Ten years ago, in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Bruce Springsteen released his first studio album in seven years. It was called The Rising and it offered a moving reflection on that fateful day in American history. Springsteen described firefighters wearing crosses around their necks (“the cross of my calling”) and fulfilling their vocations as they charged into flaming buildings. He encouraged people to find a way to get “through this lonesome day.” He took a song (“My City of Ruins”) originally written to describe hard times in his home town of Asbury Park and made it speak to the tragedy suffered by the people of New York City. As the story goes, in the days after the attacks a fan in a car stopped next to Springsteen, rolled down his window, and yelled “We need you now.” Springsteen took heed and delivered what many consider to be his most important album.
Springsteen is 62 years old and still going strong. His new album, which was released yesterday, is entitled Wrecking Ball. It does for our current economic recession what The Rising did for 9/11. The songs explore themes of work, community, and the tragic and hopeful dimensions of American life. Wrecking Ball is an album about America, but it is also an album of faith, rooted in the Christian tradition. In fact, fans of Christian music might be familiar with its producer. His name is Ron Aniello and he has produced albums for Jars of Clay, Sixpence None the Richer, and Jeremy Camp.
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