The Rising (album)

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The Rising
Studio album by Bruce Springsteen
Released July 30, 2002
Recorded January–March 2002
Genre Rock, heartland rock
Length 72:52
Label Columbia
Producer Brendan O'Brien
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band chronology
Live in New York City
The Rising
The Essential Bruce Springsteen
Singles from The Rising
  1. "The Rising"
    Released: June 24, 2002
  2. "Lonesome Day"
    Released: December 2, 2002
  3. "Waitin' on a Sunny Day"
    Released: April 22, 2003

The Rising is the 12th studio album by American recording artist Bruce Springsteen, released in 2002 on Columbia Records. 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.[1] 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.[citation needed] 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 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. In 2012, it was rated #424 on the 500 Greatest Albums.

History and Influence[edit]

While most of the songs were written after September 11, 2001, a few of them pre-date the attacks. It's been rumored that Springsteen got the inspiration for the album a few days after the 9/11 attacks, when a stranger in a car stopped next to him, rolled down his window and said: "We need you now."[2] Springsteen also told this story to journalist Mark Binelli in the August 22, 2002 issue of Rolling Stone. "My City of Ruins" was originally performed in, and written about, Asbury Park, New Jersey. After its performance by Springsteen on the post-September 11 America: A Tribute to Heroes telethon, however, the song took on an expanded meaning. "Further On (Up the Road)" was performed live in Madison Square Garden during the summer of 2000 at the end of the Springsteen-E Street Reunion Tour, and was professionally recorded, although it was not included in the HBO, DVD, or CD versions of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: Live in New York City. "Waitin' on a Sunny Day" was originally written in the early- or mid-1990s and played in at least one soundcheck during the Reunion Tour. Springsteen has commented that "Nothing Man" was originally completed in 1994 but re-recorded for this album. "Worlds Apart" is the most experimental song on the album, featuring a heavy Middle Eastern along with Qawwali singers in the introduction.[3] "The Fuse," another experimental track features a subtle Hip-Hop beat and vocal looping. A re-recorded version of the song, with an orchestral backing features in the Spike Lee-directed film 25th Hour.

"Mary's Place" is directly inspired by Sam Cooke's "Meet Me at Mary's Place";[4][5] "Let's Be Friends" takes musical form from John Mellencamp's "Cherry Bomb" and Mariah Carey's "Dreamlover";[6] and the gospel-like "My City of Ruins" is organized around the melody line of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready".[7]


Helped by a substantial marketing campaign — pre-release promotion was the biggest of Springsteen's career [8] — and the concurrent Rising Tour, The Rising went on to become Springsteen's first #1 album on the U.S. pop albums chart since his 1995 Greatest Hits album and would go on to sell about 2,100,000 copies in the United States (with 520,000 in the first week alone), making it Springsteen's best-selling and highest charting album of new material since 1987's Tunnel of Love.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Blender 4/5 stars [9]
PopMatters 8/10 stars [3]
Allmusic 4/5 stars [10]
Uncut 5/5 stars [11]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars [12]
Village Voice 2.5/5 stars [13]

Initial critical response to The Rising was overwhelmingly positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 82, based on 21 reviews.[14] In their five-star review, Rolling Stone said of the album: "With his new album, The Rising, Springsteen wades into the wreckage and pain of that horrendous event and emerges bearing fifteen songs that genuflect with enormous grace before the sorrows that drift in its wake." Rolling Stone also ranked "The Rising" #15 on its list of 100 Best Albums of the Decade.[15] Uncut called the album: "A brave and beautiful album of humanity, hurt and hope from the songwriter best qualified to speak to and for his country.... A towering achievement." On the other hand, the Village Voice had a very mixed response to the album, saying: "September 11 affected us all in different ways, and the way it affected Bruce Springsteen was this—as the second tower toppled from the sky, he was plunged into a world of eternal vagueness." [13]

Cultural impact[edit]

Although "The Rising" was a response to 9/11, many see it as a more universal anthem of resilience and hope. On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Dan DeLuca of the Philadelphia Inquirer said: "The songs make contextual sense in the aftermath of 9/11, but the specific details that give them power are allusive. 'Lonesome Day,' 'You're Missing,' and 'My City of Ruins' are about the hollowing devastation of that day, but the language is universal, so the sentiments are by no means frozen in time." [16] The song "My City of Ruins" has been used in response to tragedies other than 9/11, such as the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, while on tour supporting his We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions album, Springsteen performed the song at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The song received an emotional response from the crowd given its refrain of "Come on rise up!"[17] "The Rising", given its message of hope in the face of adversity, was used by President Barack Obama as his official campaign song after Springsteen endorsed him in April 2008.

In 2013 Cheshire Fire & Rescue Staff in the UK sung The Rising in the BBC television programme The Choir. Although they didn't win, their singing of this particular song was widely regarded as one off the most moving episodes.


Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Bruce Springsteen. 

No. Title Length
1. "Lonesome Day"   4:08
2. "Into the Fire"   5:04
3. "Waitin' on a Sunny Day"   4:18
4. "Nothing Man"   4:23
5. "Countin' on a Miracle"   4:44
6. "Empty Sky"   3:34
7. "Worlds Apart"   6:07
8. "Let's Be Friends (Skin to Skin)"   4:21
9. "Further On (Up the Road)"   3:52
10. "The Fuse"   5:37
11. "Mary's Place"   6:03
12. "You're Missing"   5:10
13. "The Rising"   4:50
14. "Paradise"   5:39
15. "My City of Ruins"   5:00

Tour edition bonus DVD[edit]

  1. "The Rising" [live, 2002 MTV Video Music Awards performance]
  2. "Waitin' on a Sunny Day" [live, The Rising Tour, Barcelona, Spain, 2002]
  3. "Lonesome Day" [music video]
  4. "Mary's Place" [The Rising Tour, Barcelona, Spain, 2002]
  5. "Dancing in the Dark" [The Rising Tour, Barcelona, Spain, 2002]

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
2002 Billboard 200 1
2002 Canadian 1
2002 UK Albums Chart 1


E Street Band[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Unleashed by Toby Keith
Billboard 200 number-one album
August 11, 2002 - August 24, 2002
Succeeded by
Nellyville by Nelly
Preceded by
By the Way by Red Hot Chili Peppers
UK number one album
August 10, 2002 – August 16, 2002
Succeeded by
By the Way by Red Hot Chili Peppers