Writers: Bruce Springsteen
Producer: Brendan O’Brien
Released: July 16th 2002
Bruce Springsteen, yeah I’ve heard of him, “the Boss”, Boss of what I don’t know…. But he is known to me. I’m familiar with Born in the USA and Born to Run (I wonder what it is with birth references in my experience of listening to his music, or has he got the obsession?). I also loved one of his most recent releases “Death to my Hometown”, woooahhhh!!! Maybe I have the circle of life problem, “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba….” See I can’t stop myself….. Help! The Lion King is taking over now…
Getting back to “Death to my Hometown”, I really liked the Irish feel to it and reminded me of the Pogues and the Dropkick Murphys. However, maybe I should research the lyrics a bit more thoroughly, being Brit Boy we may get into the old Red Jacket problems…..
Anyway back to the song I am supposed to be listening to “The Rising’, I must admit I have no memory of this song but that’s not to say it won’t appear out of my subconscious once I play it as other songs have done. Released in July 2002 it did pretty rubbish in both the UK and US charts so maybe I can be excused for not knowing it (we’ll see), this does beg the question though, how did it make the list even so low down…??
First, can I start with the fact that I love Bruce Springsteen. I could name many of his songs. His first wife is actually from Lake Oswego, OR which is only a few miles from my hometown. (My kids currently attend the rival school district of “LO”.) I think this has always given me a special connection with “The Boss”. Anyway, with regards to this album I remember it was made in dedication to September 11th. This track was the cover, and signifies the “rising” up of America from the ashes which were left…. I have not heard this song for years. I am anxious to listen to it again, with fresh ears over a decade later. I wonder what emotions it will trigger if any.
OK, this is where you see that there is a reason for the disposition, first you have my gut feel then I do a bit of research. So I don’t know whether apologies are in order or I should plead being British, but this song has won Grammy’s for Best rock Song and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. In addition this was a song written about the horrific September 11th attacks on the twin towers. Now here is my problem, I live in America, I love America and witnessed the unfolding of September 11th here in Detroit before I’d even moved, with my first born 18 month’s old back in the UK. It was an awful awful time but brought me long lasting friends and I believe the beginnings of my love affair with the USA. The problem is, I’m not that impressed with the song. Its OK but I’m not feeling anything, maybe more research is in order……
I haven’t listened to any Bruce music for awhile, so the moment the song starts to play I am already feeling it. However, “The Boss” just has that level of talent. He could sing the ABCs and I would probably feel moved. He has an amazing voice and really puts his soul into what he is singing. After listening to this song years later, I quickly realize that if it were not for my prior background on this album, I would not know this track was even based on the September 11th attacks. The lyrics do not actually mention anything specific at all in regards to September 11th…
Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight
So returning to my old friend Wikipedia, we find that the song was written about a New York City Fire Department firefighter, climbing the stairs of one of the twin towers after they have been hit by the hijacked planes. I have been to ground zero and have experienced an incredibly moving account by one of the surviving firefighters about how awful that day was and the extreme tragedy that unfolded. I will always have those brave selfless firefighters in my heart and the other extraordinary people who lost their lives helping others or were just a victim of circumstance. However the problem is I don’t think the track is that special, yes it commemorates the bravery of the firefighters and catalogs an absolutely horrific time in our recent history, but… I think it is average, it wouldn’t make my I-pod. I really think the only additional reason it made the list, is because it was coincidentally the title track from Bruce Springsteen’s first album release in 15 years. I may not make any friends here but I’m just trying to be honest, I think the background and time of release was better than the track.
I agree with Brit Boy on many of his points. The track does seem a bit average, especially considering it’s “The Boss”, I feel it could have been outstanding with a little more intensity added to the lyrics. However, I still really like it. I am not sure which version Brit Boy watched on You Tube, but I watched a live performance, and you could tell this song means something to Bruce. His soul is in this piece of music. It makes me feel a connection directly with him, and that alone is very powerful. I would actually love to see this song performed live. There is just something special about witnessing an artist using their gift to express their personal emotions. I do not think The Boss wrote this song for an audience, I believe he wrote it for himself.
I also did a little Wikipedia searching myself and found a list of all songs about September 11th. In this regard, I believe Bruce is the most notable. However, I find real irony in the fact the “Wheatus” made the list. Just a few posts ago, Brit Boy mistakenly confused “Weezer” with “Wheatus”. I had never even heard of Wheatus until then. Low in behold, Wheatus also wrote a song on the September 11th attacks. I had a quick listen and read of the lyrics. Must admit I did enjoy it, the lyrics are pretty powerful, but still I don’t think they lay a finger on The Boss and his “Rising”….
I’d trade all my sunshine, for twin towers to hide behind
and find you there
And I left on that Sunday
To come home on a Tuesday
Well I never
I never thought I’d have to stay and watch the world explode
As a post script I’ve been listening to this a few more times and its growing on me, however there have been other musically and lyrically poor tracks that have grown on me also. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’ve just not gelled with it.