When I'm in the mood to listen to a Bruce Springsteen album (which is pretty often), I frequently forget about The Rising, which was his response to 9/11 and the album that got The E Street Band back together. They're put out a few really good albums since The Rising, but I don't always remember how good The Rising is. It was especially good at putting to words a lot of scary emotions after the attacks, but it holds up surprisingly well more than nine years later. Maybe it's partly because it's been a pretty crazy and violent nine years. (At least it has been for people my age, who grew up in the relatively tranquil and trouble-free late 80s and 90s.) And it's probably partly because although 9/11 was a human loss on a staggering scale, there are smaller routine moments of death and loss every day. It's life. On The Rising, the song "Empty Sky" evokes the loss of a loved one, and the complicated sense of longing for the one lost and the need to hold someone responsible for taking them away:
I woke up this morning I could barely breathe Just an empty impression In the bed where you used to be I want a kiss from your lips I want an eye for an eye I woke up this morning to the empty sky
"I want a kiss from your lips. I want an eye for an eye." The past nine years, in two lines.