Many of these songs reflect on the events of 9-11, mourning lost loved ones (“Empty Sky,” “You’re Missing”) and honoring heroes who died in the line of duty (“The Rising,” “Nothing Man,” “Into the Fire”). With tragedy still large in his rearview mirror, the Boss communicates hope and optimism on “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day” and “Lonesome Day.” There’s even a spiritual component to “My City in Ruins,” which looks to start over with divine assistance (“With these hands I pray, Lord . . . I pray for strength, Lord . . . I pray for your love, Lord”). However . . .
The artist also responds to 9-11 by living for the moment. He relies on Eastern mysticism and goes to “Mary’s Place” to party his pain away. On “The Fuse,” Springsteen coaxes a woman into bed. Similarly sexual, “Worlds Apart” invites a Muslim woman to “throw the truth away . . . We’ve got this moment now to live,” while “Let’s Be Friends” says, “Maybe we could go skin to skin/ Don’t know when this chance might come again.”
At 53, this Jersey native faced crisis by writing and singing about it with the same blue-collar sensibilities that made him a hit back in 1975. But instead of just feeling a city’s pain and honoring its heroes, The Rising also seeks to restore calm with sex, parties and Buddhism.