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