Customer Reviews: The Rising
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on August 12, 2002
The cd gets better with each listen. The E Street Band has never sounded better. One of the most passionate albums in their long career. Worth the wait. The cd was meant to be listened to in its entirety. To get the best out of it, I recommend listening to it when you have an hour to spare, put it on the cd player and get swept away. There is no better companion than Bruce.
He will take you to another level.
While only time will tell if this has the lasting power of Born To Run (27 years), it is a work reflecting the times with hope and gentleness.
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The Rising is the first full length studio album that Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band have released in eighteen years. The album is also the first by major artist to have the core of its songs directly address September 11th. The songs take on the events from the views of firemen, widowers, a man who lost his life and terrorists. "Lonesome Day" opens the album up and is somber in tone yet uplifting in melody. "Into The Fire" is a brilliant song about a fireman going into the towers. Mr. Springsteen prays that their hope gives us hope and their love gives us love. "Waitin' On A Sunny Day" has a classic E Street sound with a rippling Clarence Clemons sax. "Nothing Man" speaks from the point of view of a man who has lost his life. It is a sobering look at the fragility of life. "Empty Sky" details the NYC skyline minus the Twin Towers. This might be the most personal song on the album as Mr. Springsteen himself drove to a bridge near his New Jersey and witnessed the destruction a day after the attacks. "Let's Be Friends (Skin To Skin)" is a jaunty number that has a bouncy beat and reminds one of War's classic "Why Can't We Be Friends" in its call for understanding among different people. "Further On (Up The Road)" is a buzz saw rocker that first appeared on his 1999-2000 World Tour. "Mary's Place" is a nod to the E Street Band's halcyon days. Going back to "Thunder Road", Mr. Springsteen calls all his friends to meet him at Mary's place in front of a Born To Run era musical background. "Paradise" is a chilling acoustic base number that speaks from the point of view of a terrorist. "My City Of Ruins" was first played at his Christmas shows in Asbury Park a couple of years ago. The song was originally an ode to his adopted hometown, but it was transformed into a song about New York City after he opened up the America: A Tribute To Heroes concert. Unlike that stark version of the song, the album version has a bright, uplifting gospel feel to. The album's title track maybe the best song on the album. Powerful, evocative and anthmatic, the song has all the classic qualities of a rock anthem for these times much as his "Born In The U.S.A." was an anthem for the disillusioned of the baby boomer generation. "The Fuse" is a solid rocker with a pulsating beat. His only misstep is "Worlds Apart" which is about love between a white man and an Islamic woman. The song combines middle-eastern music and mimics the sounds of Sting's "Desert Rose". Mr. Springsteen employs producer Brendan O'Brien to helm the album and he updates the E Street sound beautifully. He helps retain the band's power, while adding a shine and gloss that gives the music a new and fresh dimension. He adds quite of bit a strings to the album, mostly in the form of fiddles. The Rising reminds us of the terrible tragedy of September 11th, but is full of hope. Mr. Springsteen shows that he still can get inside the skin of the common man and reveal his hopes, dreams, fears, losses and love of his country and fellow man.
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on June 6, 2005
`The rising' was inspired by the September 11 attacks and is a deeply personal, moving musical experience.

There are typical Springsteen uptempo rockers like the jaunty, catchy `Further on (up the road)', `Waiting on a sunny day', `Countin' on a miracle', `Let's be friends (skin to skin)'

and a couple more, which are not directly linked to 911.

`Worlds apart' stands out in its Arabic influences, telling the story of a cross cultural romance. A brilliant track.

The title track is an anthemic rocker about regrouping, getting up again, coming back stronger. Almost a call to arms.

Other standouts are `Nothing man', `Empty sky' (about looking into the NY skyline where the towers once stood and seeing nothing), and `My city of ruins' a moving ballad which has a gospel feel. Spiritual. Absolutely amazing!

The highlight of the CD is also possibly the greatest song on loss ever released (You're missing) with poignant lines like `..too much room in my bed, too many phone calls... shirt's in the closet, shoes in the hall' describing the subtle signs reminding one of the reality of loss of a loved one. Beautiful! Even more meaningful to those of us who know someone missing from that fateful event.

Carefully and masterfully written lyrics, coupled with Springsteen's passionate delivery make for one of the best CDs of 2002.
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on July 31, 2002
After one listen to the Rising, I could only think damn this is a really good album. After a day of listening, I thought damn this is a GREAT album (definite Grammy nomination here). If you are a Springsteen fan, this is the closest you are going to get to the Born in the USA days. It is a mature rock album by a mature songwriter (yes lots of songs rock, but also lots of mellow tunes). Lyrically, inspiration from 9/11 is throughout the entire album, and if anyone was going to write about the tragic events, Bruce is the one to do it (and probably one of the only ones I'd respect doing it). I'm already singing along to the songs as I drive down the highway, they are infectious. The first 3 songs really set the tone, each one is exceptional, and just fine songcrafting. The production is top notch, and the musicians are at their finest. I can only say, that if you have been craving Bruce to play some rock again, this is it. It is'nt rock like his earlier stuff, but c'mon, he is a mature artist, and this is just what I would expect, and just what I needed.
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on August 1, 2002
If there is such a thing as an important album to own, this is it. Using the tragedies of 9/11 as the genesis of many of the tracks on The Rising, Bruce Springsteen has delivered a group of songs that often touch us, sometimes make us dance, and ultimately console.
Few, if any, artists could create a piece of work inspired by such horrendous events with such honest sincerity without a hint of exploitation. Bruce Springsteen, however, has done it. At first glance, the subject matter might suggest a dark record wallowed in sadness and loss. While those elements are here, there is an affirmative sense of love and faith's transcendence. Having used religious imagery often in past, Springsteen uses it even more and to great effect here. He yearns for guidance in My City of Ruins when he says, "I pray for the strength, Lord." In essence, these songs are prayers.
The themes and sentiments alone do not make this a great album. Couple them with the music and arrangements, and The Rising is a special treat. With new producer Brendan O'Brien on board, the record has a fresh sound. Soozie Tyrell's violin is featured on many songs. And strings are used well on a number of songs, especially the resounding opener Lonesome Day. The return of the E Street Band is also part of why this record is so special. They seem to get better with age. Although a couple more Clarence Clemons' sax solos would have been welcome (see Nothing Man and Further On (Up the Road), the band sounds great. Max Weinberg and Garry Tallent remain rock's most unassuming yet powerful rhythm section.
At 52, Springsteen has made a record that is distinctly his but also fresh with new musical ideas. Besides the strings, he has guest Indian singers on Worlds Apart, a horn section on Mary's Place, and backing vocalists on Let's Be Friends (Skin to Skin). The later, despite its tepid lyrics, is a wonderful soul song that some longtime fans might scratch their heads over. But the RnB beats and Clemons' slinky sax make this not only one of his most unique songs, but extremely radio-friendly. Mary's Place will please longtime fans who have yearned for a River-esque rave up. Somehow, inserted into the album's mix of sorrowful images, Waitin' on a Sunny Day appears and makes things seem whole and happy again. This is about as infectious as a song can get. It smiles with hope and has a wonderful arrangement. The ballads work as well, especially You're Missing. They are somehow both hushed and powerful. Further On (Up the Road) and The Fuse are powerful rockers, but don't initially grab you like, say, the recent Land of Hope and Dreams, which, with a new studio version, would have been a welcomed addition.
And while the lead single and title track - a tale of rescuers going up the twin towers - is the heart of the record, Into the Fire is its soul. The chorus somehow makes the grim images of the verses fade away - not into resignation but into reconciliation. "May your strength give us strength/Make you hope give us hope/May your faith give us faith/May your love give us love." Again, the words are coupled with a haunting melody and a gospel like refrain - a lot like the record's closing My City of Ruins, which ends with the words "Rise up."
Although he's fabulously wealthy, Springsteen remains an everyman. He's a dad and a husband; he's like us in many ways. He was touched, unnerved, saddened, and frightened by the events of last September just like the rest of us. He, however, has the rare ability to channel those emotions into art. Many of the tracks on The Rising hold up against the finer songs in the Springsteen canon. That's a bold statement. It's a focused effort with a rich sound, a wall of instrumentation that still lets trademark E Street flourishes like organ and piano seep through.
Metaphorically, The Rising's name may reference Christ's resurrection. And this may not be a stretch from an artist who grew up going to church and once released an album, Tunnel of Love, author and priest Andrew Greeley once called one of the most important Catholic events of 1987. The lives lost on 9/11 were not for naught. Their spirit remains, and in that spirit, Springsteen has crafted a topical but ultimately timeless record. Still, the record is more than homage; it is a musical experience, a rich, melodic, and powerful collection.
Indeed, Springsteen is on the rise again.
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on March 29, 2006
I guess it seems kind of odd to be expressing my thoughts about The Rising after four years. Not really. Not for "Tramps Like Us". For anyone who doesn't know who or what "Tramps Like Us" are. We are Bruce's fanatical fans who used to camp out to hopefully get tickets for his shows.

I felt like writing this after I listened to The Rising tonight because I felt that the album had said some things to me tonight that it hasn't before. You see, Bruce has had a segregated following during his whole career. When his albums come out, "Tramps Like Us" are usually at the store as the album is being unboxed. It may hit No. 1 on the charts, and maybe it doesn't. If it does, it says there for maybe a week or two. I just told you why. We Bruce fans buy it right away instead of waiting to think about it. We can't wait to hear what new stuff Bruce has to say. It's been said many times that Merle Haggard is The Poet of the Common Man. Which is true. Bruce is the Poet Who Came After Dylan But Has Matured Beyond All Other Rock and Rollers. I used to be a huge Rolling Stones fan until they brought out albums with songs like "Too Much Blood" and started charging $300.00 for tickets, forgetting who put them where they are today.

As time has gone with Bruce though, in comparison, is that his music has matured. Sure, at his shows, you'll always see alot of the old Boss. But, when 911 came along Bruce decided to write alot of meaningful stuff about what had happened that fateful day, and what life was all about in our world we are living in. But, the strange thing about Bruce's music, especially his lyrics, when you listen to the songs over and over, depending on your general mood at the time, you seem to come away with maybe a completely different opinion on what was said in the song.It's like the title track, "The Rising". The first verse goes:

Can't see nothin' in front of me

Can't see nothin' coming up behind

I make my way through this darkness

I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me

Lost track of how far I've gone

How far I've gone, how high I've climbed

On my back's a sixty pound stone

On my shoulder a half mile of line

You see, when Bruce initially wrote these words, and released them, everyone, including myself, said that Bruce is attempting to describe what it must have been like for the firefighters and other rescuers when they were scaling the steps or whatever, going up into The Twin Towers to hopefully save lives. Yes, he was. But, four years later, when you listen to those lyrics, Bruce could be simply talking about "life" itself. If you don't believe me, read them, and think about what I've said. Think about your own life.

That's what is so special about all of Bruce's music. This man is a genious. His music may seem to say one thing to you today, but as the years go by, the same song may mean something totally different to you as a listener. So, if you didn't give The Rising a chance when it came out, think about giving it another chance without 911 in your mind. Yes, you are going to hear certain songs like "You're Missing" that will always remind you of that terrible day. But, that's good too, because we should never forget. Thanks for listening to this "Tramp". But, do yourself a favor, and listen to the original tramp.
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on August 19, 2002
I was elated to hear about Bruce coming out with this album with 9/11 themes. I would've always thought that if anyone could do this right, he would be the one. And he doesn't disappoint.
This album is not perfect, but it is real close. Some people knock it for being too cliched or simplistic but I feel that he captures the proper mood with this album. I wouldn't think that "Thunder Road" type songs would work as well on an album like this, though I would love for him to return to that in the future. Practically every song captures the audience and allows them to share the grief, loss and fear that humans feel through tragic times, yet also providing hope for the future and the power of true love. If that is simplistic, then that is what Bruce probably felt was needed. And I would agree.
Musically, I feel that the E Street Band is in fine form on this album. I wish that Clarence Clemens had a greater presence on the album as I enjoy his sax playing, but other than that the band's clicking on all cylinders. Musically this is an example of American roots rock at it's best as well as a rundown on the band's own history. Basically they incorporate sounds from just about every era of their entire history. And it works.
Best song: "World's Apart". The harmonies are magnificent and they work well with the E Street styled rock better than I could have imagined. The title track is classic Bruce, along with "Lonesome Day". "Waiting on a Sunny Day" is a "Hungry Heart" styled song musically and "Mary's Place" goes back even farther bringing back images of his 70's songs. "Nothing Man" would fit in great on "Born in the USA" and should be a classic. "Paradise" displays his 90's sound to perfection. Basically, there are no week songs on this album. That is rare these days.
5 stars is too high for this album, 4 stars is too low, so I went with the higher rating. This may not be his best album, but certainly it is his best since "Born in the USA" and this certainly reinforces that Bruce Springsteen is a legend in the history of American Rock and Roll. I recommend this album to everybody.
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on August 5, 2002
I always wondered what it would take to get me to submit a review, and this CD is it.
I think Bruce's work on this album is understated brilliance, and I alternately cried and danced in my chair on the first listenings (3 consecutive). As an artist, Bruce internalized the events of 9/11 and was inspired to create what few could ever hope to; a stunning compilation of songs that masterfully and beautifully articulates the confusion, pain, aftermath, and subsequent hope of a relief worker, a loved one, a nation.
Bruce's songwriting skills are top-notch, and the lyrics on this album really display his capacity for tapping in to the depth of the human spirit and emotion. But the theme here is healing, so while many of the lyrics bring you back emotionally to the events of last year, in typical Bruce style, the music also has the power to rejuvenate.

The album is thoroughly modern in its approach, yet elements of the "old" Bruce - the great E-Street Band sound, Clarence's provocative sax, the knock-your-socks-off guitar solos, the memorable rock-n-roll anthems - are here again, too. While listening, I can't help but picture myself dancing and singing along to many of these songs with friends at a live show. (And if you've ever been to one of his shows, you know what I mean!!!)
A lot of care and thought has gone in to the production details as well. Songs thread seamlessly in to one another. Additional musicians and musical styles are used to full effect. And lyrics are included.
THE RISING is a modern classic, in my opinion ranking right up there with Bruce's best - but will stand on it's own. More than ever, it should solidify Bruce's place in musical history. It's an album that Neil Young, Billy Joel, and certainly Bon Jovi, among others, will wish they'd made.
Buy it.
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on August 2, 2002
If you're chronologically or musically fifteen years old, don't bother buying this CD since you won't connect with either the sound or the messages. However, if you are a musically and emotionally mature listener, then buy the CD, give it a few listens, read the lyrics and you will be happy that you did. Showing a musical range that Springsteen rarely displays while still retaining that classic "Springsteen Sound," the Boss has put together a terrific collection of emotional and musically engrossing songs. No, you won't find any sampling (we used to call it stealing) of other peoples' music, no hip-hop beats, no electronically altered sounds, no rap crap about "poppin' a cap in some fool's head," just straight-up rock-and-roll from one of the all-time best.
Though its unlikely that Springsteen will gain many new fans with this effort (though he deserves to), long-time Bruce fans will love this CD. It is certainly his best effort in a long long time, both in the lyrics and the music. The E-Street Band gets to strut its stuff (though not as much as I would like) and the few musically guests add interesting texture and depth to the recording. Bruce has always written songs with beautiful and emotional lyrics, but often the musical effort was lacking, or at least too predictable. That is certainly not the case with this CD. Excellent lyrics and finely-tuned music on virtually all the tracks, each with its own deeply emotional story to tell.
You can argue that this CD does not deserve five stars, but it certainly does not deserve a one-star rating.
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on September 11, 2010
On this anniversary, I revisted "The Rising" and realized, despite its missteps and excess, the deeply felt album by Bruce Springsteen keeps alive the feelings of those inside the attacks on the World Trade Center as well as any artist could. I'll never pretend to love all of "The Rising," but put together "Nothing Man," "The Rising" and "My City in Ruins" back-to-back and you will find a chilling, hopeful, stirring and ultimately magestiral sequence providing a deeply felt re-entry into the horror, sadness and immediacy of one of the worst moments ever in American history. Bruce Springsteen may be a marginal, albeit loved, character in 2010 America, but when he wrote this music, he was fighting for the heart and soul of his country the only way a songwriter knows how. When the man is in touch with his necessity, his mission, he can tear through layers of fabricated discord and get to the heart of the people that make up this still great land. I'm starting to think we underestimate his gift at our own peril. At his best, he's an angel, our rock n' roll poet laureate.
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