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Cail's big honking Rush thread
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Echoing some of what Z said, aTOMic, I don't hold any of their output in contempt at all, and don't want to give that impression. I dislike making statements about a certain group being my absolute favorite, because that is always partly dependant on my mood at the time, but these guys are certainly one of my all time favorites, and I can find elements to enjoy in everything they've put out. I end up listening to records of theirs over and over again, even ones I would qualify as "lesser" because there's always something interesting there, even if the whole song doesn't quite work for me. There are very few bands that I can listen too and enjoy every album. Rush is one.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aTOMiC wrote:
I get the feeling that (when I read threads like this) that I am just not paying attention to, or interested in, the same elements of Rush that the rest of you are. Nothing wrong with that but it seems to be true.

And I can agree with/see that, too. In fact, maybe you should post MORE on what you hear...cuz people [at least me] learn/notice other takes/angles and like them [even if at some point we still end disagreeing].
I mean, for instance, I spent a lot of time being a bassist/singer [though I was only a basic root-notes and fifths bassist pretty much] and hearing "wow! HOW can geddy sing AND play that bass at the same time and be so amazing?!?! That is the least interesting thing to talk about for me. Cuz his voice is, seriously, meh. And, ASSUMING you can play bass like he does [cuz that's the freaking hard part] it isn't that hard to sing the melody because of the way it is aligned with the bass...of all the things Rush does, that is the most mundane.
What peeps hear in the total sound/word-scape, and why it impresses [or doesn't] is what's interesting...and a differing thought on that is what's worth discussing.
in MY HO.

Heh...except maybe not here, cuz Cail may take away his reluctant "i suppose others can post too" permission.
.. Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be blunt, I was angry when Power Windows came out. I felt betrayed. To give you an idea of how strongly I felt about it, I owned every Rush album up to Power Windows on vinyl (and I wasn't rich, that was some serious work). The next release I purchased was Chronicles in 1994. It was the first Rush CD I bought, and it wasn't until Zar posted a thread about the Snakes & Arrows Blu-Ray that I purchased anything else from them.

I had a friend in the early '90s who got RtB shortly after it came out, so I'd listened to that a fair bit and enjoyed it. But like a battered spouse, I was afraid to go back to the band, because I was sure they'd Power Windows me again (which I felt they'd already done with HYF).

So I've gotten back into Rush the same way I originally did; new material has me seeking out the old. Jumping a bit ahead in the reviews, I don't care for HYF or T4E at all. Presto has got two great songs, one fantastic song, and a lot of mediocre stuff (but the writing's pretty good). RtB is a really satisfying album that could use better production. Counterparts is surprisingly good given that most music sucked in 1994. The less said about T4E the better. Vapor Trails is hit-or-miss, but I like the direction they moved in. S&A is good with some missed opportunities.

And damn if I don't think Clockwork Angels is the best thing they've ever done.


Tom - Your input is greatly appreciated. One of the cool things about Rush is that they're so musically diverse, people take different things from different songs. For example, I hate......hate prog. I think it's pretentious and boring. I'd rather be trapped in an elevator for a day than listen to 10 minutes of Yes, King Crimson, ELP, etc.

But I love me some Rush, though mostly the post-Permanent Waves stuff. And really, it's not like the earlier stuff is bad (though Caress of Steel pushes that); it's just that I don't care for that sort of self-indulgence much anymore. Xanadu is still great, but I have a hard time getting through The Trees.

Anyway, I'm not making any grand pronouncements with this thread. It's my subjective take on a band's music. I know there's a lot of people here who like the band, so I figured it'd be good conversation.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moving Pictures:

Or as I like to call it, the one with Limelight.

I was all over this album (and Exit....Stage Left) when it came out. Truly, E....SL was a companion piece, coming out less than a year after MP.

At any rate, like PW before it, this was an all-the-way-through record. There's really no superlative superlative enough to describe this record. Seriously, there's really not much to write about this album.


Tom Sawyer - I've always liked Geddy's vocal delivery on this song; it's nearly confrontational. Fitting, I suppose, with the lyrical content. I chuckle that this was a hit single, but it's just a damn good song. Love the keyboard sounds in it too, and the drums are just sick.

Red Barchetta - I've read the short story this comes from ("A Nice Morning Drive"), and I've seen the awful movie based on the song ("The Last Chase"), and I'll see, hear, or read anything else related to it. I've had this song either in my head or playing through earphones while riding my motorcycle for 30-some years now.....

Wind-
In my hair-
Shifting and drifting-
Mechanical music-
Adrenalin surge...

Well-weathered leather,
Hot metal and oil,
The scented country air.
Sunlight on chrome,
The blur of the landscape,
Every nerve aware.


That right there sums up why I ride, and the music that accompanies it-as well as the solo that follows it-just reeks of the reason I go out and cheat death on a regular basis.

YYZ - I've gotta be honest.....I hate drum solos. They bore me to tears. It's a shame that I grew to associate 15-minute masturbatory skin-beating with this nifty instrumental (also not something I'm a fan of). YYZ works because there's a narrative to it.....The song actually goes somewhere and isn't just an excuse for excessive noodling. This is one of the very few rock instrumentals (Def Leppard's Switch 625 is another) that I make it a point to listen to.

Limelight - It wasn't until a couple of years ago when I read Peart's book "Roadshow" that I realized this song was about his dislike of pressing the flesh. I just figured it was a clever way of working Shakespeare into their music. Love, love, love Alex's tone here. Love the thick rhythm part, and the soaring solo that merges into the chorus riff.

Every song on Side 1 of the record is on E....SL. I think it's downright criminal that the drum solo is foisted upon YYZ, but other than that, the live album is a wonderful supplement to the studio album. It's unfortunate though that there's not a single song from Side 2 on the live album. Because that's where the interesting stuff is....

The Camera Eye - I've always loved this song. I love the riffs, both the chords preceding the verses and the single-string work preceding the, "are they oblivious" line(s). Geddy's playing the hell out of his bass, and the lyrics are simply superb. The vocal delivery is fantastic; the words just seem to fall out of Geddy's mouth at one moment, and he's pushing the top of his range the next. I actually gawked just now when I looked at the song's run time....It's over 11 minutes long, and you'd never know it.

Witch Hunt - Dark and brooding, heavy keyboards, growling guitars, and phenomenal lyrics....

Quick to judge
Quick to anger
Slow to understand
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand...


This is one of the band's best.

Vital Signs - One the one hand, this song's lyrics are great. On the other, it's that f-n ska again, and as you may have noticed, I hate that stuff. Both times I saw Rush on the Time Machine tour, this song was my bathroom break. Don't ask me why this song bothers me so much when The Enemy Within doesn't (and the band hops around like the damn Police in that video!).


Moving Pictures deserves every bit of the love that it gets. There's not a wasted or out-of-place note on it. I don't like Vital Signs, but that's on me, not the band.

dAn once described MP as (and I'm paraphrasing) "the way a band sounds when it's perfectly in sync and at the top of their game". I'd be really hard-pressed to argue that point. It was so great to hear it live, in order, and without the gratuitous drum solo on the last tour.

The remarkable thing about MP is that the bar was set incredibly high by its predecessor, yet it easily surpasses it on every level. MP can easily be labeled one of the best albums of the decade without shame or qualification.
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"Men and women range themselves into three classes or orders of intelligence; you can tell the lowest class by their habit of always talking about persons; the next by the fact that their habit is always to converse about things; the highest by their preference for the discussion of ideas." - Charles Stewart
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"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say it's not just one of the best of the decade, but one of top 10 rock albums of all time. Maybe top 5. Honestly, I'm having trouble coming up with four that are better. Fragile is up there. The Wall (or maybe Dark Side). The Who's Next. 1984. Led Zepplin ... 4? I don't know. It's up there. Hemispheres is my person favorite, because I'm crazy about the Side 1, but honestly as a whole Moving Pictures probably beats it.

TS is one of the greatest "top 40 hits" tunes of all time (it actually hit #44 here in America). I'm with you, Cail, I can't believe this weird little ditty was ever embraced by the masses. The opening synth growl is just iconic, and sets the tone for the entire song. There is no other single-note explosion of perfection in any other opening of any song ever. Ged's weird-ass voice kicks in--the best use of his unique vocal qualities in any song in their catalog, probably--and it just seems to fit the keyboard. And then the bass/guitar punch their way into the mix in a one/two, three/four combo, and the rest just unfolds like it's inevitable. The solo section is a frenetic mix of all three jamming in their own unique styles, with the metronomic thunder of Neil, the funky goodness of Ged, and the sputter-stop-flying acrobatics of Alex. When they come careening out of the solo together, I can't help nodding my head in time, head-banging my utter approval ... yes, yes, god YES! ...Infinite drum rolls of the gods...

Ah, after that I think I need a cigarette. Damnit, I don't smoke.

RB is just a gorgeous soundscape that sets up the story like a little movie (kind of like Camera Eye). I love the live version on the R30 Blu-ray. Crank it at the end, during Ged's base outro, and listen to that last note hang.

YYZ. Only Rush could find music in Morse Code. This song highlights how intricate their music can get with just bass, guitar, drums (oh yeah, it has keys, too. Nothing special). The way the bass and guitar weave in and out of each other's melody lines is just beautiful. I love playing this on bass. I just rolls off the fingers. Those bass solos with the harmonics are a blast.

What I like about Limelight is the amount of space. Cail talked about the guitar's tone, and I think that's the key here. Nowadays, it takes Alex about 6 layers of guitar overdubs to get a sound that rich, but the end result is too dense. No sense of space. This song just breathes.

TCE is majestic. This is an 80s Xanadu. Bold, epic, sprawling. But thoughtful and melodic. It almost reminds me of Clockwork Angels (the song).

Witch Hunt is one of my all time favorites. Such power, with such simplicity. This is another vocal highlight. Ged gives me chills in this song. Again: the live version is the best. Snakes and Arrow Blu-ray. It just oozes into my living room, fills the whole damn place.

I love Vital Signs. Sure, it's ska-ish at the beginning, but pure Rush by the end. Another majestic Rush chord progression to end the album. Beautiful.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome! A Rush thread! Smile

I've been a fan since 2112, which came out when I was in High School. I listened to it on a friend's 8-trac player and immediately went out and bought a copy, plus the first two albums which were available in a double-pack. I've loved them ever since.

Some of their albums stay with me longer than others. Caress of Steel was my favorite album for a loooong time, then it faded away and Hemispheres took over. Over the years, my favorite has changed and different albums drifted higher and lower in my preferred listening rotation. The past couple of years I've been digging Fly by Night and Moving Pictures... then Clockwork Angels came out and it's been my favorite ever since.

Other albums, there are songs here and there that I could listen to any time, but this latest album I can listen to pretty much the whole thing. It's easily their best album since MP, if not even earlier. It's great to see them putting out such great music nearly 40 years into their career.

I've seen them live on every tour since Test for Echo, sometimes more than once per tour, and they always put on a great show. Unfortunately, this tour they aren't coming anywhere close to me, so it's looking doubtful. I'm hoping for another leg next spring, as there are several cities they usually hit that they are missing this time around. With my love for this album, I'd love to see them play it live while it's still fresh. BU2B was awesome live on their Time Machine tour.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A sound argument can be made for MP being one of the top 10 rock albums of all time, though I think you'd be pushing it to get it into the top 5.

Even though Signals was also produced by Terry Brown, and MP is an '80s album, there's a very clear delineation between it and Signals (which I'll delve into a bit more on that album's review). Even though there are keyboards and guitar effects on MP, it's the last of Rush's organic-sounding records. There's a lushness to MP that is nonexistent on their later recordings, and that lack of processing and glitz is (I think) the reason that the songs on MP (and Permanent Waves) are so timeless.

The other thing of note that's peculiar to the PW/MP duo is the strength of the songwriting. Not to say that the writing's poor on their other albums, just that it's not up to this level or consistency.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Akasi, they're not coming anywhere close to me, either. I'm hopeful for a second leg. That's what they did last time. But I really don't want to miss this one. I've driven 8-10 hours to see them before (round trip). Maybe I'll do it again.

Did you guys know they're going to have a strings section this time? Since there are strings on the CA album, they've included this for the live act. I assume they'll add strings to other songs, too, instead of having Ged play so many keyboards parts. It would work well on songs like Mission, Marathon, Subdivisions, maybe even some harder songs that don't have a lot of keyboard, like on CA. It will be interesting. They've been rehearsing longer than usual this time, and I believe this is why.

The tour starts soon! We'll see Youtube clips in a few weeks.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm really torn on the strings thing. On the one hand, I can see them really adding to a song like The Wreckers.

On the other hand, this is Rush, and I don't want to see more than 3 people onstage (unless the 4th person is in a chicken costume putting laundry in a dryer).
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They used them on the majority of songs on CA, and I thought they added quite a bit, especially considering how subtle they were. The strings in The Anarchist are perfect. Nice touch.

I've heard these songs so many times, I'd welcome a different interpretation. I never would have imagined that the majority of songs on CA needed strings, but now that they're there, I can't imagine them any different.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
YYZ. Only Rush could find music in Morse Code.


Johnny Cash was a Morse Code operator in the Air Force. I remember reading that some of his songs had rhythms based on Morse Code transmissions.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, Moving Pictures. Wow. Just ..... wow. Even 30+ years and how many listens later. Like Cail said:

Quote:
There's really no superlative superlative enough to describe this record.


Yes. Exactly. This is the sound of three master musicians, who have now also become master songwriters. Absolutely amazing. Everything - drums, bass, guitar, vocals, keyboard textures, lyrics, song structure..... just perfect.

Cail touched on something talking about YYZ, how it's far and away better than most rock instrumentals. I think that frequently in instrumentals, or in extended instrumental passages what you're hearing is one guy soloing, while the other's play support roles. Not so here. Here, everyone is, essentially soloing through the entire song, but they're also listening to each other, the way a great jazz band would, such that each of their lead segments builds off of what the other guys have been doing. Rush always seems to do this better than most, but on this record it really crystalizes.

Everything is so dense on this record. Sometimes I try to take several listens through each song, each focusing on a different instrument (though it's tough - I keep getting distracted. I'd be great if there was a way to just isolate one piece at a time, like in the recording studio.) and when I do that, I swear I'm still hearing things that I've never heard before. It's part of what makes the record eminently re-listenable.

The only thing that bugs me on this record is that darn electric snare on the first pre-chorus of Vital Signs. It just seems so jarring, and it sets my teeth on edge. The only thing good about it is that it makes me breathe a huge sigh of relief when the acoustic drums come back in. Normally I don't have a problem with electric drums (though my preference is for the sound of acoustic) but something about this just gets on my nerves. Anyway, it's a really minor nit-picky point, but I feel better for getting it off my chest. Laughing

Akasri, Z, I'm right there with you on the hopes for the second tour leg. They're also not coming near enough to me this time around. The nearest spot they're stopping this time, is twice my usual distance away. So here's hoping. And I'm very interested to hear what the strings sound like live.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Signals:

Or as I like to call it, when the train started to go off the rails.


Signals came out about a year and a half after Moving Pictures, and less than a year after Exit....Stage Left. To say there were high expectations for this record is to minimize just how good the last two were. I was a full-on fan at this point, having delved into all their older stuff after seeing them live and getting E....SL.

So it was with really high expectations that I put the LP on the platter. As a sidebar, I can't remember what single was initially out at the record's release. I think it was Subdivisions, but I might be wrong. It was a really long time ago.


Subdivisions - This is the one. This is the song that I forced my parents to sit on the living room sofa and listen to. "If you want to get me, hear this", I believe were my exact words. Nearly 30 years later, I saw Billy Corrigan say nearly the exact same thing in the Beyond the Lighted Stage documentary, and I had to leave the room.

So listening to it now, the lyrics are still deeply affecting (since I reside in such a subdivision). The musicianship in this song is just tops, especially Geddy's bass and Neil's drums. But it sounds thinner than I remember. It's still a great song; probably the band's best, and certainly in the top 5.

The Analog Kid - Great riff. Another song that I really connected with lyrically. I love the imagery....

The boy lies in the grass with one blade
Stuck between his teeth
A vague sensation quickens
In his young and restless heart
And a bright and nameless vision
Has him longing to depart


Chemistry - Uh oh. Well on a positive note, Alex's playing is really good. But the song's disjointed. It's all over the place thematically, and the lyrics just don't work. The thinness of the production is really noticeable here. The lush, organic sound of Moving Pictures is gone, replaced by a processed, compressed sound, and it doesn't serve the band well at all.

Digital Man - Starts off somewhat interesting, but (again) seems to lack focus, as though they had a bunch of different ideas and threw them all into the mix. On both this song and Chemistry, there seems to be too much reliance on synthesizer sounds and "gee-whizbang" techno lyrics, and not enough on song structure or continuity. Oh, and the "Walking on the Moon" part? Please.

The Weapon - Great lyrics stuck in a bad song. What the hell, I don't remember this album being this bad. I've gotta admit, I'm having a tough time listening to this album all the way through, and it's just not getting better.

New World Man - Hated it when it came out, don't like it any more today. Rush makes the first of many utterly mundane songs that could've been recorded by anyone. Frustratingly, this was their highest-charting single, so it's the direction they pursued.

Losing It - Disjointed again, which is a shame because the lyrics are beautiful. The mid-section guitar is completely out of place, and really takes away from the song's power.

The dancer slows her frantic pace
In pain and desperation,
Her aching limbs and downcast face
Aglow with perspiration

Stiff as wire, her lungs on fire,
With just the briefest pause --
The flooding through her memory,
The echoes of old applause.

She limps across the floor
And closes her bedroom door...


That's really good stuff, but I found myself reaching for the skip button as that guitar hits. Shame.

Countdown - I loved this song as a kid. My dad worked for NASA, and we were all space geeks. As kids, my brother and I got to go to a lot of cool places and meet a lot of cool people attached to spaceflight. The shuttle was such a big deal to us, I thought it was just the coolest thing ever that my favorite band wrote a song about it, and even included actual radio transmissions from Columbia's flight.

But boy this hasn't aged well. For starters, it reminds me of the song that Jack Black sings in Pick of Destiny that describes what he's actually doing at the time. Except that Rush wasn't making a stoner comedy with this.


So what the hell, right? This was Terry Brown's last album with Rush, and I understand why. I'd love to know if the band was to blame for the sound, or if it was Mr. Brown, but it's terrible. I complained about P/G sounding thin, but it's absolutely ferocious compared to this. The big, warm sound from MP and PW is gone, and it's sorely missed.

And someone really needed to put their foot down regarding inter-song continuity. Rush has always goofed around with styles and time signatures, but Signals sounds like it was produced by all 16 of Sybil's personalities, and they weren't getting along at all.

The writing is really strong on some songs (Subdivisions, The Analog Kid, The Weapon, and Losing It), but goes from mundane to bad on the rest. One real positive point though is that you can really hear what a fantastic bass player Geddy is on this record. I wish it was mixed better so it was more out front, but that just wasn't the fashion in 1982.

I'm shocked at how much more I like P/G than Signals. It's a better record in every respect.


I'm gonna jump back to the beginning and fill that part of the story in before I tackle Hold Your Fire (which I'd never listened to until a few weeks ago).
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I couldn't disagree more. I think Signals is awesome, in their top 5. Definitely better than P/G. The first five songs are solid, strong. I really love Analog Kid and Chemistry. Digital Man and The Weapon are just a notch below that (the live version of The Weapon is a bit ballsier). Losing It and Countdown aren't as strong, but much better than most stuff off HYF, RTB, T4E, etc. That brings us to the "hits." Subdivisions is a classic, but one that I don't listen to very much. It's a great song, but one of the few hits that I've just heard too many times. New World Man is catchy, but doesn't do much for me. That one and Vital Signs could have easily gone on P/G, which is surprising considering how much you like that CD, but don't like either of those songs.

This CD get criticized for the sound quite a bit, but I'm not hearing it. I've got the Mobile Fidelity Gold version, and it's a hell of a mix. Sounds lush and warm to me. Not as bright and "digital" as Moving Pictures.

Considering the direction they went after this, I always think of Signals as the very last CD of "classic Rush." PW, MP, and Signals are right in that sweet spot between the screeching, sci-fi/fantasy epic years, and the 80s synthesizer, soft-rock years. In fact, there are several "triads" of Rush records:

1. Rush/FBN/CoS
2. 2112/AFtK/Hemispheres
3. PW/MP/Signals
4. P/G, PW, HYF
5. Presto/RtB/T4E

--Counterparts-- [Doesn't really fit with those before or after]

6. VT/S&A/CA

It's like Rush needs three albums to hone in on a new style, explore it to the fullest, and then move on to the next stage. Sure, there are times when the Triads seem to be linked, such as between 1 and 2, 3 and 4, but there are also times when a clear break happens, like between 2 and 3, and 4 and 5. Strangely, Counterparts seems to lead to the 6th Triad more than T4E.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

See, that's funny because I've always looked at Signals as an outlier, much the same as Counterparts and T4E.

So I would agree with your first two groups, but then....

3. PW/MP
4. Signals
5. P/G, PW, HYF (though P/G is much darker and has far better writing)
6. Presto/RtB
7. Counterparts (which is quite good)
8. T4E (which is not)
9. VT/S&A/CA

And honestly, I think it's borderline lazy connecting VT/S&A/CA (even though I do it too).

Although this sounds terrible and heartless, Rush was pretty much done after T4E. The tragedies in Neil's life, the resulting sabbatical (and solo albums for Ged & Alex), and reunion did the band a world of good. VT never would have happened without the sabbatical. As uneven as that album is, it's far, far better than T4E, and it refocused the band. In many ways, VT is a transitional record like Presto or Signals, in that it doesn't really fit in with the albums around it. Counterparts could have been, but that lead to Test For Echo, which is a mulligan as far as I'm concerned.

I haven't really applied the critical ear to S&A yet, so I'll withhold judgement, but CA deserves to be judged on its own. It manages to tie 40 years of Rush's sound together without being schlocky nostalgia. It enters new musical territory at the same time without trying to be a slave to fashion (I'm looking at you Power Windows and Hold Your Fire). And it contains their best writing since......Hell, I think it's their best, most consistent writing, period.

But I'm getting way ahead of myself here.

I don't know (and I don't really care to look) whether or not Signals was a critical and/or a commercial success. I know it was disappointing in my little circle of friends, and with the exception of the first two songs, I rarely listen to anything on it.

And it taught me to doubt the band, because I was far more critical of P/G when it came out than I should have been.

I will say this, and this is high praise for the band....They were never static. While [u]I[/i] might not have appreciated the directions they experimented with, my hat's off to them for trying. And what that's given them is an incredibly diverse fan base.

I don't like Signals, even though I think it contains their best song. I loathe Power Windows and Hold Your Fire. Yet I have a lot of respect for Presto, and I think the world of Roll the Bones. You like Signals, Power Windows and Hold your fire, and don't like Presto or Roll the Bones (but I'm going to try to change your mind). Yet we both totally dig Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, and Clockwork Angels.

There aren't many bands like that, and that's a big part of what makes Rush so awesome.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I do like Presto. Not only does it have better songs than RtB, but it has a nostalgia factor for me, because it was the first new Rush to come out after I got into them. Also my first Rush concert. I really like about six songs on it.

I don't like HYF and PW as much as it sounds from this discussion. I *really* like about three songs from each, though it took hearing Mission and Mystic Rhythms in concert to warm up to those. But besides Force Ten, Turn the Page, and Time Stand Still, I really don't care for the rest of HYF. HYF was the most "synthy" and wimpy of all the synth/wimpy Rush. A real low point.

RtB isn't as god-aweful as the worst of HYF, but the good doesn't rise to the level of the few songs that are great off HYF. Dreamline is pretty good. The rest are just mediocre. As wimpy as HYF sounds, it was still a pretty ballsy move to make something so different from the rest of their catalog. They really took a chance, considering how different it was from what made them rich and famous. They could have just kept doing Moving Pictures over and over, but weren't content to repeat themselves.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're far more charitable than I towards HYF.

But I'll withhold that until I get through the old stuff.

I'm honestly surprised you like Signals and HYF so much, given how much you like CA. Conversely, I'm surprised at the antipathy you have towards RtB, especially if you like 6 songs from Presto.

Hold your tongue, unless you want me to skip over the old stuff until last.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright - onto Signals.

I really like this record. The only song on it that I could do without is Countdown - it feels as though it's trying to be an epic, and instead, just falls flat. I do like the little synth melody though.

Everything else on this one though is good to excellent, IMO. The excellent ones being Subdivisions, Analog Kid and Losing It. I'm surprised, Cail that you think the instrumental section is out of place, because I love it. Not sure whether we're hearing guitar, synth or their guest violinist (or some combination of all three) but I think it's very moving. And yeah, the lyrics here are great. Some of Neil's best.

"Sadder still to watch it die than never to have known it/ For you the blind who once could see/ the bell tolls for thee"

Heartbreaking.

And the lyrics are high points on Subdivisions and Analog Kid as well. I also really like the "new wave" elements that creep in on some of these songs. I wouldn't want them to sound like that all the time, but as a change of pace, I really enjoy it.

And I really do like that they didn't try to make this record "Moving Pictures part II" and branch out sonically instead. It would have been very tempting I think, given the comercial success of MP, to try to repeat it. I'm glad they didn't.

Just a couple of other random Rush thoughts:

Though I don't care for Power Windows too much, I like HYF (Or at least 8/10 of it) quite a lot. But I'll follow Cail's lead, and get into that more later.

I also agree with Cail's point about the the late 90's, and I don't think the way you said it sounds heartless at all. I imagine that the band was becoming, if not complacent, at least comfortable, around the T4E period. I think the tragic events suffered made them question whether or not they would, or even could, ever play together again. When they finally re-convened I think they were galvanized. On the one hand celebrating the fact that they were still able to play as a unit, and on the other, hungry to proove it to everyone else. And I think that energy and hunger really come through on VT.

One last thing. My CA book arrived today, and though I'm a little skeptical of Anderson, I'm finding myself very excited to crack it open and read it!
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've already spoiled myself on a chapter-by-chapter review of CA the book (the songs kind of do that, too), but it sounds awesome! I can't wait to read it. I might go ahead and take the plunge. My LFB Grand Reread is kind of bumming me out, more boring than I remember.

On a side note to the personal tragedy/reinvigoration idea ... I liked My Favorite Headache. A couple of songs are really good, approaching greatness in a couple spots. Matt Cameron (Soundgarden) does a great job on the drums.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed My Favorite Headache, also. Some really good stuff on there. Though, honestly I like Victor (Lifeson's solo record) much better. It's surprisingly dark and even vicous lyrically in spots (which I didn't expect, coming from Alex) but a really strong effort.

I flipped through the pages of CA, and at least I can say it's a beautifully made book. It looks like each chapter starts with pages meant to look like parchment, and all of the Hugh Syme artwork (which I love) from the CD book is in there, as well as some additional pieces, which were pretty cool looking as well.
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