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Does 'The Rising' touch the sky?

Rolling Stone editor talks about Springsteen album

Bruce Springsteen makes an appearance at Georgies last Wednesday in Asbury Park, New Jersey. His new album, "The Rising" -- influenced by September 11 -- is to be released Tuesday.  

Editor's Note: CNN Access is a regular feature on providing interviews with newsmakers from around the world.

(CNN) -- On Tuesday, Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" -- his first studio album of all-new material in seven years -- comes out. The record has made news not least because Springsteen has focused on the people affected by the September 11 attacks for much of his subject matter.

CNN anchor Paula Zahn talked with Toure, a contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine, Monday about "The Rising."

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Bruce Springsteen has a new record out this week, and a sold-out U.S. concert tour starting next month. He also happened to land the cover of Time magazine and Rolling Stone. Springsteen's first album of original material in seven years is called "The Rising."

And joining us now to talk about it, Rolling Stone contributing editor, Toure. The smart man with no last name. How are you this morning?

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ZAHN: Good, thanks. So why all the attention on this album?

TOURE: The movie script couldn't be more perfect. The country is in mourning, right? The business [and] economic plunge takes us down further, and here comes America's blues singer, the working-class guy, the poet of the common man, to come and sing for us. And just -- I mean, this is the ultra-American guy, like Captain America with a guitar, and just the fact of his return hints of the indestructibility of America. And then the music is actually good.

ZAHN: Is it?

TOURE: It is actually good. He's singing about 9/11, he is talking from the firefighters' perspective, he's talking from the perspective of the people who are looking for people, missing people. And there's a lot of beautiful, bluesy, soulful music on this. It's amazing.

ZAHN: We should mention that Springsteen researched this with family members. He spent countless hours on the phone with many victims, family members. Does it connect?

Rolling Stone contributing editor Toure  

TOURE: Yes, it does. I mean, the details are there. It's not so over-the-top that it's like a concept album, but just the way that Marvin Gaye looked at Vietnam with "What's Going On," that he has got those details that round the story out, that make it real. It definitely touches you, this album.

ZAHN: The lyrics I have seen are really powerful, but the question I have to ask you is, [is it] not going to be long before a bunch of critics sit out there and say that Bruce Springsteen is commercializing September 11?

TOURE: Right. Now, I mean this is significant American artist responding to tragedy, responding to America and what's going in society right now, and I think this is a relevant -- an important response, and it is an important time for someone like this, a pop artist, to be making a serious record dealing with what's going on in America.

ZAHN: And if it's OK for him to do this, does this open the floodgates?

TOURE: Well, you have got to do it in the right way. You know, I mean, like I could see U2 making a similar statement, but they're Irish. It's different than the guy from Jersey who did "Born in the U.S.A.," who did "Nebraska," to come in and comment on the tragedy that happened right across the river from him.

ZAHN: In fact, he talks about, and in some interviews he has done recently, how he immediately went to one of the bridges ...


Rolling Stone editor talks about Springsteen album

ZAHN: ... from New Jersey ...


ZAHN: ... where he could see ...


ZAHN: ... that gaping hole in the skyline, and how that affected him personally...


ZAHN: ... and his family.

TOURE: I mean, he talks about people coming to him, saying we need you now, and he kind of didn't understand quite what that meant. But, when you look at the way things are, I mean, the blues singer comes in to confront the blues, confront the tragedy, and make you feel better. And that's what he is here to do.

ZAHN: Well, we appreciate your coming by to talk about the Boss and his new album, which is available what? In two days?

TOURE: Tomorrow.

ZAHN: Tomorrow.

TOURE: Tuesday.

ZAHN: Toure, again. Toure of Rolling Stone. We appreciate your time.


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