Monday, August 5, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 161


Springsteen proves why he's 'The Boss'

By Ed De La Garza
The Daily Cougar

Bruce Springsteen is about the closest an American rock star has come to being a hero.

Photo courtesy of Sony Music

Bruce Springsteen's first full album with the E Street Band since Born in the U.S.A. is fueled by a true American's feelings after Sept. 11.

In 1984, Born in the U.S.A. was mistakenly used by politicians thinking it to be mindless patriotism they could use as campaign music. A close inspection of
the lyrics found that it was the work of an artist questioning the actions of his country, speaking out against war and fighting for the forgotten.

Since Sept. 11, many artists have tried to wage the same battle. Irish-rock group U2 ultimately fails at speaking for anyone on this side of the Atlantic. Bono
can't know how it feels to be a nation that was invulnerable, but now having to balance a need for retribution with mourning.

With The Rising, Springsteen's first full studio album with the E Street Band since Born in the U.S.A., juggles that same balancing act. He never cries out for
blood, but the Boss paints a clear picture of what it means to be an American after Sept. 11.

With "Into the Fire," Springsteen assumes the role of a firefighter racing up one of the World Trade Center towers but then he reflects on the people those
fallen heroes left behind. On "Empty Sky," he echoes the sentiments of thousands of Americans who saw the event unfolding before their eyes.

While Springsteen seems to have been deeply moved by the attacks, its victims and its survivors, he understands the nation has to learn to move on. It's the
struggle to come to terms with a sudden vulnerability that makes "The Rising" so perfect.

While it's not an uplifting subject, those songs are intermingled with songs written before Sept. 11. "Waitin' On A Sunny Day" is a typical Springsteen anthem
that takes on greater importance in his message that despite the tragedy, America is still here; life goes on.

But he wouldn't be able to send that message without the E Street Band.

The searing guitars, thumping bass lines, pounding drums and sultry saxophone that have been absent from much of the Boss's most recent work provide
much-needed backing on The Rising. With the help of Nils Lofgren, Max Weinberg, Clarence Clemons and Steven Van Zandt, the entire album becomes an
anthem. It's a testament to the American spirit.

And just like Born in the U.S.A., The Rising is an instant classic.

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