Album: Bruce Springsteen
The Rising, Columbia
Friday 26 July 2002
If you didn't know that this was Springsteen's first studio album with the E Street Band since Born in the USA in 1984, you could figure it out just a few bars into the opener "Lonesome Day": the windy keyboards, with their Reagan-era air of vaunting pomp, sound flaccid and dated. It's the first of a series of underwhelming echoes of former glories that make The Rising possibly the worst album of Springsteen's career. "Waitin' on a Sunny Day" is a pale imitation of "Hungry Heart", while "Nothing Man", another of Springsteen's tributes to his blue-collar Everyman, comes burnished with familiar string-synth tones that simply remind one how much better "My Home Town" was. The problem is partly one of scale: Born in the USA offered 45 minutes of great songs, performed by a great band; at 73 minutes, The Rising just reveals how much hot air is flapping around the songs. Most depressing of all, though, is how poorly Springsteen deals with 11 September in bogus anthems such as "Into the Fire", "My City of Ruins" and the vapid "Empty Sky". He fares slightly better with "Worlds Apart", whose Qawwali wailing presumably signifies empathy with Islam, but his grasp of the wider issues appears just as flimsy as that of most of his compatriots. If this is how the country's leading political songwriter copes with the most significant event in recent US history, things won't be getting much better in a hurry.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre