the rising is bruce springsteen's 2002 first full-length album with the e street band in 18 years. although it seemed the boss had put writing rock anthems behind him following born in the usa, his long-time fans knew if any artist could write anthems addressing september 11, 2001 and not make them sound jingoistic, it would be bruce springsteen. the numerous anthems on the rising are subtler than those of the born to run era. but the elements are all there—be it the joyous rocking strains of "countin' on a miracle", "mary's place" and "waitin' on a sunny day"; the dark overtones of "further on up the road"; or the stunning guitar solo that closes "worlds apart", a dramatic arabic-tinged piece detailing star-crossed love between a muslim and an "infidel." while most of these songs deal with death and tragedy, they still inspire. but while the lyrics are intriguing, what's more remarkable is how well the rising works as epic rock & roll as it draws from rockabilly, soul, doo-wop hard rock, country and even industrial. to skewer an old cliche, when the rising is good, it's great. and even when it's not great, it%u2019s still awfully good.