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Monday, 24 February, 2003, 05:20 GMT
Springsteen's September songs
Bruce Springsteen
Springsteen: The voice of a nation?
American music critics have claimed that Bruce Springsteen's new album, dedicated entirely to the impact and aftermath of September 11, has captured a nation's grief.

Anthony De Curtis, a critic for Rolling Stone Magazine, told BBC World Service how Springsteen was reaching out to his audience.

"America has always been Springsteen's great subject. He has attempted to define a vision of what this country can be for an audience of essentially working class white people."

"Those fireman and police men are Bruce Springsteen's audience," he added.

"He saw a responsibility that he has to document their story for everyone here, that was his job and he did his job."

Repercussions

The veteran American rocker's new album, The Rising, has been hailed by Time Magazine as the "first significant piece of pop art to respond to the events of the day."

Fire fighters at the  World Trade Center
Springsteen tries to capture the most powerful scenes in song
Touching upon themes of sacrifice and mourning, love and resurrection; Springsteen told the Arts In Action programme how he attempted to capture the repercussions of that day.

"I was trying to describe the most powerful images of the 11th."

"People coming down [inside the World Trade Center] talked about the emergency workers ascending.

I felt left with that image at the end of the day - those guys were going up the stairs, they could be ascending a smoky staircase or they could be in the afterlife."

Uprising

However some critics have leveled a charge of exploitation at the all American artist.

Defending his integrity, Springsteen told how he hopes to have earned, "the creative authority" to handle such sensitive material.

Bruce Springsteen
Voice of America
A sentiment echoed by Rolling Stone's De Curtis: "For his audience Springsteen represents the ability to overcome difficulty.

"He is doing what he does best which is calling on people to reach inside themselves and rise above their circumstances."

Inspiration

After September 11, Springsteen read the obituaries that ran daily in The New York Times newspaper.

He telephoned some of the widows and listened to their stories. He explained how the experience of hearing these people talk of heroism and suffering moved him deeply.

"What you were thinking and the way you were writing was contextualized by new experiences and by the experiences that everyone had on that day," he explained.

"The songs just emotionally came out."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Bruce Springsteen talks to Arts In Action
"I was trying to describe the most powerful images of the 11th"
See also:

17 May 02 | Entertainment
15 May 02 | Americas
11 Jan 02 | Entertainment
05 Dec 00 | Entertainment
13 Jun 00 | Americas
24 Jan 99 | Entertainment
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