Bruce Springsteen came out of New Jersey in the early 1970s sounding like a cross between Bob Dylan and early Tom Waits, backed by the rambunctious E Street Band. After toughening up his sound, Springsteen created his 1975 masterpiece, BORN TO RUN, which garnered critical acclaim for its blend of Spectorian grandeur and street poetry. Nine years later, BORN IN THE U.S.A. made him a worldwide superstar with its beefed-up stadium-rock sound. Along the way, he's produced such low-key acoustic-based milestones as NEBRASKA and THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD, never losing the blue-collar ethos that is central to his vision. His 2002 album, THE RISING, is considered one of the finest artistic responses to the 9/11tragedy produced in the event's immediate aftermath.
The Rising is the 12th studio album by Bruce Springsteen, released in 2002. In addition to being Springsteen''s first studio album in seven years, it was also his first with the E Street Band in 18 years. It is centered around Springsteen''s reflections on the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Upon its release, The Rising was a critical and commercial success, and hailed as the triumphant return for Springsteen. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of over 520,000 copies. With this, Springsteen became the oldest person to achieve a first-week sales of over a half of a million copies in the United States. The album also garnered a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album in 2003; although nominated for, the Album of the Year award as well, it was beaten by Norah Jones'' debut album Come Away with Me. Title song "The Rising" was also a Grammy nominee and recipient.
For the year 2002, The Rising was one of only two albums to receive Rolling Stone''s highest rating - five stars - the other being Beck''s Sea Change. The magazine also ranked the album #15 on its list of 100 Best Albums of the Decade.
Although it seemed the Boss had put writing rock anthems behind him after Born in the U.S.A., his longtime fans knew if any artist could write anthems addressing September 11, 2001, and not make them sound jingoistic, it would be Bruce Springsteen. The numerous anthems on his much-anticipated first full-length album with the E Street Band in 18 years are subtler than those of the Born to Run era. But the elements are all there: the joyous rocking strains of "Countin' on a Miracle," "Mary's Place," and "Waitin' on a Sunny Day"; the dark overtones of "Further on Up the Road"; the stunning guitar solo that closes "Worlds Apart," a dramatic Arabic-tinged piece detailing star-crossed love between a Muslim and an "infidel." Although most of these songs deal with death and tragedy, they still inspire. But while the lyrics are intriguing, what's more remarkable is how well The Rising works as epic rock & roll as it draws from rockabilly, soul, doo-wop hard rock, country, and even industrial. To skewer a cliché, when The Rising is good, it's great. And even when it's not great, it's still awfully good. --Bill Holdship
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