Take the BruceTest™ Vol. 5 – The Rising

by Peter Wendel
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TheRisingBruceTest5 SongMango.comOn the heels of the devastating and despicable acts of terrorism in France, it would do us some good to revisit one of the most powerful, hopefully defiant and inspirational rock albums of all time – Bruce Springsteen’s post-9/11 masterpiece, The Rising.

Its messages and themes of hope and resilience, as well as steely-eyed defiance, are entirely applicable to the horrific situation playing out in Paris.

The Rising – released in July of 2002 just 10 months after the carnage of 9/11 – is hailed to this day as a tribute to the strength and resolve of the American people over terrorism. The album speaks to all Americans, but it focuses specifically on the contributions of hard-working everyday heroes, like firemen, police and medical personnel – those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their fellow man that day. According to Springsteen, our love and devotion to each other is how we defeat evil.

In a macro sense, The Rising can be applied to good in its ongoing battle over evil. The French, for instance, in their battle against ISIS (i.e., soulless cowards). Bruce served up an emotionally red-hot set of songs in The Rising that honors and nurtures love in its battle over hate, and salutes freedom’s long-running reign over oppression.

The Rising is the most poignant and notable example (at least in recent rock history) of music’s ability to soothe, heal and inspire people to forge on in the face of unspeakable tragedy. It works.

France is bowed, but just like America after 9/11, it will never ever be broken by hate and terror. The cowardly – regardless of how vicious and immoral – will never break the back of the brave. End of story.

The BruceTest™ Vol. 5 – The Rising

The fifth installment of the BruceTest™ collection is dedicated to the brave men and women of France. Je suis Paris.

We should all revisit The Rising during these sad, dark days. The potent themes of defiance, resilience, love and hope that rush through Springsteen’s enormously powerful 2002 album are applicable not only to 9/11 but also to the atrocious acts that took place in France.

The proud and courageous French people will be going through a “rising” of their own in the following weeks and months, just as Americans rose up from the ashes of 9/11 to be stronger and more resilient than before.


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Peter Wendel is a journalist and PR consultant. He's attended hundreds of concerts and festivals, including the Peach, Mountain Jam, the All Good and Lockn'. He's ridden legendary Grateful Dead runs from Ventura County Fairgrounds to Irvine Meadows (CA) from the Nassau Coliseum (NY) to the Boston Garden (MA). Peter is a former U.S. Marine who – after running into trouble with every last one of his commanding officers – received an honorable discharge and a direct order never to return. Born in California and raised in New Jersey, Peter lived in Boston and Joshua Tree (CA) before settling in the nation's capital. Find him on tour at PWendel@SongMango.com.