"Lonesome Day" is a song written by Bruce Springsteen and initially performed by Springsteen and the E Street Band. It was the opening track of his 2002 album The Rising. It was released as a single as the follow-up to the title track on December 2, 2002 and reached #36 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, #39 in the UK, and #47 in Sweden.
"Lonesome Day" sets the tone for The Rising album as one of several songs on the album with lyrics that appear to be inspired by the September 11, 2001 attacks. However, like other songs on the album, the lyrics work well as a reflection of the general human condition as well as the specific incident that occurred on September 11. The narrator of the song is attempting to deal with the loneliness due to the loss of his (or her) beloved. The narrator sings that "It's going to be okay/If I can just get through this lonesome day." But although the narrator now grieves the loss, he realizes that he did not really know his beloved that well and he acknowledges that he had been less than perfect in his relationship with the now absent beloved. The lyrics in the 2nd verse allude to the possibility of revenge: "A little revenge and this too shall pass." This is representative of one side of the conflicted feelings reflected in the album about the possible response to the September 11 attacks, where some songs like this one and "Empty Sky" allude to revenge and others, such as "Paradise" and "Worlds Apart" hope for mutual understanding. Springsteen biographer Dave Marsh interprets the lines in the 3rd verse that you "better ask questions before you shoot" as recognition that revenge will not work.
"Lonesome Day" also sets the tone for the album musically. It is a midtempo rock song that also has country music elements. Soozie Tyrell's strident violin is prominent, introducing one of several new musical textures that the E Street Band employs on the album. Producer Brendan O'Brien himself plays a hurdy gurdy, which musically hints that the narrator is remembering an innocent past that never was.
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