im countin on a miracle
To come through
Empty Sky, the obvious picture of that gaping whole where the twin towers stood only the previous day, waking up and seeing what you had been used to, gone, destroyed. As a New Jersey native, Springsteen had a locals perspective on events of that day, and being used to seeing that fine sight every day, for it to have suddenly gone was hard to stomach Im sure. The good thing is that the world, let alone the US, has someone like Bruce to speak out and get his opinions across. The intention of The Rising was never to sell millions or rake in the dollar, it was to simply get one nations thoughts out through one man, a man that Im sure a lot of people respect and agree with. Another of the finer tracks is Worlds Apart, despite starting with a rather differing beat, it soon picks up to follow the pattern of the album and the backing vocals give the song the feeling that the backing singers are actually the US population singing with him, standing for what he stands for and believing in what he believes in .a united feel if you will.
Well let blood build a bridge, over mountains draped in stars
Ill meet you on the ridge, between these worlds apart
Weve got this moment now to live, then its all just
Dust and dark
Let love give what it gives
Lets let love give what it gives ..
Both Lets Be Friends and Further On (Up The Road) touch again on the subject of loneliness, whether again they relate to the loneliness that must have been felt after 9/11 is a question the man himself would have to answer, but they are a couple of great songs. Lead single and one of the best songs The Rising is the lead point of the album. It talks of rising up from the rubble, being strong and standing tall against all the odds. Its a song that could be beneficial to people in various situations but in this instance its another ode to 9/11. Springsteen is a man that isnt afraid to show his emotions. 30 years in the game and hes been doing all his career, yet this is still his most personal and emotive record.
Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life)
Your burnin' wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life
Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight
Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li ..
Album closer My City Of Ruins talks of the calm after the storm of 9/11, of how although the outer anguish, inside it was peaceful and calm, as if to wonder what had just happened. Springsteen asks you to rise up and is the emotional lifter at the conclusion of a great mix of tracks that more than enhance his status as one of the most important people in rock. Even if youre not a fan, you must respect a man for coming out and doing what hes done, because I know I do
Now the sweet bells of mercy
Drift through the evening trees
Young men on the corner
Like scattered leaves,
The boarded up windows,
The empty streets
While my brother's down on his knees
My city of ruins
My city of ruins ..
1 - Lonesome Day
2 - Into The Fire
3 - Waitin On A Sunny Day
4 - Nothing Man
5 - Countin On A Miracle
6 - Empty Sky
7 - Worlds Apart
8 - Lets Be Friends
9 - Further On (Up The Road)
10 - The Fuse
11 - Marys Place
12 - Youre Missing
13 - The Rising
14 - Paradise
15 - My City Of Ruins
Nobody can possibly hold anything against Bruce Springsteen. He's a good natured, socially conscious guy who, despite the ravages of fame and fortune, has never 'sold out' or succumbed to the temptations of product-endorsement. With The Rising, he shows how he's succesfully moved beyond that blue collar schtick which, let's be honest, wouldn't sound that convincing from a guy with as much bling as he's accumulated over the years; instead, we have a well-composed set of sensitive songs that hit all the right notes in the wake of September 11. Springsteen doesn't pretend to have a political manifesto; rather, he's interested in people and the way individuals are moved and affected by global affairs, nation, and loss. Blurb for this album rightly points out that this is the first album he's done with the E-street band since 'Born in the USA', which is generally right; various members have guested on his albums and collaborated with him for the duration since. Nonetheless, a lot of people see this as a return to form, and it is really... whilst albums like 'Tunnel of Love' and 'Human Touch' explored the personal aspect of his songwriting, it took 9/11 to re-energise his passion for that rocksteady, big-band, outrospective, fist-in-the-air anthem stuff that he's famous for - Born In The USA, Born to Run etc. The Rising has that in spades, but in keeping with its solemn inspiration, also features a lot of low-key, downcast, more meditative efforts that make this a constantly listenable, 3-dimensional set of solid, suprisingly relevant songs. *Production* Brendon O' Brien has been roped in for production duties, and this album is all the better for it. Obviously, Springsteen isn't getting any younger, and O' Brien
39;s loose, contemporary style (he's previously worked with Pearl Jam and Rage Against The Machine) helps keep this album sound fresh and modern, whilst still retaining that vital Asbury-park sound. I'm a big fan of his style because he lets the musicianship and energy shine through by recording the band in a live environment; anyone who's witnessed Springsteen live will know that the E-Street band shines in this setting. Max Weinberg's rock-solid drumming, Clarence Clemons' spectacular saxophone and Steve Van Sant's skilful, steady guitar are all captured in their warm, energetic element; not bad for a group of people pushing 60. With as many as 9 musicians playing on some songs, O' Brien does a great job of keeping everything together, so that the music never sounds over-busy or crowded, whilst still 'meshing' well. *Song-by-song* 'Lonesome Day' is the sturdy, substantial mid-tempo rocker that provides the staple of any Bruce Springsteen diet. An unyieldingly firm rhythm carries along an uplifting string section and finishes with the refrain 'it's alright, it's alright...' until the fadeout. It's not rocket science, but it works perfectly; it's at once familiar and new, retro and current, re-assuring and yet it looks to the future. 'Into The Fire' is the most overtly-9/11 inspired song, and, in my opinion, borders on being preachy. Most of the time Springsteen manages to be spiritual without resorting to sermonising, but the lyrics here - "May your faith give us faith/May your hope give us hope" etc, or "I need your kiss/but love and duty called you someplace higher" - are bit too saccharine for me. I'm not heartless, but some aspects of the reaction to 9/11 seemed to be so gushing and
overt that they missed the horror and tragedy of that day somewhat. Just my opinion. Nonetheless, it's a fitting ode to the bravery of the firefighters; the title referring to their ascent up the stairs into the blaze. Next up is the optimistic 'Waitin' On A Sunny Day', a great sunshine singalong; "It's rainin' but there ain't a cloud in the sky/Must have been a tear from your eye/Everything'll be okay". I saw him live last summer and this was one of the highlights; all those wholesome Springsteeny ingredients combining to make a great song. 'Nothing Man' is more low key, a touching ode to how the world can go through tumultous change whilst still seeming like the same place. It has that All-American spin that The Boss nails so often; "Around here, everybody acts the same/Around here, everybody acts like nothing's changed/Friday night, the club meets at Al's Barbecue/The sky's still, the same unbelievable blue". 'Counting on a Miracle' is another rigid rocker in the same vein as 'Lonesome Day'. It's followed by 'Empty Sky', a slow but steady pounder that builds up into a sun-drenched chorus. It's a very moving song, and its clap-along rock style belies some very touching lyrics; "I woke up this morning/I could barely breathe/Just an empty impression/In the bed there you used to be/I want a kiss from your lips/I want an eye for an eye/I woke up this morning to an empty sky". Springsteen is renowned for singing in character, and here he uses that technique to convey the sentiment of many Americans who lost relatives and friends in the attacks. It's songs like 'Empty Sky' that prove his relevance not just to the U.S, but to the wor
ld at large . 'Worlds Apart' is the shiny gem that lights up the middle of this album, the west and east colliding in music and lyrics then crashing together in an almighty continent-sized epic. It's a tale of forbidden love between an 'infidel' and a Muslim, wrapped in some truly dramatic imagery; "We'll let blood build a bridge, over mountains draped in stars/I'll meet you on the ridge, between these worlds apart". Asif Ali Khan's vocal group provides some soaring Arabic melody, and the song finishes with an explosive guitar solo. Next, there's the dark-ish rocker 'Further On Up The Road', followed by 'The Fuse', a fantastic song that explores sensuality and longing against a backdrop of tragedy with unfailing grace. The old-school Asbury-park feelgood of 'Mary's Place' represents another optimistic highpoint, with good ol' lyrics about... having a party. Things take a more solemn turn with 'You're Missing', the song that most explicitly deals with the dull ache of emptiness following the loss of a loved one. A beautiful, yearning guitar line is embellished with gentle strings as the melody unfolds through a dignified, intelligent tribute. From here, 'The Rising' is another upbeat highlight on a par with the best of 'Born In The USA' in terms of crowd-stirring, arms-in-the-air, fist-punching audience participation. 'Paradise' is the darkest and most still moment on the album; the melody is simple but compelling, as an industrial pulse fades in and out underneath a barely perceptible acoustic guitar. The first verse is sung from the perspective of a suicide bomber just before the explosion, and crystallises Springsteen's ability to grapple with topics that
no-one else dare s touch amd still come out with an intelligent, non-judgemental slant on his subject matter. From there, he explores nihilism and despair with profound resignation; "I search for the peace in your eyes, but they're as empty as paradise." 'My City Of Ruins' wraps things up, with a look at urban decay and social disintegration that resonates with new meaning when you consider that this was actually written before September 11. Springsteen implores his hometown to "rise up" from its state of despair, and a genuinely spirit-lifting effect is forged from the sombre subject matter. *Performance* Bruce is backed up by the stalwart E-Street Band for this one, the group that carried him through to 'Born in the USA' in 1985. They all pack about 30 years of experience, and so this album is performed with all the skill and aplomb you'd expect from such well travelled handful. Crucially, they never come close to overly-technical fiddlery or lengthy guitar solos/ego trips, and always maintain their sense of fun whilst serving as far more than a mere backing band; while they stay true to Springsteen's song visions, they expertly embellish every track with tasteful piano flourishes, searing saxaphone and guitar solos that actually work, because the guitarists aren't afraid to hear the space inbetween the notes. Frequently, Clarence Clemons' stadium-sized saxophone carries sections of the songs and lifts them into far more spectacular territory. Springsteen himself sings with both confidence and sensitivity, and the 'return-to-form' aspect of this album is reflected in his vocal. He manages to be bombastic without being macho, emotional but not undignified, clever but never smart-ass. *Overall* 'The Rising' is a bit of a
masterpiece that could only really have been made by Bruce Springsteen; whilst the efforts of Neil Young and others to respond to September 11 have sounded jingoistic, militaristic and distasteful, 'The Rising' rises (see, it's a pun) high above the rest with dignity and soul. It never sounds nationalistic or vengeful, and never preaches a course of action or state of mind; instead, it affirms Springsteen's skill and magic and will probably sound as ageless as 'Born to Run' does now in 30 years time.
I don?t know when I became a Bruce Springsteen fan, I guess after ?discovering? the boss?s early 1982 album Nebraska which by the way is superb. After listening to that album I became hooked, I wanted to hear more. Hence I slowly worked my through Bruce Springsteen?s 70?s, 80?s and 90?s albums adding them to my humble CD collection. So having became a ?fan? of Bruce Springsteen I was incredibly excited when I heard of ?The Rising? ? Bruce Springsteen?s first studio album with the E Street Band since Born in the USA. I rushed down to my local HMV to buy Bruce Springsteen?s new album. Would it live up to the likes of Tunnel of Love and Born in the USA? Did the boss still have it in him; after all Born in the USA was way back in 1984. Well the answer to both of those questions is yes. Inspired by the horrific events of September, 11th The Rising is an emotional but truly superb album. Each track, in order: LONESOME DAY Lonesome Day is a loud, upbeat and positive track. It sounds similar to some of Springsteen?s music in the 80?s such as Born in the USA (The song, not the album) Lonesome Day is a great opening to a great album. INTO THE FIRE Into the Fire is a slow, emotional track referring to 9/11. Unlike Springsteen?s most famous song Born in the USA, Into the Fire is more of a hymn than a song. ?May your strength give us strength May your faith give us faith May your hope give us hope May your love bring us love? WAITIN ON A SUNNY DAY This is one of my favourite tracks on the album, it has a loud rock and roll sound to it but the lyrics are still emotional and moving. NOTHING MAN Nothing Man is a sad, touching and emotional song. If you buy the album listen to it whilst reading the lyrics. COUNTIN ON A MIRACLE Countin? on a Miracle has a loud, heavy beat but with Springsteen?s melodic lyrics its a great song.
EMPTY SKY Empty Sky is another sad, moving song on the album. ?I woke up this morning, I could barely breathe Just an empty impression In the bed where you used to be I want kiss from your lips? Empty Sky is a song of bereavement and (I think) was influenced by 9/11. WORLDS APART I believe Worlds Apart is a song about two people falling in love, one is from Afghanistan the other from America. I think the song is comparing the differences between Afghanistan and the West. Whatever its about it is an excellent song. LETS BE FRIENDS (SKIN TO SKIN) This song has a relaxed chilled out, soul sounding youthful sound to it. ?Don?t know when this chance might come again? FURTHER ON (UP THE ROAD) This is a great song, it will remind people of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Bands earlier material such as the Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. Further on (Up the road) has a positive and uplifting outlook to it. THE FUSE The Fuse is a fairly slow and repetitive song. Like most of Bruce Springsteen?s stuff its emotional and thought-provoking. ?The fuse is burning (Come on let me do you right? MARY?S PLACE Mary?s Place is a really positive, cheerful and merry sounding song. Its lyrics are optimistic and uplifting. ?Meet me at Mary?s place we?re gonna have a party? YOU?RE MISSING This is a slow, sad and emotional song. Someone close is missing but their possessions ?Coffee cups on the counter, jackets on the chair? remain close. This is a beautiful, musical sounding song that is very touching. ?Children are asking if its alright Will you be in our arms tonight?? ?I close my eyes You?re Missing, when I see the sun rise You?re Missing? THE RISING The Rising is one of the heavier sounding songs on the album, it is also one of the
best. ?Come on up for the rising Come on up, lay your hands in mine Come on up for the rising Come on up for the rising tonight? Like Into the Fire it is a song that was clearly influenced by 9/11 and it is also almost a hymn. It is however, heavier and more rock sounding than Into the Fire. PARADISE Paradise has a Country and Western sound to it, its a slow song and by looking at the lyrics was clearly influenced by 9/11 and terrorism. ?In the crowded marketplace I drift from face to face I hold my breath and Close my eyes And I wait for paradise And I wait for paradise? According to an article I read in a magazine (Q) the lyrics are the thoughts of a suicide bomber. Yet another touching and thought-provoking song on the album. MY CITY OF RUINS As you can probably assume from the title of this song it is about New York City after the devastating terrorist attacks. This is the song that Bruce Springsteen considered most appropriate to sing at the concert recently after 9/11. The lyrics are very emotional but there is a positive and uplifting feel to it. ?I can hear the organ?s song But the congregation?s gone My city of ruins My city of ruins? ?Come on, rise up!? ?Come on, rise up!? After hearing some of Bruce Springsteen?s excellent albums from the 70?s and 80?s I had high expectations when I heard about his new album the Rising. I was not disappointed. The songs are brilliant and unlike much of the rubbish currently in the charts the lyrics are meaningful. September, 11th was an awful day that shocked everyone. Bruce Springsteen could easily have responded to the horrific events of that day with a hugely patriotic album demanding revenge. The Rising is fairly patriotic, however it just focuses on ordinary people?s lives and getting things back to how they were. The lyrics, often thought-provoking are a wonderful tri
bute to the innocent people that so tragically lost their lives on a day that will go down in history. Its not only the lyrics however that make this album so good, musically this album is pure brilliance. The boss is back, and he is back better than ever. Bruce Springsteen ? The Rising is out now and is currently No. 2 in the UK album chart. In late October Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band will be playing in London, the concert is expected to be at Earls Court. Springsteen hasn?t played in London for nearly 15 years. Tickets will be snapped up very quickly, hopefully I can get a ticket for it as it would be brilliant to be there. Thanks for reading, comments appreciated. WRITTEN FOR CIAO.COM/DOOYOO.CO.UK All quoted lyrics are © 2002 Bruce Springsteen.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Lonesome Day
2 Into The Fire
3 Waitin' On A Sunny Day
4 Nothing Man
5 Countin' On A Miracle
6 Empty Sky
7 Worlds Apart
8 Let's Be Friends (Skin To Skin)
9 Further On (Up The Road)
11 Mary's Place
12 You're Missing
15 My City Of Ruins