While Ryan Adams' "New York, New York" had the unfortunate coincidence of being released on an album, Gold, that came out on 9-11, its video was also one of our last pieces of music film proof that the towers were still standing until that fateful day.
Many songs were written and continue to be written about 9-11. Remember, the Green Day song "Wake Me Up When September Ends" was not written about 9-11, according to Billie Joe Armstrong, and he should know, but rather about the passing of his father on September 10, 1982. Ditto, Public Enemy's "911 is A Joke," which was released way back in 1990 and is not about 9-11, but rather 9-1-1, the emergency telephone number.
I would like to take a moment here and dedicate this blog to Wayne Alan Russo, who died that day. Wayne, I will always remember you for the caring way you said to me, "Shut up, Rob."
10) Scott Walker - "Jesse": A truly scary piece of music. "Alive, I'm the only one left alive," sings Walker as he draws 9-11 into the story about Elvis singing to his still-born twin, Jesse Garon Presley, all while manipulating the riff from "Jailhouse Rock" for six and a half crazy minutes.
9) Eagles - "Hole In The World": Even when the Eagles do something earnest, they turn it into a way to turn a buck. They issued this as a DVD single and then onto The Very Best of the Eagles and then as the bonus track to the deluxe edition of Long Road Out of Eden.
7) The Cranberries - "New New York": One of the most difficult aspects of taking in such a tragedy is trying to put it into words. So, it's no coincidence this song includes the lines, "Nothing to say / There's nothing to say" and then proceeds to try to say something. Because you have to try.
5) Neil Young - "Let's Roll": Of course, Neil Young would write one quickly. It's not exactly "Ohio," but it was nice to see music being used as a form of immediate communication. The song was inspired by the bravery of the passengers of hijacked United Airlines Flight 93, in particular Todd Beamer who uttered the words, "Are you guys ready? Let's roll!"
4) Leonard Cohen - "On That Day": Leave it to Canada's most famous poet Leonard Cohen to write something that sounds like it came straight from the Bible. He doesn't lay blame. He doesn't attack. He's "just holding the fort" and offering up a little grace and dignity.
3) Dream Theater - "Sacrificed Sons": The ambitious instrumental attack of Dream Theater greatly conveys the heaviness of the entire debacle. This nearly 11-minute prog-rock track sounds like a movie soundtrack to the apocalypse.
2) Sun Kil Moon - "Gentle Moon": Mark Kozelek works as a modest poet and a great singer who knows his way around the makings of a classic song. This ballad offers that "all dreams escape fire," as the tune works like soothing pillow talk.
1) Bruce Springsteen - "You're Missing": Bruce wrote most of The Rising album about 9-11 and even the songs that didn't really fit, he shoehorned in there. But "You're Missing" is an obvious elegy to the reality of a post-9/11 world for many families.