"There's spirits above and behind me, faces gone black, eyes' burnin' bright/May their precious blood bind me Lord, as I stand in your fiery light"
— from "The Rising"
Such is the plea from the title cut of Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band's Grammy–winning Best Rock Album, The Rising, a project on which he still reigns supreme as The Boss while also wearing the hats of both a preacher and a peacemaker. Springsteen has frequently woven themes of spirituality in his songwriting — this disc provides deeply personal, spiritually inspired material about September 11 amidst heavy doses of merrymaking rock and roll.
For instance, cuts like "The Fuse," "Worlds Apart," "Empty Sky," and "You're Missing," a quartet of tactful mini–sermons covering mourning, anger, loss, and restoration. In "Further On Up the Road," Springsteen looks to the hope of heaven for comfort in the loss of a friend: "One sunny mornin' we'll rise I know/And I'll meet you further on up the road." He also expresses faith to persevere in "Lonesome Day" by singing, "'This too shall pass,' I'm gonna pray … Let kingdom come, I'm gonna find my way through this lonesome day."
"My City of Ruins" obviously inspires an image of a stricken and wounded New York, but it is actually about Springsteen's New Jersey upbringing, toward which he pleas for restoration and revival — "The church's door thrown open/I can hear the organ's song/But the congregation's gone/My city of ruins." The chorus soon becomes an intercessory prayer as Springsteen cries, "With these hands I pray for the strength, Lord/With these hands I pray for the faith, Lord/With these hands, I pray for your love, Lord."
In fact, the only song that seems to conflict ...1