Monday, October 18, 2010

A Message of Hope

September 11, 2001. Tragedy, devastation, loss. How could American ever overcome such a catastrophe? Through hope? Most certainly. Through unity? Of course. Through song? Sure, why not. Bruce Springsteen's 12th Studio Album, The Rising, released in 2002, centered around his reflections about the September 11th attacks. It is the first significant piece of pop art to respond to the events of that day. Time magazine reporter Josh Tyrangiel sat down with Springsteen after the production of the album to "take an intimate look at how Springsteen turned 9/11 into a message of hope." Springsteen's songs on the album are written from the views of the working people whose lives and fates intertwined with the hijacked planes. Sadness in the songs is matched with optimism, promises of redemption, and calls to spiritual arms. "There is more rising on The Rising than in a month of church," according to Tyrangiel. So what possessed Springsteen to write about such a tragic attack? Springsteen thought it was so challenging to tell his children what was going on. He believed there was an easier way to explain the day.

"I think it's become placed in their lives in the same way that the nuclear bomb was when I was a kid. It's the really dark, scary thing, and they're not sure where it can touch them. Can it touch them at school? Can it touch them in the house? What are its limits? Does it have limits? It's mysterious, you know."

To be able to effectively get his message across, Springsteen called the families of the victims to "flesh out the intimacies." One of the people he called, Stacy Farrelly, suffered the loss of her husband, a longtime Springsteen fan, on September 11th. She felt that, "After [she] got off the phone with [Springsteen], the world just felt a little smaller. [She] got through Joe's memorial and a good month and a half on that phone call." Bruce Springsteen truly wanted to bring hope into the lives of others, and wanted to learn the facts of those affected, not just rely on the vague reports in the newspapers. Loss is everywhere on The Rising. One of the most popular songs, You're Missing, "penetrates the unique horror of having a loved one turned to ash." The song rises to greatness because Springsteen uses the emotions of those affected to spread his message. The feelings expressed are true and real. Springsteen notes that, "When you're putting yourself into shoes you haven't worn, you have to be very ... just very thoughtful, is the way that I'd put it." According to Tyrangiel, "The fire-fighter songs, Into the Fire and the first single, The Rising, put the listener in the physical space of the crumbling towers" and "What's missing on The Rising is politics." Springsteen understands that "spiritual revival is a necessity and that it has to be a communal experience." And that is how he spreads his message of hope- through emotions, through spirit, through revival. Artists today continue to express views on events through song, poetry, and art. It's a great way to increase optimism and hope in those around us. Until we meet again, xoxo Brunette


hornet111 said...

A great blog about one of America's great!! Good jobb!! :)