Countin’ on a Miracle (2002) – Bruce Springsteen

Countin’ on a Miracle is from Bruce’s The Rising record released after the attack on the twin towers in New York. This record was a dedication to the victims and survivors of that terrible day. The Rising was symbolically named to praise the heroism of the firefighters and emergency teams heading up the stairwells of the Towers before they collapsed. Until the release of the Rising I hadn’t heard much of Bruce’s music since his 1992 Human Touch record, but I thought The Rising was an amazing return to form. It was his first studio album in 7 years and became Springsteen’s first to top the US Billboard 200 since Tunnel of Love in 1987. His live Barcelona concert for The Rising is one of my favourite music concerts I like to revisit.

I’m runnin’ through the forest
With the wolf at my heels
My king is lost at midnight
When the tower bells peal
We’ve got no fairytale ending
In God’s hands our fate is complete
Your heaven’s here in my heart
Our love’s this dust beneath my feet
Just this dust beneath my feet
If I’m gonna live
I’ll lift my life
Darlin’ to you

Springsteen said he got the inspiration for the album a few days after the 9/11 attacks, when a stranger in a car stopped next to him, rolled down his window and said: “We need you now”. I was not directly impacted by the events of September 11, 2001, apart from having viewed the events (like nearly all of us) and seeing something so terrifying and evil occurring. For me the event took a long time to process. The Rising album was instrumental in allowing me to grieve and empathize with those unfortunate individuals that were directly impacted that day. Songs from his Rising record projects my mind back to the impact of the events of that fateful day.

Countin’ on a Miracle contains about the best ‘bridge’ in any song I have heard. Normally I loathe these fillers as they seem to labour the song, but in Countin’ the bridge is the part of the song I like the most. Mind you the layout of this song is unconventional to say the least. A bridge if you are unaware is a musical passage that connects two sections of a song. It could connect the verse to the chorus of a song or it might sit between the last two chorus sections to add variation. The bridge as I have presupposed here in Countin’ lifts the song into the stratosphere:

Your kiss, your kiss, your touch, your touch
Your heart, your heart, your strength, your strength
Your hope, your hope, your faith, your faith
Your face, your face, your love, your love
Your dream, your dream, your life, your life

When Bruce delves into that section (from 1:40 in the video below) it sends shivers down my spine every time. Perhaps this song is written from the perspective of someone who lost a loved one in the World Trade Center. Not knowing whether or not they’re alive and they’re praying for the intervention of some kind. And then they find out that they have passed … “There’s no fairy tale ending..” and “Sleeping Beauty awakes from her dream with a kiss from her lovers lips”. And all that remains are memories. This song is really hard to write about because of what it elicits in the mind. To be honest, I feel fortunate to be able to listen to it. Below is the version live in Barcelona:

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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32 comments on “Countin’ on a Miracle (2002) – Bruce Springsteen
  1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    Bruce can always relay a point in time in such a vivid way. Have you read is new autobiography? His descriptions are outstanding…a little wordy at times but it fits him.

  2. Good piece Matt. I really like this whole record.

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