The Rising (album)

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The Rising
Springsteen The Rising.jpg
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 twelfth 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] Widely believed to have been based on Springsteen's reflections during the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the album is predominantly centered upon themes of relationship struggles, existential crisis and social uplift.

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.

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] The gospel-like "My City of Ruins" is organized around the melody line of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready".[6]


Helped by a substantial marketing campaign — pre-release promotion was the biggest of Springsteen's career [7] — 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.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[8]
Blender 4/5 stars[9]
Entertainment Weekly A–[10]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[11]
NME 7/10[12]
Q 4/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[14]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[15]
Spin 8/10[16]
Uncut 5/5 stars[17]

The Rising received widespread acclaim from music critics. 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.[18] In a rave review for Rolling Stone, Kurt Loder said that it is a triumphant and cohesive album because of its "bold thematic concentration and penetrating emotional focus".[14] Thom Jurek of AllMusic called the album "one of the very best examples in recent history of how popular art can evoke a time period and all of its confusing and often contradictory notions, feelings and impulses."[8] David Browne, writing in Entertainment Weekly, felt that Springsteen's message has a renewed relevance, while his occasionally overburdened lyrics are overcome by lively and vivid music.[10] Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club wrote that the musically confident album showcases Springsteen's strength as an empathic songwriter.[19] Uncut magazine called The Rising "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."[17]

In a mixed review for The Guardian, Alexis Petridis found the music awkwardly old-fashioned and said that its best songs are highlighted by good melodies rather than lyrics, which he felt are generally simplistic and unambiguous.[11] Keith Harris of The Village Voice found most of the songs too vague and unworldly, and lacking in real-life characters "responding in their idiosyncratic ways."[20] In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau cited "Paradise", "Nothing Man", "The Rising", and "My City of Ruins" as "choice cuts",[21] indicating good songs on "an album that isn't worth your time or money".[22] He felt that The Rising is unmistakably patriotic to the point where it is "dragged down, with a few magnificent exceptions, by the overburdened emotions and conceptual commonplaces of the great audience that inspired it."[23]

The Rising was voted the sixth best album of 2002 in the Pazz & Jop, an annual critics poll run by The Village Voice.[24] Kludge included it on their list of best albums of 2002.[25] Christgau, the poll's creator and supervisor, ranked the title track as the year's tenth best single in his own list for the poll.[26] In 2011, Rolling Stone named it the fifteenth best album of the 2000s.[27]

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." [28] 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!"[29] "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.[30]

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]


  1. ^ Hiatt, Brian (2002-06-03). "'Born' Again?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  2. ^ Patrick Kelly (2001-09-11). "'The Rising' of Bruce Springsteen". America Magazine. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "American Routes ~ Mr. Soul: A Tribute to Sam Cooke". 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  5. ^ Symynkywicz, Jeffery B. (2008). The Gospel According to Bruce Springsteen: Rock and Redemption, from Asbury Park to Magic. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 147. ISBN 0-664-23169-1. 
  6. ^ 9/11 Culture: America Under Construction, Jeffrey Melnick, John Wiley and Sons, 2009. ISBN 1405173718. p. 57.
  7. ^ "Springsteen's 'Magic' Sitting Outside Grammy's Window: Might A Back Door Plot Be Devised?". Variety. August 16, 2007. 
  8. ^ a b Jurek, Thom. "The Rising – Bruce Springsteen". AllMusic. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  9. ^ Blender (New York) (9): 140. 2002.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ a b Browne, David (August 2, 2002). "The Rising Review". Entertainment Weekly (New York) (665). Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Petridis, Alexis (July 25, 2002). "CD of the week: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band". The Guardian (London). Friday Review section, page 19. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Bruce Springsteen : The Rising". NME (London): 34. August 10, 2002. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  13. ^ Q (London): 111. September 2002.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ a b Loder, Kurt (July 30, 2002). "The Rising". Rolling Stone (New York). Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (July 28, 2002). "Bruce Springsteen: The Rising". Slant Magazine. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Reviews". Spin (New York): 130. September 2002. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "Album of the Month". Uncut (London): 102. September 2002. 
  18. ^ "Bruce Springsteen:Tim Hecker (2002): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  19. ^ Phipps, Keith (August 12, 2002). "Bruce Springsteen: The Rising". The A.V. Club (Chicago). Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  20. ^ Harris, Keith (August 6, 2002). "Lift Every Voice". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  21. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 10, 2002). "Consumer Guide: A Very Good Year". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  22. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Key to Icons". Robert Christgau. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  23. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 24, 2002). "Attack of the Chickenshits". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  24. ^ "The 2002 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice (New York). February 18, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  25. ^ "The Best of 2002". Kludge. Archived from the original on July 22, 2004. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Pazz & Jop 2002: Dean's List". The Village Voice (New York). February 18, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^

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