[HOT TRACK]Springsteen comes back, just when he is needed

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[HOT TRACK]Springsteen comes back, just when he is needed

Bruce Springsteen, a legend of American rock and roll but an artist who never really appealed to Korean audiences, hasn't produced much in the past decade. Now he's back with "The Rising," an album paying tribute to the victims of last September's terrorist attack in New York.

Each song on the disk is connected to or inspired by the tragedy. While the mood of the 15 songs is emotional, it tends more toward sorrow and loss than rage and revenge.

Since his debut in 1973 with "Greetings From Asbury Park, New Jersey," Springsteen has been an icon of American rock with his honest, blue-collar approach to his music. He sings about themes that are at once simple and disturbing, patriotic and dissenting.

His style is a combination of rock, folk, and rhythm and blues, strengthened by thought-provoking lyrics. He sings in the various voices of the poor, the Vietnam war veteran, and the laid-off construction worker. His popularity peaked in 1984 with the album "Born in the U.S.A." Almost all the tracks became hit singles.

With "The Rising," Springsteen eases from the thunderous sound he is known for and weaves a collection of gentle, sorrowful tracks. The album can be perceived as an attempt to provide solace to an entire nation.

At first listen "The Rising" sounds lackluster and monotonous. But pay attention to the lyrics, such as, "I woke up this morning to an empty sky," and the album begins to work.

Springsteen evokes images of better, more innocent times, and reminds you to appreciate them. Fittingly, he recruited his main back-up players, The E-Street Band, for this album.

The disk opens with "Lonesome Day," a frank song about a man realizing -- too late -- how much his wife means to him. To an earnest melody, Springsteen sings lines of consolation such as, "It's all right," and "This too shall pass."

Among the subtly told tales of pain, fire, blood and faith, Springsteen makes a point of inclusiveness in the seventh cut, "Worlds Apart." The song is distinguished by exotic melodies and backup vocals, interspersed with driving guitars. In one line, Springsteen sings, "May the living let us in, before the dead tear us apart."

by Chun Su-jin

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