# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Miscellaneous - The Rising

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 17 / 11 / 2004

Miscellaneous - The Rising
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


In 2002 Bruce Springsteen returned to the public domain with ‘The Rising’, an album of songs about the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre. Benjamin Howarth explains, why "in a time for heroes", Sprinsteen offers fresh hope

If it weren’t likely to provoke playground teasing, I would name one of my children Bruce. I struggle to think of a Bruce I don’t admire (Bruce Campbell - horror film legend - and Bruce Forsyth - light television legend - spring instantly to mind) and it compares mighty favourably with Boris, don’t you think? Of all the great Bruces that have blessed planet earth the greatest of these is Springsteen. In 2002 he ended his music’s exile from the public domain with ‘The Rising’, an album of songs about the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre. There are songs of great sadness here, but there is an upbeat mood to the proceedings. The album marked Bruce’s reunion with the E-Street band, and the album benefits immensely from the solid arrangements and musical virtuosity they offer. There is a certain amount of guilt involved in enjoying something so much that has come from so much pain. But there is no irony in the fact that America’s greatest tragedy has inspired Springsteen’s triumphant return. There are a few standout moments that deserve close attention. ‘Mary’s Place’ might be mistaken for a shallow party anthem in any other setting, but as a moment of relief from the tragedy it is invigorating. The horn solos and the euphoric melody make for a real anthem. The next track could hardly be more of a contrast, ‘You’re Missing’, all soaring violins and yearning vocals, is the saddest sounding of all the tracks here, and is a beautiful as any moment in the Springsteen catalogue. ‘Into the Fire’ begins as a simple country ballad, but its hymn-like refrain is the most uplifting moment on the record. Over the course of 15 tracks, Springsteen explores a wide variety of styles, but it is his storytelling and his melodic gifts that make this album great. Springsteen is the most easily likeable of the Big Four (the others being Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Neil Young of course). One of the reasons he has endured, rather than needing to be revised, is that he has never embarrassed his fans. Springsteen has the unashamed star quality that I do look for in artists. The indie idyll is all very well, but I expect there to be a good reason why the singer is on stage, why the band is in the studio whilst I am in the crowd or in my living room. There is no feeling of modish anti-heroism or mock modesty with Springsteen. He doesn’t deny that he is clearly running the show, that there is an egotistical thrill to what he does; in fact, he thrives on it. Many who crave stardom fail to achieve it, and many that do accomplish it abuse it. Springsteen, on the other hand, is clearly a good man. He is probably a great man. He is my kind of hero, and ‘The Rising’ is the sort of masterpiece that inspires devotion. The danger that Springsteen, the artist, faced was that his project would be too topical, that it would alienate, offend or simply bore. This is a bipartisan, human album, an album that reaches out and tries to turn fear into hope. Recently, Tony Blair wrote in the Guardian that it is not fashionable for the left (a group I belong to, I hope) to acknowledge that people are scared about the threat of terror. His words struck a nerve. I am scared that one day soon the UK will be attacked. When that fear hits you, you realise that for better or worse, we are at war, a war that Western liberal democracy will win, but not easily. And similar to the dilemma in the Cold War, we haven’t decided if victory is stopping an attack, or a US flag flying in the centre of Iran. Some argue that terror is provoked by US policy, some say the US got what it deserved. The United States did not invite nor did it incite those attacks. This is a time for heroes. A time for leadership with purpose, leadership with vision. Our culture must not only reflect. It must respond. It must lead. This is a time for heroes. Bruce Springsteen was prepared to offer hope. Bruce Springsteen was prepared to lead. Bruce laid down the carpet, no one traced his footsteps. That remains a shame. This is a time for heroes, and Bruce Springsteen reached for the stars.

Track Listing:-

Picture Gallery:-
Miscellaneous - The Rising

Miscellaneous - The Rising

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors