The Rising

The Rising

“Our band was built well over many years, for difficult times,” Bruce Springsteen once wrote about The Rising, the album he put together after the terrorist attacks on America that took place on September 11, 2001. The record’s emotional heart lies with “Into the Fire,” a folk-blues number inspired by the emergency workers who ascended the World Trade Center while everyone else was fleeing for their lives. He’d come back to that image in The Rising’s title track, which centers on the inner monologue of a firefighter ascending—both physically and divinely. Released in 2002, The Rising marked Springsteen’s first studio album with the E Street Band since 1988’s Tunnel of Love. They’d recently come together for 1999’s Reunion Tour, a two-year foray that grossed millions—and, more importantly, re-energized the musicians, preparing them for the challenge of making The Rising. Producer Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine) worked with Springsteen both sonically and lyrically, pushing him to write new material for the record. The result was one of Springsteen’s most critically and commercially successful albums in years. What Springsteen handles beautifully on The Rising—most notably on tracks like “Lonesome Day" and “You’re Missing”—is the distillation of national grief into the small everyday details of a life: the empty sky; a missing spouse; the quiet moments of strength that are required to get past tragedy. Other standout tracks include “Worlds Apart” and “Paradise,” which represent Springsteen’s perspective on the global impact of the tragedy. Meanwhile, both “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day” and “Mary’s Place” focus on finding the everyday joy and renewal of life once again. The Rising closes with “My City of Ruins,” a song originally written a year earlier about the economic and social decline of Springsteen’s adopted hometown, Asbury Park. But on The Rising, the song is transmuted into a universal hymn of hope and survival.

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