Rush is a band for nerds. Sorry, hate to break it to you like that, but they are. Drummer Neil Peart writes lyrics like "High on the sacred mountain/Up the seven thousand stairs/In the golden light of Autumn/There was magic in the air." Singer/bassist Geddy Lee has the high geeky voice of a guy who, as my girlfriend puts it, "has been playing Dungeons & Dragons his whole life." And guitarist Alex Lifeson???? Well, he seems okay. Not sure what he's doing hanging out with those other two dorks.
Now let me get to the good points of Rush, those that may be - all three of them are topnotch at their instruments. Sometimes it's hard to tell, because their songwriting can be a bit simplistic, but if you sorta pay closer attention, you can hear that behind their silly overblown mystical nonsense, they've got a helluva nimble-fingered bassist, a crapuva lightning-speed beauty run ambiance guitarist who doesn't hog the spotlight, and one vulva bigass drum kit. Again, sometimes it's just hard to tell. A little TOO hard, thanks. With spotty hard rock songwriting in the '70s and an overreliance on keyboards and generic pop melody in the '80s (not to mention one of the most 'has to grow on you' lead vocalists of all time), it was perhaps inevitable that they would end waiting until the '90s and '00s to put out their most instantly likable releases. At any rate, I used to loathe Rush, but something in the middle of 2005 (a few good albums in a row? a few solid live triple-CDs? me turning gay?) made me suddenly become a fan and supporter. I don't even hate Geddy Lee's voice anymore! Plus, I just feel so goddamned sorry for the drummer who lost so many beloved family members right at the same time (father, wife and daughter if memory serves. I could be remembering wrong though, so feel free to correct me via email or yardstick). So keep it up, Rush! You may have some lousy songs, but you have some great ones too! Plus, you're Canadian and one of you was on Bob and Doug McKenzie's "Take Off"! You're still a nerd band for loser dorks though.
Not Fade Away 7" - 1973
No, I'm sorry, not "pussy" - what's the
Ah! Yes. "Leaves."
Then you can glue all the leaves together in the shape of a tunnel and ram your dick in there!
No, I'm sorry, not "dick" - what's the
Ah! Yes. "Loose pine straw."
So you see how difficult it is for me to get by in this country when my first language is ssssssssssssex. Why, just last week I went to Burger King and ordered an "Anus Pounder"! Let me tell you, THAT was no walk in the park!
But enough about the park. The reason I invited you into my cocaine hot tub tonight is to discuss this new single from an up and coming Canadian hard rock band called "Rush." Innocent passersby would look at the top of my piece of paper here on the desk and say, "Wow! Famed online record reviewer Mark Prindle gave the debut Rush single a 10!" But they'd be wrong, for what is actually on the top of my paper is a "1" followed by a "0," serving as a reminder to my short-term memory that I quite enjoy side one of the record but quite hate side two. Thus, a final grade of 5 seems not only sufficient but in fact appropriate. That's why they pay me the big bucks!
The big novelty bucks that I can't spend anywhere. PRICKS!!!!
Side one is a cover of the Buddy Holly hit "Not Fade Away," previously covered by the Amiga Blues Band, A Band of Bees, The Barracudas, The Beatles, Dave Berry, Mike Berry & The Outlaws, Pete Best, Jon Butcher, Crowded House, Michigan Mark Dupree, Bo Diddley, The Bobby Fuller Five, Scott Ellison, Joe Ely, John Entwistle, The Everly Brothers, Mick Fleetwood, Foreigner, Andy J. Forest, Fumble, The Jerry Garcia Band, Gary Gibson, The Grateful Dead, Happy Flowers, Tonio K., Jorma Kaukonen, Sean Kennedy, The Knack, Lemmy, Lightnin' Willie & The Poorboys, Hank Marvin, Mike & The Mellotones, Cory Morrow, The Numbers Band, Christine Ohlman, Jimmy Page, Tom Petty, Pezband, The Pirates, Dave Plaehn, Raw Holly, The Razorbacks, Noel Redding, Roy Rogers, The Rolling Stones, Stars at Studio 99, Status Quo, Stephen Stills, Ned Sublette, The Sutherland Brothers, James Taylor, Trout Fishing In America, Tanya Tucker, Two Tons Of Steel, Walflower Complextion, The Why Four, and X. And though that certainly was one heck of a supergroup, Rush does a good job too, as the second band to cover this little-known obscurity.
Rush's version begins with a chunky "Who Do You Love" guitar choogle in the right speaker. Then a double-tracked man with the highest voice in Canadian history begins singing the opening lines, "I'm gonna tell you how it's gonna be - you're gonna give your love to me." When he completes one verse (the song has no chorus), a fast bouncy drumbeat and animated bass line join in, along with a chooglin' left speaker guitar to accompany the right speaker guitar of which we previously spoke at length. Then at some point a few minutes later, the song ends. It's fun! Fast and fun, like a nice diarrhea.
Side B on the other hand is a fast, unfun, ugly original based around a 'one chord and two diddly notes' bottom and Geddy singing along with an annoying descending guitar riff. Nice beat but the song kinda stinks. However, Led Zeppelin fans will enjoy the end of the song where they completely rip off the "Whole Lotta Love" guitar solo. Otherwise, toss this one in the garbage disposal because it STINKS!
No hang on, SIDE A IS STILL ATTACHED!!!! (*shoves penis down garbage disposal to retrieve single*)
Add your thoughts?
Rush - Mercury 1974.
SO... yes. It's a bunch of three-chord hard rock, much of it cliched and simplistic. Geddy Lee sounds about four years old and doubles his vocals to nauseating effect. And original drummer John Rutsey may be a drummer, but he sure ain't aren't no Guy Who Replaced Him Guy! (I forgot his name). It's a fun record, and "Take A Friend" is the only real stinker, but only the bookends scream out bombastically for replay. These would be "Finding My Way" -- one HELL of an enthusiastic opener with Guitarist diddling diddling diddling like a star and Geddy shouting "Yayeh! Awww yayeh!" like Robert Plant at six months -- and "Working Man," a KILLER dark riff rocker that's definitely the most memorable piece on here. In between are slight but unpretentious hard rock songs of middling calibre and NON-mystical lyrics about girls and shit.
"Say, is it true that that Judas Priest singer smokes pole?" is what I asked when I first reviewed this album, because Rob Halford had just come out of the closet and was fucking me up the ass. So that's why some of these reader comments make reference to his feyness.
And on Cronicals, which you gave a 10, "Finding My Way" and an excellent live version of "What You're Doing" made appearances as well as the afore mentioned "Working Man".
This album should get a 10 because it's THE album that got Rush started.
Neil isn't here, but Alex and Ged hold this album up above the rushing water. Every song on here is ok.... a few of them are really lame (Take a Friend) but the overall songwriting is great. The best song on here is (you'd think Working Man) What You're Doing. The live version of this song is a whole lot better, but this one is still great. Finding My Way is also a good song, but it's about average with the rest of the tracks here, anyway. I guess I'd give it a 7 out of 10.
Add your thoughts?
Fly By Night - Mercury 1975.
This one has the strongest production of any of the early Rush records, with really loud distorted guitars burying Geddy just enough so that his squealing isn't nearly as potentially annoying as it would be on the next few albums. Songwritingwise, they're addressing the real-life documentarian concerns of a young hungry rock band in such non-fictional road life accounts as "Fly By Night," "Best I Can" and "Making Memories," as well as mentioning...umm..."elves" (THANKS NEIL) in "Rivendell," a colossal fight between an evil being and a snowdog in -- now see, here's my problem with analyzing Rush lyrics. I don't have a background in geek loser dorkdom. So I can read lyrics like "By-Tor & The Snow Dog" and think to myself, "Oh, he's singing about so-and-so, it appears to be a metaphor for blah blah blah," but chances are that Neil is just referencing some gayass role-playing board game or faggotybutt book about pixies that people read when they're eight years old and wear glasses. Still, I'd like to know whether they're being sincere in "Anthem" or not. If so, I have to assume that Neil had been reading The Fountainhead or some bullshit, because the whole song is about how it's GOOD to be selfish in life because if you don't, all the poor people will keep asking you for more and more until you've nothing left to give. God! Those goddamned poor people! Who the FUCK do they think they are??/?
Musicallywise, this is not a straight hard rock album like the debut. It's more diverse - ranging from bombastic kickasskickers, poppy little happytones, a medieval ballad, a slidey bluesy strummer that sounds like it could be a GOOD Doobie Brothers song, and the band's very first foray into the nightmarish multi-part EPIC prog-rock genre that would so grip their fancy for the rest of the decade. And dig this -- part one of the epic is entitled "At The Tobes Of Hades"! How could it not have occurred to Geddy and Alex that by making Neil Peart their lyricist, they were giving up any possible chance of having sex with a girl?
There are two songs that sound ho-hum, but the writing is still excellent. Making Memories and Rivendell.
And In The End (please erase sexual connotations from your mind) is a great song to end with. It reminds me of a Queen song (Misfire), but it's much more complex, and quite a bit longer.
The best song on here is probably Anthem. 10 out of 10
Fly By Night is a decent album, but you can tell there's still a little friction with the new guy. From "Need Some Love" to "Rivendell" in one album?!? Oh and I named my rabbits By-tor and the Snowdog. They don't fight like in the song though... sometimes they even hump.
Add your thoughts?
Caress Of Steel - Mercury 1975.
No, I'm just making fun of you. They've really stuck their heads into Epic Hard-Rock Prog Compositions on this one, including a three-section track at the end of side one, followed by a SINGLE six-part track taking up the entire second side (under the hard rockin' party-hearty title "The Fountain Of Lamneth"). The songwriting is still quite here-or-there, with four awesome songs -- the awesome speed rocker "Anthem," Pink Floyd jazzy "Into Darkness," exciting pulse-pounder "In The Valley" (and its exact copy - er...'reprise' "The Fountain") and darkly arpeggiated, yearning "No One At The Bridge" -- resting uncomfortably alongside eight additional tracks of passable but not mindblowing pop rock, generic goodtime happy music, and ugly malnourished noise. Basically, it's the same as most any other record - some of the parts are great, others are less likely to stick to the ears.
The lyrics discuss the French Revolution, nostalgia, mythic battles, and an epic search for the meaning of life that appears to end with the revelation that life itself is all about the search for meaning. THANKS NEIL.
The album would be packed full of great tunes, with a few bits of crap, if there were anymore than 5 songs on this. Bastille Day is a great song (which could have been much worse, considering how Fountain turned out), I think I'm Going Bald is kinda ok but is better near the end. Necromancer is the better of the two story songs. And Fountain is, without a doubt, the very worst Rush song EVER!!!! FOREVER AND EVER!!!!
5 out of 10
The Fountain of Lamneth bad? No way!
Other than that " Bastille Day " and " Lakeside Park " are terrific songs and I find that their live versions on ATWAS are much better. " The Fountain Of Lamneth " is alright, my favorite part of the song is " No One At The Bridge " because it`s so god damn dark.
So I believe that an 8/10 is a resonable rating for this one.
Add your thoughts?
2112 - Mercury 1976.
The lyrics suck some serious shit though, and it's about time somebody admits it. The "2112" suite, which takes up all of side one, is a story in which the following occurs: Okay so it's the year 2112 and it's just like 1984 or Rollerball where there is no famine or pain because the elite leaders (in this case, the Priests of the Temple of Syrinx -- who have a really catchy theme song, incidentally) provide everything that the people need in exchange for complete acquiesence and loss of individuality. So already there's nothing new going on. Ah, but wait! Suddenly the narrator finds a guitar in a cave. "What the fuck is this bullshit?" he wonders as he plucks at the strings. Slowly but surely, he learns how to create melodious sounds with it, and can't wait to show his discovery to the Priests Of The Temple Of Syrinx so that they can play their awesome theme song for him. Unfortunately - as most listeners better have expected - the Priests are angered by his discovery and smash it to pieces. Forlorn and alone, our narrator falls asleep and dreams of The True Elite - a group of individual-minded artists from olden-times who, according to his dream, left the Earth long ago in order to build their strength and numbers for an eventual return and recapturing of the Earth (to make it good again or whatever). When he awakes, our narrator is so sad, he goes to his cave and commits suicide. AND SECONDS LATER, WITH THE TIMING OF A SNUFFLE-UP-A-GUS, THE ELITE RETURN AND TAKE OVER THE EARTH, RESTORING IT TO ITS ORIGINAL INDIVIDUALISTIC NATURE!!! Yeah, good one Neil. Good work on that one.
But at least side one HAS a plot. The songs on side two are just a bunch of stupid words - one about smoking opium in the Orient; one about The Twilight Zone that mentions exactly TWO eerie things that might happen to one (Ah! A man with three eyes! Ah! A giant little boy! And... that's it really.); one about a crying lover; one about how one should teach what one has learned (?); and one about how you have to work to succeed because nothing is free.
In other words, Neil Peart was busy growing a cool twisty Rollie Fingers mustache, so they farmed out the lyrics to a bunch of retarded four-year-olds.
But "2112" is still a great song.
and of course, it was also before I heard the rest of Rush's catalog where they eventually turned into a dumbass jazz-rock/new age band with sci-fi overtones.
And man, the vocals were allright in 2112, but elsewhere he just sounds like a little troll getting squeezed by the nuts. I begin to wonder why their popularity is so great, but I guess something has to appeal to them damn trekkies out there.
For this album, Neil makes the mistake of letting Alex and Ged write lyrics for the VERY LAST TIME in Rush's 25 year career. Tears and that other tune penned by Alex aren't terrible. As a matter of fact, I enjoy them. But Tears is pretty fruity and Alex's tune is just basic cock rawk bullshit. Musically, they rule, but the lyrics side of them is... CRAP. Well, not crap, but it's mostly Cream/Led Zeppelin ballad type shit, and we all know that even when he was "God" Eric Clapton just wanted to create boring ass blues based blues. Eventually he moved on to stop making music and start making tunes for supermarkets. And while I love Cream, Clapton by hissself is boring, and his hair during the 80's was a fucking cocaine induced joke.
But 2112 is good. 8 out of 10.
univeristy of illinois in 76, my friend rob lost it when he discovered pot. we laughed our guts out, but he tried to explain 'you guys don't understand... it's like an opera... we're going to california."
can giddy lee whisper ????
This album is great. I don't understand the nerd/sci-fi overblown attacks, because isn't that the point? I mean of early RUSH? Neil writes lyrics like a good fiction author--and makes all sorts of sly references to his influences.
And Geddy's voice is perfect. He sounds like an elf singing. It seems there are a lot of raging homophobes who can't deal with his androgenous voice writing these reviews. Don't listen if that's the case--go play your AC/DC and slap your girlfriends.
After recording Caress Of Steel, an album high in artistic merit, but with virtually no commercial success, Rush were under heavy pressure from their record company to come out with a hit single. So what did they do? They recorded perhaps the greatest 'fuck you' in the history of music. They devoted one entire side of the record to an Ayn Randian/George Orwellian futuristic science fiction song about rediscovering the lost ancient artform of rock and roll. Even if you don't like Rush - especially in this day and age - you have to give them some respect for their integrity, devotion to music as an art, and just plain having the stones to face down the record company.
Eventually, Rush would develop their craft until they could achieve radio and MTV success on their own terms. A string of Rush albums (Permenant Waves, Moving Pictures, and Signals) all contain radio classics that spurned the rediscovery of Rush singles like "Closer To The Hear" and "Fly By Night."
Even if you cannot appreciate the courage it took just to make 2112, take the time to listen to it. It just rocks. For anybody that ever accussed Rush of lacking feeling - listen to this record. Geddy Lee sings the parts of two different characters, Neil Peart practically invents the musical form of Art Rock on drums, and Alex Lifeson provides some of the most inventive rock and roll guitar ever.
If you have not gotten the picture yet, I cannot say enough good things about this album. 10 out of 10 from me. 2112 is the stuff of legend.
the first side is so awesome and involving. it all rocks .I had never heard of rush before this album came out and me and my friends spent many hours toking out and listening to this creative and inspired effort from geddy and the boys.. 8 out of 10 on my scale.
That said, the music does rule for the most part.
I have since rediscovered 2112 and found it to be quite a sonic revelation; majestic in every way possible. Forgive me Gods of Hard Rock. The dirt... it... it just won't come off!
Add your thoughts?
All The World's A Stage - Mercury 1976
Okay enough with the Canada shit - we're here to talk about Cincinnati's Rush! On their first of five (so far) official live recordings, Rush was still a raw, gritty hard rock band making its earliest untutored moves into the world of epic prog disastry. Featuring four songs each from their debut and Fly By Night, two from Caress My Balls and anywhere between two and five billion tracks from 2112 (depending on how you divide up side one, recreated in its entirety on here), this contains some of Rush's greatest headbanging material as well as a few pieces of naive fruity pubic gas. Rather than discussing the band's performance or how the songs sound, let's discuss the emotions that I personally derive from them. That way, we can compare my emotional responses to yours in reaction to the same stimuli and find out which of us is more likely to go nuts and murder the president.
"Bastille Day" - KILLER!!!! LOVE IT TO DEATH!!!!!
"Anthem" - ZIPPER CATCHES SKIN!!!! THE EYES OF!!!
"Fly By Night" - DO IT, GEDDY!!!! POP MY ASS SHINGLE WITH YOUR POPPY-ASS SINGLE!!!!!
"In The Mood" - Tough macho bullshit. Geddy trying to approximate what it might feel like to touch a girl (soft).
"Something For Nothing" - DARK MINOR KEYS AND AWESOME CHORUS!!! 'YOU CAN'T GET SOMETHIN' FOR NOTHIN'! YOU CAN'T GEDDY MIDDLE-NAME LEE!!!!'
"Lakeside Park" - CATCHY VERSE!!!! But that's up with the hokey nostalgia chorus? If that chorus were a cigarette in Britain, it would be a 'fag.'
"2112" - GREAT OVERTURE!!!! YEAAAHHAHA!!! AWESOME ROCKIN' OUT CRUNCHY CHORUS CHORUS!!! Ew. Crappy happy dopey nopey. AWFUL guitar solo! Eh. Mmm. Okay. (*cums in pants, but not very enthusiastically*)
"By-Tor And The Snow Dog" - JAWBONE AND THE AIR-RIFLE!!!! YEEEAAAHHH!!! No wait
"By-Tor And The Snow Dog" - GREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTT!!!!! Except for the part with all the dumb noises that goes on for like five years.
"Working Man/Finding My Way medley" - TOUGH AS SHIT!!! ASS-FUCKIN' SHITASS SHIT!!!! SHITBALLS ON THE DOWN LOW!!!! AWESOME!!! GREAT!!!!! ENOUGH WITH THE FUCKKKIN' DRUM SOLO!!!! SHUT THE FUCK UP, GUY WHOSE FAMILY DIED! NO, YOU SHUT UP! NO, YOU SHUT UP! NO, YOU SHUT UP! NO, YOU SHUT UP!
Okay, time to add 'Pedro Andino' to my list of major writing influences.
"What You're Doing" - SOUNDS LIKE BLACK SABBATH!!!! TONIGHT I'M GOING TO MURDER THE PRESIDENT!!!!!
So you see, the album kicks some serious ass if you're into the '70s hard rock thing. They were young, wild, long-haired and free. At times Geddy's vocals distort, feedback and miss notes, but that's what the cnocert experience was like back in the early 70s before plastic pop stars like Britney Spears, the Dillinger Escape Plan and that girl who fucked up on Saturday Night Live but still has a career because 53% of USA Today readers believe in Intelligent Design turned the whole thing into a perfectly orchestrated round of karaoke.
But come on, it's a live album. Who the hell buys live albums? I mean besides Ed Kowalczyk fans - HA HA HA! HA HA HA! HA HA HA!!!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!
Come on, those guys had a ton of hits. It's not like I'm telling Kajagoogoo jokes here.
Which reminds me: Why DIDN'T Chris "Limahl" Hammill cross the street?
Because he was "Too Shy"!!!!!!
into a rehab center; ignores martin rev's incessant bitching*)
I give it a ten. Exit...Stage left is just as brilliant, but I like the young sound on this one the best.
Other than that, I also enjoyed track 9 where they play " Working Man / Finding My Way and the drum solo " alltogether. So 9/10 for this one.
Add your thoughts?
A Farewell To Kings - Mercury 1977.
The production still doesn't do the band justice, and Geddy's voice is still way up there in that tree in the backyard. But the music is pretty darn complex and interesting, especially in the complicated-and-beautiful multiple-parted 11-minute "Xanadu" and creepy oddly-time-signatured weird busy aggressive 10-minute "Cygnus X-1." And you've heard "Closer To The Heart," right? Short ballad? Really pretty? Maybe they played at your prom, if you want to a Nerd Science school? Unfortunately, the other three songs range from ugly strangulation to cliched lovey-dove to saccharine-tainted smiley penis-squirt, and Geddy's helium throat is still not going to be to everybody's taste. As Grand Funk probably should have said, "Bad singin', good playin'!"
Oh yeah, have you heard those bands that I mentioned. Now they were good, I mean, really good.
And... real bands like "The Beatles and Nirvana?" I know for a fact that until MTV came up with the idea for a "revoltionary new band," Nirvana did not exist except in rainy England, er, whatever. They certainly aren't a real band, and their music was about a billion times worse than Rush's. ESPECIALLY the singing. Kurt practically invented the concept of "sing all the time so no one knows how shitty your band is." And The Beatles? I dunno if anyone could call them a REAL band, as much as they were just three songwriters and a drummer. And why compare Beatles to Rush? The Beatles were at the rock forefront since the begin. Granted, they started off as the lamest type of pop/cover band. Oh well.
The Ramones are ok, as far as I know. But they like Rush, so...
Xanadu is great--the story, imagery--playing. It's unnerving to learn that the man is trapped forever in the caves as an immortal--gone mad and watching the stars pass for milleniums. Nice touch...these are things you can think about and reflect about later, rather than 4/4 catch tunes stuck in the repititious section of your brain. Not that I hate those, mind you, but clearly there's something more imaginative going on here.
Rush is not a band for dorks. That's just what someone says in rage when they don't understand the more cerebral part of their music.
Closer to the Heart rules. Cygnus is frightening when you play it loud. This album deserves better listeners.
Rush was the band my more "sophisticated" friends were into, but I always thought Rush psuedo-intellectual in a harmless high-school kind of way.
Here's some demographic info. to confirm your views on Rush: we were all geeks, nerds, and D & D players, although a couple did get laid in high school (not me, though). But you know, geeks, nerds, etc. are all people too. It wasn't our fault that we actually liked to think when everyone else was watching reruns on TV, or that we preferred taking some guns out into the bush and blaze away between swigs of JD while other kids in the 80's were flouffing their hair. Eccentric yes, dangerous sometimes, well-meaning usually, and squeaky like Geddy Lee, well all too often!
Geddy proves on the first album that he can't belt out kick-ass blue collar rock. So while the debut albuim is decent instrumentally it just doesn't match Zeppelin, Sabbath, etc.
It's the addition of Peart that gives the group a niche--doing the Serious Tolkien Thing that Zep would have done with a wink ("Then Gollum and the Evil Lord crept up and slipped away with her...").
My favorite Rush album (that I own) is Caress of Steel, with FTK a close second. I like the Necromancer--the way I interpret it is that it depicts the men of Willowdale (the band) venturing into the city to do battle with the record co. executives. And Panacea is sappy but I like it.
And while FTK has a couple of tracks that make me puke (Closer to the Heart--pure schmaltz, chicken soup for the toilet, more like!; and Cinderella Man more Geddy Lee sermonizing; Madrigal just a empty yawn, like the mouthings of a fish), FTK also has some of my favorite Rush stuff--Xanadu and Cygnus X1 (now parts of the latter are a bit much, esp. the last part when it sounds like Lee is getting castrated, but "on my ship the Rocinante" always gets my adrenalin flowing, and the song should stir anyone with a sense of adventure and imagination--and THAT is what RUSH is really all about).
I admit, I would never play RUSH at a beer party--the results would be tragi-comic. But I always remember my introduction the band, melting slowly into a plush carpet after sharing a minor globe of black hash, grooving into Exit Stage Left on an auto-reverse deck. For a 16 year old nerd that's a cool trip!
The worst thing about being a teenager in the 1980's was that no one was really making ass-kicking rock in the Zep mode, although there was always ACDC and the speed metal scene got interesting around 1986. So anyone who wanted something hard with a psychadelic twist had to turn to old stuff--Hendrix, Zep, Sabbath, certain Doors tunes, and Rush.
I can't get into New Rush (new as in 1980's on). I mean, if you're gonna get sophisticated, why not just listen to jazz or classical, which kicks absolutely and unlimited butt on any art rock you could care to name. Rock is Art of its own, but Mature Art Rock is a sickly and pathetic thing best left exposed on a mountainside shortly after birth.
So I enjoy the naive and sometimes 1970's Rush, over-indulgent and bombastic though it often is.
I really really love xanadu,cygus x-1 and the rest is only complimentary to those two awesome songs. This rivals 2112 as possibly their best work EVER......
8 out of 10 on my all time scale of greatness. it was all down hill after this great album
I have never felt the urge to listen to Rush, at any time in my life, before. That changed tonight. I figured that since so many people make fun of them, they had to be a little underrated, right?
So I went and downloaded this song called "Cygnus X-1." The music is good - complex, hard proggy rock, full of itself, but pretty interesting nevertheless - but these fucking vocals...does this idiot hear himself? I mean...all I hear out of this moron's mouth is an unrelenting AIIEEEEEEEEEIEIEEEE...this guy is a fucking tool.
You know, maybe if they'd had a decent singer and lyricist, they could have been worth the time, but on this evidence, who could possibly like these dudes?
Add your thoughts?
Hemispheres - Mercury 1978.
Okay, your first hint that Rush hasn't found a girlfriend yet is the disgustingly hilarious album cover, which features a naked (and therefore 'artistic' and 'sensual') man confronting a suit, tie and bowler-hatted (and therefore 'rational' and 'scientific') man --- on the top of a giant brain.
GET IT??? "HEMISPHERES"????? Yes, it is in fact an 18-minute story about the ancient struggle between our logical left brain and creative right brain (heart v mind). Unfortunately it ends in a draw and nobody throws Neil Peart and his mustache off a cliff. Pathetic childish lyrics aside, "Hemispheres" features several wonderful musical passages, ranging from strangled dark hard rock chords to gorgeous arpeggios and Satanic bouncy shindigs to strummy Medieval folk (marred only by a few minutes of boring new wave keyboards, and some fantasy/adventure dork chord sequences that show up every once in a while to drive any stray women out of the auditorium.
Side two features three tracks: ugly, lousy rocker "Circumstances," catchy pop/lyrical monstrosity "The Trees" and 10-minute instrumental show-off "La Villa Strangiato." I've nothing to say about "Circumstances," but I have a couple of quick things to say about the final two tracks. First of all, "The Trees" is neither the first nor the last time that Neil Peart has used verse to deride the Welfare State, but it's by far the most poorly-conceived and thus most enjoyable. See, it's about these two sets of trees, right? And like one of em's all tall and shit but the other one's all dinky. And the dinky ones are all pissed at the tall ones for hoarding all the sunlight so they form a union -- that's FORM A UNION -- to demand more sunlight. After a long protracted legal battle, a law is passed to keep all trees equal -- "by hatchet, axe and saw." Sigh. Where does one even begin refuting an argument that dangerous and one-sided? Gee you're right, Neil. If a person is rich, that's because they are SUPERIOR to the person who is poor. No, has NOTHING to do with privilege at birth created through years of oppressing the working class. Having said that, I do agree with Neil that a fully Socialist society is a terrible idea.
The only thing I wanted to say about "La Villa Strangiato" is "Hey Cows fans! Hear that one silly bit near the end? That's "Porky Pig Factory!"
Also, "Hey cartoon fans! Hear that one silly bit near the end? That's an old piece of cartoon music that the Cows stole for "Porky Pig Factory!"
There I go, getting all specific like an ass-crack. AS A WHOLE, Hemispheres finds Rush once again creeping forward into greater diversity, songwriting beauty and instrumental prowess. But it's nothing compared to the Scott Bakula-style quantum leap of confidence and quality they would display on their next album.
I'm a total Rush dork for having written that last sentence.
The short tunes are great. "The Trees" is wondrous, with great metaphoric lyrics again, and "Circumstances" is a tight hard rocker, though Geddy has no more reason to be warbling in French than Paul McCartney did. "La Villa", though done much more convincingly on E:SL and the Show of Hands video, is a pretty impressive instrumental. We should be glad it's got no lyrics, since you can only imagine the lyrics Neil would have written to go with those silly titles for each part. I'll see you 8, Keith, and give it a 9.
And yes, DT loves Rush. Just about anyone that actually makes music that's any good has heard or listened to Rush. Except Barenaked Ladies. They listened to two hits and they fucking suck ass. I don't care if they put Tom Sawyer in their song.
Every single track on this album is great. In part because there's only 4 songs. But they rule over all kinds of rock ass. And it's a lot better than any Misfits album, BY FUCKING FAR.
Side two? It's good too. Circumstances doesn't do much for me, but La Villa is plenty impressive, while The Trees is one of the few instances where Peart's lyrics actually work and are set to a decent melody with good arrangments. Overall, an 8/10
But the best thing on this album is not the title track, but the The Trees. I absolutely love this song. I love the melody, and I actually think that Geddy sounds pretty good. (In the soft opening part anyway).
La Villa is every bassplayers nightmare, as it has the most complicated jumble of a bass solo ever written. (In my band, I just make it up, forget trying to play the written notes.)The solo in the middle shows a very emotional Alex at first, then he gradually tears into that poor Les Paul and lets us have it. One of my more favorite moments (other then ANYTHING of the Victor album... don't have it? BUY IT!!) from Alex.
The rest? Bah ™. Twas dissapointing to say the least. I give this one a 7/10, but only cause La Villa kicks so much ass.
These guys put such a monumental effort into this album and it's a shame that hardly anyone plays at this level of perfection today.
"Circumstances", even if you didn't ask me, is one intense rock song, and there is no need to apologize for the French section. It's great by any standard. "The Trees" ... well even you guys recognize how great "The Trees" is. The lyrics stand on their own as great poetry and social commentary. Geddy Lee's quirky voice is perfect for telling the story of this song. The rich sound of Alex Lifeson's classical training on guitar fits perfectly here. "La Villa Strangiato" is just a great instrumental and showcases Rush's individual virtuosity, in my opinion even better than their better-known live standard "YYZ."
The album Hemispheres in total is the perfect crown jewel of Rush's early album-oriented period. The clear, shining production quality of this album is perfectly appropriate. Hemispeheres, though not as raw and rocking as 2112, finally synthesizes the suite format into one cohesive work and delivers some great supporting album material.
Oh yeah, La Villa Strangiato has amazing guitar, bass, and especially drums. Good grief, these guys can jam.
A great follow-up to Kings. This recording marks the end of an era for Rush, as subsequent releases would get much more commercial exposure and the music would, at times, begin to lose some of its hard edge. 8/10
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Permanent Waves - Mercury 1980.
- "Too many people give up in life under the false assumption that everything that happens to them if preordained. Since we will never be able to prove whether or not this is the case, why ruin your life by believing in such a defeatist philosophy? You CAN make the choice to believe in free will, so why not do so and take responsibility for your life?"
- "War is coming, but suddenly light streams down and makes everything better? Not sure about this one.
- "People - even lovers - are really only held together by very tiny emotional strings. We all live very different lives and have very different thoughts, and no two people will ever truly 'know' each other. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean that people can't accept this existential isolation, stay together and grow together."
- "Geddy wrote this one. I think it's about band members having arguments."
- "We all get so caught up and concerned about the *IMPORTANCE* of our lives that we forget that our lives, and in fact the entire human race, is actually only about .000000000000001% of what is actually going on in the universe. Science must be tamed, just like nature. And the most endangered species (okay, this is kinda corny) is the honest man."
Like I said, I know that some of this stuff is Basic Philosophy 101, but these are issues that really matter to him, and could actually make a difference in the beliefs of Rush's young fans. Neil Peart is not a dumb guy! And as I said, he has continued down this path throughout the rest of Rush's career. Even when the music got wimpy and shitty, he was still looking at human relations and examining them in much closer, realistic and interesting detail than about 90% of the songwriters in the pop/rock universe. Sure, some of 'em suck dick ("Big Money" is dumb as hell, for example), but those were probably rush jobs. GET IT!??!?! 'RUSH' JTROJ AFDJk
This is a dammed fine album incidentally. The production is light beers better than before (the band actually sounds like they're right in front of the mics, rather than in a bathroom way down the hall) and Geddy's voice has matured to something at least slightly resembling a normal range and frequency. The choppity chops and complex ideas had always been present in the collective Rush mind, but here for the first time, everything really meshes into a gel. Replacing bombast with radio-friendly catchy pop riffs, but leaving in the instrumental fortitude that separated them from the Foreigner/Bad Company animals, Rush erupted with one HELL of a hit single, "The Spirit of Radio" (THAT RIFF! MY GOD! GREATEST RIFF EVER!), along with a bunch of other calmed-down, well-composed rock songs (including "Free Will," which gets stuck in my head probably 2 times a day). It unfortunately gets a little sluggish near the end (and the last song has about 18 different parts that don't flow together worth a SHIT!), but up until that point, it's chockadiddlefull of clever time signature changes, strong pop/rock/prog songwriting and lots of guitar arpeggios played with a chorusy sheen. Warning though: Keyboards are beginning to encroach upon that long-rockin' Rush distorted guitar sound. And that ain't metal! That ain't metal 't'all!
For now, it's an 8 out of 10 (just because the very last song is a little lengthy, and doesn't have enough of the thematic elaboration like Yes' "Close to the Edge" does). Like it a lot, though!!
Don't get me wrong, Spirit of Radio is a great tune... so is Freewill. However, the rest of it puts me to sleep. Natural Science is the only other good tune on this album that makes me want to pick up a bass and play along with the CD player.
Jacob's Ladder literally puts me to sleep. The guitar solo bassline is to much "The Trees" inspired. There are also hints of La Villa tossed into the mix. Frankly, I just don't care for it.
All else aside I am sure that Jacob's Ladder just taints my experience with this one, but to be fair to myself, I can't give it more then a 6/10.
This is the first Rush album I bought, and I was simply blown away by it. Before this record, they had pretty much been purveyors of skillfully played nerd rock, and Zep diddlers, which I really couldn't deal with for more than a few songs or so.
Dallas radio played "Entre Nous" very heavily that summer--probably more than 'Radio' until it gained steam on the playlists--and that tune really hit home for me on an intellectual (and emotional) level. Prior to discovering this record, I had generally thought of rock and roll lyrics as a necessary evil between power chords and backbeat. Lyrics about cars, rawkin, pounding it, or mystical nonsense were pretty much everywhere.
When you think about it, rock and roll is generally about hedonism, and the satisfying of self. MY needs and how to fulfill them. The Ramones made me laugh and gave me comfort that there were other goofballs out there besides me, and that was okay.
Rush made you think about things other than satisfying yourself. In fact, many times what Peart illustrates in his lyrics are needs or feelings that are NOT able to be satisfied--but how we can deal with that--and for me, he made it ok to understand that although I was the center of my own universe, there was a voice to what I felt (particularly with Entre Nous) about relationships but found difficult to articulate. And "Entre Nous" provided the first rock and roll steps in understanding that those feelings were okay.
I'm not a Billy Corgan fan, but his comments in "Beyond the Lighted Stage" regarding what this song meant to him as a teenager are almost identical to my own.
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(Keith Davis Reviews) Retrospective I (1974-1980).
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Moving Pictures - Mercury 1981.
One other thing to note is that Rush seems to be slowly bringing in more and more of those fuzzy Pete Townshend/Abacab-era Genesis synthesizers. And the music's getting a bit mellow too, which can't possibly taken as a good sign knowing what we now know about such upcoming treasures as Hold Your Fire and Presto. Why the hell couldn't they have had production this strong back when they were doing stuff like "Bastille Day"?
Ah yes, the lyrics. Still a few winners, but not quite as good as the last record. Like "Red Barchetta" is about how much Neil Peart likes driving really fast in his Uncle's car (*twirls index finger mockingly*). And I don't know what the hell he's on about in "Tom Sawyer." Side two covers crazy citypeople blind to history, witch hunts of hatred and fear, and... err... I think "Vital Signs" is about how people need to understand how their brains actually work and how it affects our daily interactions with other people (for example, if you are tired or upset, you are likely to act more like a bastard to somebody you love, so be careful and aware of this fact so you can prevent it from naturally occurring!). It might just be about The Empire Strikes Back though. My favorite one is "Limelight," the normal everyday man's reaction to being a member of a top-selling hard rock act. And what is his overriding emotion? Jubilation like David Lee Roth? Nope. Self-pity like Kurt Cobain? Nope! Neil looks at the phenomenon head-on, as a mature human being would, and tries to see it exactly as it is: "Living on the lighted stage approaches the unreal for those who think and feel in touch with some reality beyond the gilded cage/Cast in this unlikely role, ill-equipped to act with insufficient tact one must put up barriers to keep oneself intact. Living in the limelight, the universal dream for those who wish to seem. Those who wish to BE must put aside the alienation, get on with the fascination - the real relation, the underlying theme. Living in a fisheye lens caught in the camera eye, I have no heart to lie. I can't pretend a stranger is a long-awaited friend. All the world's indeed a stage and we are merely players, performers and portrayers - each another's audience outside the gilded cage." See? Now that's SMART! Every line in that song is thought out carefully, yet somehow it still rhymes. Do you see what he's saying? He's just a GUY, but he accepts that he is part of something that has drawn an audience of appreciators, just as he is an appreciator of other's talents. So he just gets on with it, doing his work - neither getting angry and bitching about the paparazzi nor bragging that showbiz is his life and he's the greatest drummer there ever was. He even admits his weak spots - having to put up barriers and not being able to be "Mr. Cheerful" to excited fans all the time. I like this Peart fellow! Bring him over for dinner or some bullshit.
It's not a bad thing! The hits still sound relatively fresh. "Red Barchetta" zings by like the car it describes. "YYZ" can get pretty tiresome, but the full-ensemble playing in it is good enough to let the wanking slide. "The Camera Eye" tries to combine lyrics with the instrumental oomph of "Natural Science" and in my mind doesn't quite gel, despite some of Neil's better writing. The lesser tunes toward the end don't do it for me the way the lesser tunes toward the end of Permanent Waves did. Still, it's another enjoyable Rush album, awarded an 8 by me.
And for those of you who think that Rush should of quit after this one, here's a gigantic FUCK YOU.
And, uh, the AIDS thing was a joke, Charlie.
However, YYZ does rock the house! I do think the melody is a bit repeated throughout, but musicians admit - the drum / bass licks (along with Alex's cool style changes) totally rock. As an amature bassist, these are the licks that God wrote. (although hearing Stu Hamm play them on Working Man is like watching McGuire pop number 72).
The overall feeling of the album is darker then Permanent Waves, but this is an excellent effort by Geddy and Crew. I give it a 9.
s/t - 6
FBN - 8
CoS - 7
2112 - 8
FtK - 6
Hemispheres - 10
PW - 9
MP - 10*
Signals - 10
GoP - 9
Power Windows - 6
HYF - 4
Presto - 6
RtB - 5
Counterparts - 8
Test for Echo - 8
Vapor Trails - 8
Ick. But wait--the album. Agree quite, Prindle--there's just not enough good songs and/or decent production on this overrated simply-written bore-disc that's not as good as Permanent Waves. In fact, I don't even think "Tom Sawyer" is that great a song. Limelight is, though. Ohhhhhh, "Limelight" is. Though. Though it is, "Lime". I give it an identical 7.
I say all this because I joined the dark side (or, in technical terms, the "dock side") today and listened to THREE POMPOUS PRETENTIOUS PROGRESSIVE METAL ALBUMS IN A DING DANG ROW. For the record, Dream Theater's Images and Words is pretty good but only just so, Dream Theater's Train of Thought is ass-kicking but only just such, but Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime is OH MY CRAP THE BEST CRAPPING ALBUM THAT EVER CRAPPED OF ALL CRAP (IN A MANNER OF SPEAKING)!!!!! At least in its genre. Damn that '80's hair metal. Why did it have to go and get itself a diamond in the rough?? Because it's permed and curly and has no moustache, that's why. Get that album.
There are a couple of great to good tunes on it, however. Limelight is my favorite, and a fantastic song lyrically. Tom Sawyer is a drum showcase, but I really don't care if I ever hear it again. Liked Barchetta. Didn't love it. Too many keys for a Rush album. Side two is a bore, sadly. I agree with Mark's grade on this one.
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Exit...Stage Left - Mercury 1981.
Oh sorry, this is a double-live album, featuring three tracks each from Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures, two each from A Farewell To Kings and Hemispheres, one each from 2112 and Fly By Night and a BRAND NEW minute-and-a-half instrumental somber guitar arpeggiator called "Broon's Bane" just for you! But who picked this SHITTY song list? "Red Barchetta"? Ooo, there's a real pulse-pounder. "YYZ"? Oh yeah, a drum solo will sound GREAT two songs in! "A Passage To Bangkok"? Yeah, if fuckin' Lifeson had just played the tough hard rock lick CORRECTLY instead of fucking it up with his "art stylings." Which he did in the studio version too, incidentally. Why ruin an awesome riff by dicking around with it? Just play the fuckin' riff! What are you, afraid you'll sound too much like Aerosmith? Believe me, that'd be a GOOD thing (if we're talking about '70s Aerosmith). And "Beneath, Between & Behind"!? It's got potential, sure, if you want to hear a shuffly cover of that cool fast part in Led Zep's "Heartbreaker." Otherwise, THANKS but NO THANKS.
On the other hand, the remaining nine songs are FUCKING THE GREATEST FUCKING SONGS EVER - HAVE YOU FUCKING HEARD "XANADU"?!?! "FREE WILL"!?!?! "THE SPIRIT OF RADIO"!?!?! "TOM SAWYER"!?!?! JESUS FUCKING ASS FUCK MY ASS FUCKED JESUS!!!
So if you don't own any Rush albums and you just want a quick sampling of the band at their commercial peak, you'll probably be able to find this muffled prick-basket in any dollar bin in the nation. But hey, don't take my word for it - look how much Keith Davis loves it!
I'm sorry folks, but this beats every single composition ever written by Pink Floyd, Emerson,Lake and Palmer, Genesis, The Moody Blues, Procol Harum, Yes, Styx, Kansas, The Talking Heads, XTC, U2 and The Police and numerous others!! This is the rock equivelant of Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony." If you fail to believe me, listen to it sometime. I have been unable to find the written music for the first 6 minutes. Is it improvisation??
Anyway, I had a friend who was a great guitarist, he said that this piece is so difficult that it took him 10 years (of constant practice),in order to be able to play it properly. Quite simply, if Exit... Stage Left had only contained this "Eighth Wonder Of The Western World," it still would have been magnificent and well worth owning!! Overall, a 10/10 for this album, and acknowledgement as the best "art-rock" album of all time!! Note, even Jon Pareles did not dare to criticize "Xanadu."
Gee, I am a total Rush geek, even with a ponytail..............FUCK!
Anyone got any cybersmoke?
And what do you know? I like it a lot. YYZ's a little boring, but I can definitely deal with this album. I guess I'm just biased towards live albums in general, but an 8 or 9 is fine for this album.
The professionalism of performance on this album is unbelievable--these guys had ENERGY! If only it had "Limelight"...but even without it, E:SL is an easy, easy 10. Forget Chronicles or the Retrospectives or whatever--if you're getting only one Rush album, get this one. And then maybe you'll want to get more than one.
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Signals - Mercury 1982.
"Subdivisions" was the big hit on here, and will totally have you thinking it's from Abacab until Geddy's annoying voice comes in and you recognize it as being different from Phil Collins' annoying voice. Memorable cold riffs abound around the icy waters underground. No singer wailing or guitar flailing. This is music by grown-ups for grown-ups. But relatively intelligent, mature grown-ups with a career! (Or, alternately, dorky loser science fiction teenagers with pony tails.)
Lyrically, Neil discusses the conformity forced upon the unfortunate youth of subdivisions (I'll give you 55 thousand guesses which song he does this in), the chemistry of emotions and the sensory input that influences them, the paralyzing power of fear ("We've got nothing to fear - but fear itself? Not pain or failure, not fatal tragedy?"), the sorrow of growing old and losing one's talent (my CHRIST, is this an affecting, effective song) and... oh, let's just skip past the one about watching a rocket go up.
But hey! Look at Neil writing himself 3/8ths of a concept album! Listen and lust as he contrasts the happy, nature-loving "Analog Kid" with the high-tech coke-sniffing jerk "Digital Man" and amoral yuppie "New World Man"! He's a songwriter, a drummer and the only attractive member of the band (so says my wife, except about the mustache years). So good for Rush! This is a truly impressive, creative and forward-looking synth/guitar pop/rock/prog album that we can all sit back and enjoy!
But why do they thank "Intellivision Baseball" on the inside? Man, what losers!
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Grace Under Pressure - Mercury 1984.
That's right, I said "IN THE SAME GODDAMNED SONG!?!?!?"
Plus, some stupid with a flare gun must have lent Alex Lifeson a Police mini-disc because suddenly he's playing big slow trebly guitar chord strike-washes where his arpeggiated hooks used to be. Not that you'll likely notice since the keyboards are doing most of the work. Let me STRESS YET THOUGH HOWEVER that this is honestly NOT a bad record. There are several bad PARTS on it, but three of the eight tracks rule (crabgr)ass and only one is a complete Turde("Red Sector A," which pairs a harrowing concentration camp nightmare with the corniest, lamest 'scary' keyboard hook this side of a Count Chocula commercial).
God I fuckin love that F. Scott Fitzgerald book This Side Of A Count Chocula Commercial. Has that man never done us wrong?
The only Grace Slick Under Pressure Dick song I recognize from the radio is the android-who-wants-to-be-a-real-boy death march "The Body Electric" (which repeats the lyric "1-0-0-1-0-0-1 S.O.S." about a billion times, thereby irritating my wife), but I'm personally also quite fond of the echoey minor-key "Distant Early Warning" ("I see the tip of the iceberg - and I worry about you!") and dark guitar/keyboard chorder "Between The Wheels," which lyrically warns that your entire life could fall to pieces in a heartbeat and musically would have fit PERFECTLY into the superior Signals song cycle. The rest of the songs just, as I said, gravitate between likable portion and bland, heard-this-before portion.
Still, at least they're calm adults playing what they believe to be at least semi-creative music, I think. You know - it at least gives the impression of trying to do something different than the rest of the musical world, which is more than you can say about Presto or something.
And Ramones fans - listen closely to "The Enemy Within". Hear that??? That's the chord sequence from "I Just Wanna Have Something To Do!"
And "I Don't Care!"
And "I'm Affected!"
And "We Want The Airwaves!"
Isn't it amazing? It's an entire WORLD of Ramones songs! All contained in that one tiny three-chord riff!
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Power Windows - Mercury 1985.
Not only that, but most of these songs would suck even WITHOUT the keyboards. The songs almost all alternate between the bland and the predictable. There are some really beautiful guitar harmonics in one song, a super-catchy 'boop-a-doop" expert bass line in another, and some nice brief arpeggio moments strewn here and there, but only "The Big Money" and the dark, sorrowful "Mystic Rhythms" even come close to the songwriting talent that these guys displayed just a few years earlier. What in the Hell happened? Did they suddenly all start listening to Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel at the same time? Where Rush's music was once for the most part clever, energetic and creative, it is now overwhelmingly corny, dull and stupid.
Even lyrically, there's a notable dip in quality here. "The Big Money" was written by Pink Floyd 12 years earlier, "Manhattan Project" is a pathetic, stupid look at the creation of the atom bomb with cliched rhymes like "In the dying days of war/A weapon that would settle the score" and "All of the brightest boys/To play with the biggest toys," and "Marathon" is a dumb-as-shit metaphorical song discussing the fact that, to succeed in life, you have to continually work hard even when you get tired.
You know, like in a marathon.
The other five tracks are decent enough - there's a great rant against patriotism and another good song about the emotional confusion of human interaction - but it's been a long time since Neil has turned out three out-and-out stinkers on one record. Maybe he was just inspired by the "music" that Geddy and Alex were urinating all over the studio.
But check out the reader comments - a ton of people like this ball-less sack of shit! But I guess we're all different people and we're bound to like different things. Choose your friends! Make your enemies!
Oh, and Keith: the fact that you state on your own page that Sur La Mer is the Moody Blues' second best album, _and_ that Here Comes The Weekend is one of their best songs, in and of itself completely destroys an confidence I had ever had in your opinions. I'm glad you liked TOCCC, of course, but ... guh .... NO!
Has anyone else noticed how fast the tempo on PW and Hold Your Fire is on the rockers? I like how those songs really move. I give PW a 9 and HYF a 7.
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Hold Your Fire - Mercury 1987.
Lyrically, Neil discusses free will (though not this time in a song called "Freewill"), the speediness of life, emotional misunderstandings and fear of being hurt, leaders who let their people suffer, free will again, the fact that we all have the capacity to kill buried deep inside our brains (if not a corpse buried deep inside our basement), the fact that people who work hard to succeed in life are necessarily sacrificing something else they could have done with all that time, and then some bullshit about how China sang to him and he feels the history of mankind in oceans and rain (I don't!).
This definitely shouldn't be one of your first Rush purchases, but if you're shooting for a near-complete collection, pick it up if only for "Force Ten." Plus, "Time Stand Still" has Aimee Mann singing on it. Heck, you'll be listening to that one "'til Tuesday"!!!!
Speaking of which, there was this truck across the street today that said "Omega" really big on the side, but because of the stupid artistic font they used for the logo, it looked like it was advertising "Smegma"!
You can see why my mentioning Aimee Mann would remind me of that incident.
Other than that, " Second Nature " , " Tai Shan " and " High Water " pretty much bore the hell out of me, and so does " Time Stand Still " ( I know that most Rush fans love that song, well I don`t, they even have a chick singing in the song). So all in all a 6/10.
By the way Alex, I don't think that Aimee Mann (who sings on "Time Stands Still") would take very kindly to being called a "chick."
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(Keith Davis Reviews) Retrospective II (1981-1987).
Since others have done it on other band pages, I thought I'd share my ratings of the albums I already own:
Fly By Night - 7 (Rush still 'finding their way')
Caress Of Steel - 8 (the darkest, murkiest, and most underrated)
2112 - 9 (the title track... ENOUGH FRIGGIN' SAID!!!)
A Farewell To Kings - 6 ("Xanadu" = great, "Cygnus X-1" = ick ick ick!!)
Hemispheres - 7 (some great stuff here, too bad Geddy can't shut up)
Permanent Waves - 8 (contains the song which is what radio should be...)
Moving Pictures - 10 (the masterpiece, what more can I say?)
Signals - 9 (a new era that I really welcome with open arms)
Grace Under Pressure - 8 (the dark, depressing new wave album)
Power Windows - 9 (sorry Mark, can't agree with you here, this one rules)
Hold Your Fire - 6 (dentist office music with GREAT basswork... lol)
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A Show Of Hands - Mercury 1989.
So if you want to hear live versions of 4 Power Windows, 4 Hold Your Fire, 2 Grace Under Pressure, 1 Signals, 1 Moving Pictures and 1 A Farewell To Kings songs, come on over and I'll invite over a bunch of fairy elves and mystical spacemen to sing them for you. Just as soon as you're done jerking off to that Japanese porn cartoon.
That's what they call them right? "Japanese porn cartoons"? Wanna make sure I'm up-to-date on all the latest nerd lingo. I'd hate to give any "HINT I" don't know what I'm talking about!
Hey, look at that messy unkempt rooster! He sure could use a nice HEN TIE!!
Time to sound like a computer, eh? Rush's third live album, A Show Of Hands sounds like the voice is from a computer. OK, I'll buy it, it has modern technology driven in. The songs, which if given the "Exit... Stage Left-type treatment," would have been awesome, sound mechanical! Many good songs dominate it, but it lacks the energy and intensity of the 2nd live album. Overall, an 8/10 and I'm being generous.
In the end though, Closer to the Heart really lacks anything at all, and should not have been played as a closer. *shrug*
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Presto - Atlantic 1989.
The album starts off with three wonderfully catchy tunes in the scales of "funk-metal hilarity," "dark spy music" and "hopeful yet sad dramatics," but not a single one of the remaining eight tracks follows up on this early promise, instead ranging from good part/bad part disappointments to completely negligible John Hughes-movie vomit bag dentures. This is just me talking of course. Maybe you like shit. But not me! I only like really good music! Like Paul Revere & The Raiders!
At very least, the few and far between instances of loud, gritty distorted guitar that pop up in "Show Don't Tell," "Superconductor" and "Anagram (For Mongo)" helped pave the way for Counterparts, and Neil's lyrics are up to his usual standards of interestingness. Points he attempts to make to you lunkheaded kids include:
- Don't just say you've changed or you're going to do something. Words don't mean John The Baptist. DO IT!
- Everything and everybody affects all with which or whom they come into contact. So be a good influence! And stop smelling your underwear.
- People who fail in life due to poor decisions need to realize that suicide isn't the only way out. Otherwise, by gum, they'll KILL themselves!
- Little boys and girls shouldn't try to grow up so fast and believe all the lies about make-up, machoness and sex. Although if the girls really want to grow up fast, they should have sex with me because I'm really good at it.
- See, see like 'emotional' scars - they got as much resonance as 'physical' scars, see...
- No clue. A love that's fallen apart? A misplaced bag of carrots?
- Celebrities who actually believe their audiences' ridiculously exaggerated opinions of them need to realize that they are living in a fantasy.
- I, Neil Peart, can write an entire song of plays-on-word. Or is it play-on-words? I, Neil Peart, will have to look that one up.
- Relationships fall apart. Fuck!
- Even though we will never be able to fully comprehend exactly what life is all about, we should try to see and experience as much of it as we can in what little time we have. I, Neil Peart, like to ride my bike around the world.
So that's Presto - strong enough for a man, but sung by a woman. Oh alright, Geddy's just a strange-looking man, but check out the title line of "Available Light" - Sheesh! Is he trying out for A Chorus Line or some shit? Some mother fucking shit?
So if you're wondering which post Moving Pictures CD is the most deserving of your bucks, get this one. The 50/50 ratio that permeates the other records is greatly improved to about 85/15 here.
On their previous two records, Power Windows and Hold Your Fire, Rush got serious about keyboards. Way serious.On Windows it worked out OK, the thrill of new possibilities clearly fired the band up, but the dreaded 50/50 syndrome prevailed, writing-wise.
Hold Your Fire is where everything turned into a thick morass of synth soup. Too thick, too murky, and the band sounds almost bored. (Only the first two songs kill).
Rush must have realized this, so in typical reactionary fashion, they cranked out Presto. With this album, Rush delivered a solid set of surprising- ly MELODIC songs, without sacrificing the muscle. The production is lean and stripped down, and Geddy finally realized that less is more on the keys.For the first time, they actually use a simple piano line here and there, rather than a wall of MIDI'ed up, dated synth sounds.
Lyrically, Peart is at his best here. "Show Don't Tell" is a strong rebuke to all the fundamentalist fanatics who would have us believe the theory of evolution was cooked up by evil, "atheist" scientists. Excellent guitar riff, you go, Alex!
"The Pass" is a genuinely touching look at teen suicides. The martyr complex is summed up so succinctly that you wonder why no one wrote this song before. You go, Neil!
"Superconductor" is another thought piece, this time about the cult of personality that modern celebrity indulges. Madonna always come to mind when I hear this song. But not musically, thank God! This here be a rocker!
The only weak tracks are "Scars",and "Red Tide".So dive in! If it isn't "heavy" enough for you, then try "Counterparts". Glad I could help...
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(Keith Davis Reviews) Chronicles - Mercury 1990
SO lets think about thinks like that. I mean is his voice that annoying in counterparts. I don't think so
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Roll The Bones - Atlantic 1991.
Ugh. Okay, Rush are capable of melodic beauty when they really try ("Bravado" on this record, for example), but most of the time, it doesn't sound like they're trying! So much of this stuff is rote, by-the-numbers yawn milk. Yes, the guitar colors the lines lovingly, but if there's no substance, a nice guitar overdub just iZZZn't enough.
And what's with that stupid rap bit in the title track?
The correct lyric is 'when we are young'.
(not a rush fan, but bored nonethless)
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Counterparts - Atlantic 1993.
I hope I've made myself clear. Maybe I haven't. My main gripe with Rush is that by the time their singer's voice calmed down and they got good mixing backing 'em up, they'd just about shot their guns creatively, leaving us, the public, with a bunch of albums that sound like they were thrown together in ten minutes. The preceding four or five Rush albums just don't sound WRITTEN. There's very little melodic complexity, it's all in 4/4, and it's all just.... tiring. Especially when you have to listen to Rush fans talk about how complex the music is. It ISN'T complex. Not post-'83 anyway. But, with Counterparts, at least it's got a semblance of guts and toughness, along with a bunch of catchy riffs. I even like "Stick It Out"! It sounds like Soundgarden, for Pete's sake. And how about that cool funky dance-ass Aerosmith chorus? I like shit like that. Beats fantasy new age wank any ol' morn. How's Rush your way?
"Animate" is one groovy alterno-rock song! "Double Agent" is qwirky and dorky, yet somehow lovable like your grandparents. "Stick It Out"? Indeed I will, Neil! "Cold Fire"? Kind of a contradiction wouldn't you say, but isn't that what the song's about anyway? Ha! I'm a poet, and I didn't even think I was... or something) "Everyday Glory" and "Nobody's Hero"? Ok, I can deal with them, even though they are a little goofy sounding at times. Most of the time. As for the rest of the disc, well, it's all kind of like drinking your own bath water: soapy, murky, and luke-warm but it's still YOURS and that's gotta count for something. Right?
So after most everything has been said and done, I really enjoy a good 2/3rd's of this recording. And how about all those pictures and hootennanny found within the jewel case?! Interesting stuff if you ask me! All those twins and triplets get a mighty bit tiresome towards the end, but that's not too bad for a trio of Canadanites. Except for the fact that 'over & over' is in there twice, and it didn't provoke me to either think or laugh so it must be a mistake. Oh well... it's a Kilroy better than anything Styx ever did!
P.S. WHERE THE HELL DOES ANYONE COME OFF SAYING THAT RUSH IS ALTRENATIVE? ALTERNATIVE IS THE DUMBEST LABEL EVER GIVEN TO ANY FORM OF MUSIC.WHAT IS "ALTERNATIVE MUSIC" AN ALTERNATIVE TO? WANKING? JESUS CRIST
My early reviews blow
Rush is not rock
Ugh... I forgot.
I like AC/DC and Rush, and I will tell you this, Rush is not for everyone. As a matter of fact, it's for a very small amount of people. And they are not a rock band. Many songs may rock, but that's just a coincidence.
Counterparts rocks hard though. Oh wait, I remember the third thing:
HOW CAN YOU LIKE WEEZER AND THEN SAY RUSH IS FOR DORKS? I mean, it is more than likely true, but Weezer fucking CHOWS DOWN ON PENIS. They had one FLAT SOUNDING hit, and then died. Their video was ok, for an alternative band, and that is that. Fucking Weezer. And Sonic Youth. And Ween, and all those other bands that you know you're just SAYING you like, even if you don't like VU.
Anyway, Counterparts is awesome. I needent go into why. Very strong song writing in this package. I realy doubt that, even though I have every album by Rush, I will ever review them all.
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Test For Echo - Atlantic 1996.
First, how it sounds: Sounds GOOD! Geddy is singing in a very nice, low and calm voice, not raising my ire even ONCE throughout my listening sitting time. Secondly, the CD is extremely guitar-centric like Counterparts. If there are ANY keyboards, they're pretty buried behind Alex Lifeson's dazzling pyrotechnics -- he SHINES in his classically-influenced solos, ripping some tasty licks out of that fretboard. The mix is very tough and strong, not watered down like many of Rush's '80s records were. And the melodies are NICE! Very nice melodies that I honestly like. Not much in the crazy show-off complicated rock genre that people claim Rush used to play in, but catchy distorted grungey-style rockers mixed with dark arpeggios, nice pop, some acoustic picking and even a countryish Black Crowes-style number, believe it or not! Very little pretention involved too, though the excruciating "Netboy, Netgirl" chorus in "Virtuality" ranks up there with Tull.com and Billy Idol's Cyberpunk as proof that the old are better off in their own little old-fashioned worlds with hobby horses and Kids Say The Darnedest Things! books.
Lyrically, okay let's see if I can figure out Neil Pearly's lyricals. The title track appears to be about the nation's obsession with real crime TV, especially of the young urban variety. Probably a reaction to this season's aborted baseball playoffs. Then "Driven" seems to be about finding the determination to take control of your life, even if you are tormented by constant pain and madness. It may also be from that Sylvester Stallone movie where he drives the race car down the street. "Half The World" paints the world's population in simplistic black-and-white terms and is a remarkably childish and shitty song (except for the music, which is extraordinarily beautiful). Then there's "The Color Of Right," hmm. Not sure what's going on here. It might have to do with being on the road, away from his loved one (and possibly cheating on her, though the lyrics are kind of vague). It also seems to make reference to that neat $20 bill trick where you see the World Trade Center on fire. See, this is fun! I've never read a lyrics before! Next song is "Time And Motion" - ah fuck it I'm bored with this.
In contention, I think this is one of the best albums they've ever made and this is a superhigh 7, awfully close to an 8! The only downside is that too many of the songs are just OKAY. Or really good during parts and really stupid during other parts. You know what that's like though. You saw American History X, right?
Speaking of which, I saw Mr. Ed Norton just this evening! He was on 89th between 3rd and Lex, filming scenes for an upcoming Spike Lee marijuana cigarette entitled The 25th Hour. When it comes out, be sure to go see it! I'm the guy in the background with the mustache drawn on my penis!
I'm not a huge fan of these guys, tho I like very much "The Camera Eye" & "Red Barchetta" on MOVING PICTURES, "Spirit of Radio" & "Freewill" on PERMANENT WAVES, & a track here & there like "Closer to the Heart," "Fly By Night," "Distant Early Warning," "Force Ten" & "Show Don't Tell."
However your site is entertaining and from time to time I will read your reviews.
By the way what is 10 divided by a third?
Their best album since Moving Pictures and Permanent Waves. and 10 out of 10.
Now if only they will go back to the studio...
P.S. Where is Different Stages?
He said, "Fuck that shit, man. Hendrix is dead. You need to get into Rush, man, they're the most fucking educated band there ever was. They fuckin' sing about Greek gods and shit! Fuckin' Neil Peart, if you like analyze his drum parts there's all these mathematical equations in them. And they did this album called "Hemispheres" that has a picture of a human brain on it. I'm telling you, man, Hendrix is dead...Rush is alive and well!"
I am not making a word of this up, I assure you. Hell, the guy above who invokes Greek and Roman myths might be the same guy, for all I know. That's how it always is with rock fans: "Man, that guy did an album based on 'Faust'...he's a genius!"
It's like some of these people are still arguing with their parents about rock:
"Son, that music sounds like pigs being slaughtered."
"Oh yeah? Well, one of their songs quotes Marshall McLuhan."
As far reflected glory goes, Ayn Rand's light is particularly dim. If you bleed everything overheated and incoherent out of that lunatic fuckhead Nietzsche‹‹leaving nothing but colossal self-regard, and ice-cold calculation in which human lives are little more than poker chips‹‹you come close to the utterly souless notions of good ol' Aynnie, who is preeminently the philosopher of smug bureaucrats with delusions of grandeur. Objective reality, indeed.
Did you know that when she was asked by film censors to come up with a series of guidelines for motion pictures, one of the things she forbade movies to do was "glorify failure"? Where would we all be if they'd listened to her?
Anyway, I love Rush's application of her ideas in "Limelight," which is an elaborate justification for the band's unwillingness to treat their fans as anything more than witless cattle: "One must put up barriers to keep oneself intact." And then they have that song that says something like, "You may think that selfishness is wrong/yet it was for me and not for you that I came to write this song." Think of the 20-watt bulbs glowing weakly above a million stoned noggins as Rush's followers "grokked" the import of that line!
Thanks to your site's readers, I now now that you shouldn't say anything about a band unless you like them. Therefore, I'll close by saying that as pompous, befuddled, and tainted with quasi-fascism as Rush are, they always cheer me up when they come on the radio. Even "Subdivisions" is pretty catchy, and sometimes seems almost moving in a dunced-out way.
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Different Stages: Live - Atlantic 1998
Whew! It's hard work to be a wordsmancraft, suspecially when you don't know words or how to spell, but that's life in teh world of professional rock criticism, where I'm at. Check out this knock-knock joke:
William Shatner who?
William Shat, nerds were splattered with feces!
ZING! Tell it at your favorite pub for hot laughs and hotter sex!
Ooo, here's another classic bit of ribaldry for those long winter days:
Tom Cruise who?
See, you don't know the history of Tom Cruise. I do.
This triple-live CD features one song each from Caress Of Steel, Signals, Hemispheres, Presto, two from Rush, three each from Roll The Bones, Moving Pictures, Test For Echo, Permanent Waves, Fly By Night, four from Counterparts, five from A Farewell To Kings and - if you count each section of the title track as a separate song - EIGHT from 2112. So if the only Rush albums you like are Grace Under Pressure, Hold Your Fire and Power Windows, it would be in your best interest to purchase a different triple-concert-CD. Also, get better ears because those albums stink.
After the 'maturity' of the bland A Shower With Hands concert LP, it's neat to see that Rush is back to rockin' with loud guitars and plunging through their back catalog with glee and disabandonmentitude. However - and this is a BIG however, so jot it down in your heath ledger - there is some atrocious material on here. Most distressingly, the formerly youthful and excitable "2112" is now a boring, shitty, TERRIBLE song sung and played by old people who can't even remember what it was like to be able to get into material this juvenile, and they play all goddamned TWENTY-FUCK-ONE MINUTES of it. Add to this the dopey funk-grunge "Show Don't Tell," 8 1/2 minutes of Neil Peart playing with his dick, the hookless "Farewell To Kings" and the 'hey everybody, let's all rock and roll!' embarrassment of "In The Mood," and you've got a full LP's worth of completely unlistenable material. And see, that's the deal with Rush. When they're good, they're very very good - melodic, smart, ass-kicking and/or fun. But when they're bad - which is quite a bit of the time - they can't find a hook on the side of a barn to save their lives from a hole in the ground Shinola.
How does this happen exactly? How can a band create such astonishingly catchy songs as "The Spirit Of Radio," "Limelight" and "Bravado" while simultaneously churning out miserable bowel chunks like "YYZ," "Roll The Bones" and 80% of Hold Your Fire? I've spent too long speculating already. It's time to get on with my life, with or without you. With or without you.
I CAN'T LIIIIIIIIVE! etc.
Say! You know what's hilarious? Listening to 28 songs from modern-day calm Rush before suddenly running into the 1978 show and hearing Geddy Lee screech like an ugly little girl. You won't be laughing for long though, because in 1978, Rush KICKED SOME ASS. The 1978 show is so much more energetic and rockin'! Not just that, but the instrumentation and interplay is so much tighter and more technically impressive. The Serbian dude rips his axe like a true hard rock shredder and Peart the Squirt plays some AWESOME drum parts, which you certainly wouldn't expect after hearing his 8-minute blowdown on disc 2. As a whole, I'd give the 1978 disc a high 7, where the first two discs combine to earn a low 6. What's up with them only playing half of "Fly By Night" though? And why is Geddy singing so far behind the beat? Did they hate that song for some reason? I think it's catchy! It's about flying somewhere, at night.
Overall, Different Stages - Live is a pretty good triple-live-CD, but I think we all knew they had a better triple-live-CD inside them. I remember hearing it and thinking, "This is a pretty good triple-live CD, but I hope they put out another triple-live CD soon -- preferably right after the next studio album, so its song list will be nearly identical to this one." When this very thing occurred, I grew an extra penis so I could ejaculate with twice the excitement.
You're glib, Mark! Glib, glib, glib!
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Vapor Trails - Anthem/Atlantic 2002.
or WAS it honestly? Could they possibly have just snuck into the recording studio next to theirs, stealthily snagged the recordings of a promising young Canadian guitar rock outfit and released it as their own? As much as I'd love to convince myself that this is the case so that people in the streets would stop calling me a "Dork Rush Fan Loser" and hitting me with spoiled eggs, the guitar playing is too "fluid" and "good" to be anyone besides Alex Lifeson or whatever session musician he uses. And guitar playing lots? CHRIST would rip his wrists right off the cross for the opportunity to play some air axe to the never-ending reverbed chimey arpeggios and hard rock riffs that put this band on the front page of www.rush.com for four weeks straight.
Before I continue, I'd like to address something that has been on my mind somewhat. It's the way people - including myself - arrive at their opinions. Having never been another person, regardless of what Shirley McLAME would have you believe, I can only speak for me. And for me, I am ashamed and frightened for all of humanity. Because my opinions about relatively IMPORTANT issues seem to derive themselves directly from (a) my initial reaction to hearing a piece of news, without having any information on it at all, and (b) convincing arguments by people I respect. Even when I try to research an issue, I don't believe anything I read so I usually INADVERTANTLY give up at figuring out for myself what is actually going on and why, and just rely on the friends who seem the smartest about the issue. I take their opinions and reference points as my own, and use them to argue against people with opposing viewpoints -- especially since every argument they throw at me is one that I've already heard. Everybody uses the same arguments over and over again, and chances are frighteningly good that everybody else is doing the same thing I'm doing. Which is why morons like Bill O'Reilly are so dangerous. He presents lies as truth to a TON of people who then relate their new-found opinions and reference points to other people. Next thing you know, everybody believes that the war is about freeing the Iraqis and it's all downhill from there. I'm not going to stoop to the "Opinions are like assholes" cliche, but it does scare me to recognize how easily swayed by opinions are. It's almost as if I honestly don't give a shit about these things at all, and just start paying attention to them because the controversy fascinates me. So let me try to be as honest with myself as I'd like to be with everybody else in the world. Three questions should cover it:
1. Do I honestly care at all about the Iraqis? The answer is that when the photos are shown, I'm reminded that they are human beings and that human beings should not be treated the way that Saddam was treating them. But when the photos aren't around, I have no emotional attachment to them. Nor do I have any emotional attachment to the American soldiers risking their lives to bomb the hell out of Baghdad. So why have I been arguing against it so long? Because I'm easily swayed by what seems like the most moral opinion I hear. I try to imagine myself in their place. But I've never experienced tyranny like Saddam's reign so how would I know whether getting rid of his regime is worth losing my entire family to American bombs?
2. Why am I a vegetarian? I became a vegetarian because I was easily swayed by a moral argument. I have remained a vegetarian because I feel that the moral argument was correct - if I love animals, which I do, and if I can survive without them dying for me, and I can, then I can sacrifice meat, which was basically just going to give me colon cancer anyway.
3. If I had been flying a small plane near NYC on September 11th, had seen one of the jets heading towards the world trade center and knew that I could save thousands of lives by flying my plane into the jet and exploding it, would I have done so. I'll be honest - the answer is no. I know that's not the correct answer, but I know me. No matter how much I try to care about other people, I'm not going to run headlong into death to save people I don't know. Now if my WIFE worked at the World Trade Center, then yes I would have done it. I would rather her live and me die than vice-versa. That's the truth. But anyone else, I just know I wouldn't do it. Now then! About that Rush album!
It's shocking to me that King Crimson, Rush and Yes are putting out such great records after being around for so long, but it does give me hope that my own creativity (if I have any) won't just peter out all over the floor the minute I turn 30. Vapor Trails (which, if it sucked, would lead me to make a fart joke about its title) only really has one mood and approach - guitar-drenched rock musician - higher-pitched arpeggios and lower-pitched notes and chords, back and forrth and to and fro, for like 73 minutes or something ridiculous like that. The guitar tones are tough, the production is strong and filled with bassy teeth and a lot of the riffs are actually pretty original -- even when the main riff is just basic blues-rock (as in "One Little Victory"), all the other kickass stuff that Lifeson does during the song -- especially the rat-a-tat drilling note attack he does at the beginning and end -- make it clear that the band spent time on developing the song into the best little five minutes it could be. And the bass lines are great too! Two or three of the tunes are heavy on bass CHORDS, which is always a nice sound if you're into heavy beauty and beautiful booming noises.
One thing I've noticed about the last few Rush albums is that as background music, they're dull. You really have to make LISTENING your top priority, especially on this one, or you'll miss all the little nuances, instrumental breaks and guitarically stylistic shifts that make the songs sound smart. Not to say that this is a CHALLENGING record - that's not at all what I mean. I just mean that the coolest things about the songs are what you don't notice if you're busy reading Ulysses at the same time. They're what you only notice if you're busy reading Finnegans Wake. It's possible that you might notice some of them if you're busy reading Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, especially the sex parts, but don't come complaining to me if you listen to it while you're busy reading Dubliners: Selected Short Stories, because I'm not your butler and, especially since my recent bout with leprosy, I don't HAVE a shoulder for you to cry on.
But what about the lyrics is what you're wondering to me? Is this the long-awaited follow-up to Hemispheres where the frontal lobe eats the soul and shits it out into a cereal box? No! They've long since outgrown their magicians and mystics roots, and Kansas already did a song about shitting a soul out into a cereal box ("The Point of Know Return" is when you've pushed the soul about halfway out and it's too late to suck it back in without squeezing and breaking part of it off).
Which reminds me of a Ramones parody I'm never going to record because it's so gross -- "Hangin' out on Second Ave/Eating your mother's vaginal cav/I just want to be with you-hoo/I just wanna buy a new pair of shoes -"
"Tonight! Tonight! Tonight! Oh-oh!" GOD, I fuckin love Phil Collins!
P.S. Apparently some of you people like it when a review actually talk about how the songs go. So this is for you: "One Little Victory" has a very aggressive distorted riff intro! Into cool arpeggios! Man! Cool intro! Into basic rock song with great breaks. "Ceiling Unlimited" is an energetic rock song with good guitar breaks! Basic riff but nice high note and breaks! Cool! "Ghost Rider" is another rock song! Dark mood sorta. Serious. more great guitar riffin'. About drummer's recovery. Its poignance makes up for some of its less interesting moments. "Peaceable Kingdom" is built on bass chords! More cool guitar arpeggios and breaks! "The Stars Look Down" is Rock! Suave groove rock! More nice arpeggios in chorus! "How It Is" has some happy arpeggios. It's okay. Not the most creative on here, but nice! "Vapor Trail" is more of the same. The arpeggios in the verse are too obvious, but the chorus is kinda tribal and interesting! Nice bass! Actually, those are lovely bass chords in the verse. And interesting background chanting in the chorus. It grows on ya! "Secret Touch" is more greatness! It has a short unexceptional clean part that goes into REALLY fast strumming and interesting guitar playing. "Earthshine" has guitar CHORDS! What a great AC/DC riff! The Rush chorus is lackluster enough to almost ruin the otherwise GREAT rock and roll song! "Sweet Miracle" is unremarkable but not bad. "Nocturne" is bass-driven with more arpeggio guitar. Great tune! "Freeze, Pt. 4 of 'Fear'" has clickity-clickity-clickity guitars. Cool riffage! Odd playing against the rhythm too. More neat bass! Maybe too long though? And finally "Out Of The Cradle" has an intro that sounds unlike anything else on the album, but then turns into business as usual. Good stuff!
Favorite tracks? You betcha...One Little Victory is a monster opener. Ghost Rider is beautiful, Earthshine and Nocturne are cool and kinda spooky. I love, absolutely LOVE Sweet Miracle (especially where Geddy's going OOOHHH SALLLVAATIOOONN in the middle--uhh!) Great bass! And Freeze is just one big ass kicker!
You gotta love Out of the Cradle, though. Total unexpected gem of an ending. Keep up the albums like this boys!
Um, no it’s not. And I don’t care if you like albums that are overcompressed to the point where they sound like noise with a beat; the amount of clipping on Vapor Trails is unacceptable. Please do not support the loudness race.
Someone needs to tell that Rich Bunnell kid that he's not funny. Really, really not funny.
About the politics, though--I think there's one little point that needs to be addressed. From arguments I've heard from you, the Not in Our Name movement, and my down-the-hall floormate whom I swear is going to lead a working-class revolution in Houston if the Halliburton building doesn't get demolished fast, it seems that war in general and against Iraq in particular is perceived as Planes Flying Through The Air And Releasing Huge Carpet-Bombing Racks Of Explosives At Random Times Over Hugely Populated Areas For The Sole Purpose Of Blowing Shit Up, Some Of Which May Or May Not Be Military In Nature. In other words, hundreds of thousands of civilians always get slaughtered, and war in the name of liberation is by definition an oxymoron.
Now I, the oil-thirsty monster I am, take a different view, based largely on what I actually know about modern-day war fighting, history, and relativity. During World War II and the Vietnam War this WAS the case--massive civilian casualties were expected and even encouraged by the advocates of "bombing the heck out of cities just to demoralize the population." However, since the 1980's (yeah, THAT 1980's, the Times of Darkness and Motley Reagan Crue) training in the United States military has shifted toward emphasis on gaining support of the native civilian population in order to accomplish the mission quicker, particularly in the Marine Corps. That means avoiding civilian casualties as best one can--pretty hard to gain their support if you intentionally kill them, I reckon.
So when the top brass brags about all their "smart" weapons and "humane" targetting, keep in mind that subconsciously, they're always adding on the phrase "relatively speaking." Relative, that is, to previous conflicts. In the present war, the bombing over Iraq killed roughly 9,000 civilians by the highest Amnesty International estimates over a one-month period, in the process dismantling everything of value to the regime. By contrast, in a similar month-long period, the U.S. Air Force killed around 200,000 Japanese civilians in sporadic bombing runs over Japanese cities in early 1945, in the process not even coming close to dismantling the Imperial infrastructure. As high as the innocent death toll in Iraq is, and as much as civilian deaths in general absolutely blow, keep in mind that they could not have gotten figures that low without actually trying to. Just because they say that their weapons are “accurate” doesn’t mean that they’re magic and always work. They mean that they’re a hell of a lot more accurate than they were previously.
If I were a person in Iraq who lost all my family to American bombs, I'd probably be quite frankly pissed off, and instantly prefer living under Saddam's regime. However, if I was part of the far greater amount of Iraqis who didn't, I'd probably prefer the latter. It's as simple as that. I think that there are some people-—good ones, even--who lose out under the new order, and that admittedly does suck. But if the vast majority of Iraqi people are destined to live a better life without Saddam, then I’m frankly all for it. As shitty as war is, I think there's times when it's necessary to take out these bastards, who admittedly pose no threat to us (Bush can shove that WMD jive right up his ass) but have killed hundreds of thousands of their own. 9,000 civilian deaths is still a lot, but compared to Saddam’s late-1970’s purges, the Iran-Iraq war (which was supported by France, Britain, and the Soviet Union just as much as the U.S.--France even supplied Saddam with substantial amounts of cyanide gas), the campaigns of genocide against desert tribes and the Kurds, the invasion of Kuwait (which Saddam would have done with or without our so-called "approval"), the suppression of the 1991 insurrection against his regime which left half a million dead and two million in exile, and yes, his deliberate mishandling of U.N. humanitarian aid during the sanctions which were responsible for the majority of malnutrition deaths during the '90's-—compared to all that, 9,000 is, quite frankly, chicken scratch.
The point is, as shitty as this sounds, I think the war was worth getting rid of him. Saddam portrayed his overthrow as an imperialistic atrocity against mankind, and non-interference with his regime as the epitome of multi- cultural understanding--and the world fucking bought it. In all the protests I went to, I didn't see one sign even mentioning the bastard's name. He killed countless innocents, more than perhaps any other dictator of the 1980's, and no one gives a shit. They took him and his actions for granted, and they still do. I initially opposed the war because I hated Bush and his attitude, just like the rest of you. Now, knowing what I know, I'm not so sure. Some people, regardless of whether or not they support Al-Qaeda, WMD, or were once supported by us, are terrible and evil, and for whatever reason, we seem to be the only folks that have the capability and/or gall and/or public attitude necessary to stop them from intentionally hurting more innocent people. For what it’s worth, I hope that sanity may yet prevail.
But don’t worry—-I still hate Bush. He severely gets on my nerves. And I actually think the Halliburton building SHOULD be torn down. It’s an eyesore anyway.
Counterparts: I am not sure one can ever truly understand and grasp the depth of the opening track, featuring the lyric "animate me.... chocolate cake me". Wow, every time I think I've heard a new low, this band comes up with one to top themselves! Yippee, I should listen to more Rush, it makes me feel good about all those crappy mid-70s records I own... maybe Humble Pie was a great band?... maybe I don't have to hide my Frampton Comes Alive record any more???
Read on if you care to, I know I jump around, but seriously people, get a grip. This techno-philic band is one step short of Milli Vanili when it comes to musical relevance or impact - at least in their second half of their careers.
Power Windows: wow is this terrible.
Presto: pretty bad, I think I remember this when it came out; "if I could wave my magic wand" - you know what, I'd make this album disappear.
Roll the Bones: also a snoozer,... I am starting to detect a pattern here.
Grace Under Pressure: I couldn't handle going forward any more so had to look back, reviews said this record sold a lot and was better than the ones that followed, so I listened to a few clips. Synth sound really begins heavily on this album, Lifeson is almost nonexistent; Police fans might enjoy this I guess.
Hold Your Fire: if "Time Stands Still" is the coolest thing you can come up with, wow. Just one word. Wow.
Test for Echo: the CD Universe review said "Time and Motion" was the best track. I think it honestly might be one of the worst songs I've ever heard. I think Rush should be banned from using the word "Time" in another song or album title until they finally release "Time to Quit" as their last live LP.
Permanent Waves: hailing from 1980, this has a couple bigger songs on it, Free will and Spirit of Radio. Jacob's Ladder almost eliminates the artistic accomplishment of both combined.
Signals: Subdivisions. Sounds like "Time Stands Still"; has some of the same synth effects, wonder if they even bothered to re-record them.
Vapor Trails: Does sound heavier, but still pretty lame.
I guess I just don't like that whole genre; they are all admittedly pretty big fans of Genesis, ELP, and Yes, and frankly I don't think there is anything redeeming about any of those bands.
If you take anything past Moving Pictures as anything other than only of mild interest to a serious Rush fan, you are delusional.
Anyway, after Test for Echo, I told myself THAT WAS A DAMN GOOD ALBUM, but in reality I only listened to it about 3 or 4 times and I stopped. Then I just stopped listening to Rush. Like at all, until this year, 2011. So that was about 10 years of just not listening to Rush anymore. I heard Vapor Trails came out and I was like eh whatever it's probably gonna just be more alternative alt rock stuff with goofy cheesy lyrics about DREAMERS DREAMING DREAMS and sudden time changes that used to be impressive but aren't anymore because they're just for their own sake and not that interesting to listen to.
So this year me and Josh finally decided to rip a bunch of albums to mp3 so that we could listen to them like albums again but in mp3 form. Dunno why we didn't do this before but we just didn't feel like it. It came in handy while we played cooperative Resident Evil 5 on the PC together, or when I ripped a few albums to my Xbawcks 360 video game console to play Just Cause 2 while listening to Exile on Main Street for the first time since we bought it like 8 years ago and realizing WAIT A SECOND THIS IS A REALLY GOOD ALBUM.
So yeah after all that really dumb bullshit of doing shit that I actually should have done years ago, me and THE BRO decided that it was finally time to get caught up on the 2 albums that Rush released since we stopped listening to them.
Then I bought Vapor Trails and found out that it's not only one of my favorite albums of all time but has my favorite Rush songs of all time on it. It's weird how similar Exile on Main Street and Vapor Trails seem to me, but it's just like when I found out that "Let It Loose" and "Vapor Trail" are my new favorite songs by a couple bands I thought I was already familiar with. It's also kind of like they have gospel blues influences in two completely separate ways as well (although I wish that they used a choir instead of layering Eddy Glee's voice a bunch of times, but it still sounds good to me). I dunno, that's just how I feel. The lyrics are still a touch cheesy and nerdy, but less so I think.
Although strangely enough I think "Earthshine" is my least favorite song on the album. Just kinda bland and Test for Echoy to me. But pretty much everything else I was surprised to find that I love so much. The music is great in a way I never thought I'd hear from Rush, it's like really up to date hard rock that's progressive and still actually interesting, instead of simply technically proficient, which I guess is my complaint about Test for Echo? I DON'T KNOW, I have so many feelings about this that I would probably go on forever in a huge rambling email of pointless life stories and shit that amounts to nothing anyway.
(a few months later)
By the way, I didn't mention this in my last comment, but "Peaceable Kingdom" is by far, objectively the greatest song ever written about 9/11. Some people don't know it's about 9/11, but look at the lyrics and think about 9/11, it fits perfectly, and this song was written right after 9/11. On top of that, the references to militant Islam are somewhat subtle but if you know what to look for they're extremely obvious (especially all the mentions of "a billion" of something, at the time there were all sorts of mentions of Islam as being 1 billion strong and how its religion itself is named after the concept of submission, especially of those who do not themselves practice the religion).
I figured that this album sounded really good and that was it, but as it turns out it kept growing on me more and more, and I'm still fucking listening to it a year later. I'm actually shocked at how much I continue to like the songs on this album. Usually I discard an album after a year or two, but this one is really staying in the mind. Maybe because I only picked it up last year, when it came out in 2002.
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In Rio - Anthem/Atlantic 2003
I've seen it on the beach and I've played it on my PC. Seven out of ten stars it doesn't mean that much to me. Like a birthday or a box of liquid poop. But then I'm sure that you know etc. pbbl.
Another triple-live-CD from our friends in Rush, including Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, In Rio features 19 of the exact same tracks that were on their last triple-live CD, along with an awe-inspiring twelve other songs. Totalling all the tracks, we find one each from Rush, Fly By Night, 2112, Presto, Signals and Power Windows; two each from Counterparts, Test For Echo, A Farewell To Kings, Grace Under Pressure and Hemispheres; three each from Roll The Bones and Permanent Waves; and four each from Moving Pictures and Vapour Trails. And a nine-minute drum solo so the crowd could go use the bathroom. I tell you one thing about listening to all these different-era Rush tracks all together in a conglomeration of one concert like this: their newest songs are more obvious in the chord sequence/arpeggio note melodies department, but Christ are they catchy! Especially compared to the "simple but boring" songs they were writing throughout the 80s. If you feel determined to purchase a triple-live CD by these Canadian wunderkinds, this is the one you want - it's a high high 7, full of tons of their most melodic and/or instrumentally challenging material. Which brings me to another point - for a 'progressive' band with such a reputation for exceptional instrumental prowess, Rush really hasn't written that many difficult songs. I can't play the lead riff in "The Spirit of Radio," but then I've never tried to learn it. It certainly doesn't sound easy, but maybe it is. Gee, let's talk about this for half an hour, it's exciting.
Well-performed Rush classics to be found on this triple-live CD include: "Tom Sawyer" (with the entire crowd singing along, as they were all hired as lead singer a few months beforehand), "The Big Money" (man, that riff really IS a complete ripoff of "Limelight," isn't it?), "Freewill," "Closer To The Heart," "Limelight" and "The Spirit Of Radio." No "Force Ten" or "Subdivisions"? You play for 83 goddamned hours and leave out two of your best songs!? Oh, but at least we get to hear the 'brilliant' "Roll The Bones," 'One Little Victory" and seven more piss-addled minutes of "2112." Actually I guess I should be thanking you for cutting out 2/3rds of that song you're too elderly to play correctly anymore, let alone not adding ten more minutes of freestyle rap to "Roll The Bones." IMPORTANT NOTE TO THE MEMBERS OF RUSH: NOBODY LIKES THE SONG "ROLL THE BONES." STOP PUTTING IT ON ALL YOUR TRIPLE-LIVE CD'S.
IMPORTANT FOLLOW-UP NOTE TO THE MEMBERS OF RUSH: ENOUGH WITH THE TRIPLE-LIVE CD'S.
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Feedback EP - Atlantic 2004
Once I had regained my composure 25 minutes later when the story about the goaty was over, I flew in Mark Lindsay's silver bird to Toronto, Ontario, Winnipeg to check out the damage. It turns out that the damage KICKED ASS! This older wiser Rush once again keeps both the high-strung hystericrionics and the overwhelmingly flat adult synthesizers far, far away to present faithful, guitar-heavy, brilliantly produced (guitar tones from Heaven! So smooth and friendly to the ear!) and well-sung renditions of their favorite anthems from 35+ years ago. Let's peek in their window and see what we see, eh?
GOOD GOD, ALEX LIFESON IS HUNG LIKE THREE NEGROS GLUED TO A HORSE!
Okay, instead let's listen to the CD together.
Hear that? That's "Summertime Blues"! Originally performed by Eddie Cochran, it became a huge hit for proto-metal band Blue Cheer in the late '60s, as well as a popular number on The Who's Live At Leeds LP. Rush combine the Who and Blue Cheer efforts into something you might call "Who Cheer" (if you're the least witty person in the world). Oh, it ended (in my head, the only place the CD is actually playing right now). Now here's The Yardbirds' "Heart Full Of Soul"! And Rush are playing it very mellow and acoustic, without the stupid backup vocals - calm, folksy, morbid and Beau Brummelsy! Oh look it's over, and it's a boring cover of Buffalo Springfirres;' "For What It's Mary Worth" - guitar harmonics too quiet, oh record skipped, THE WHO'S "THE SEEKER" - GREATEST SONG EVER! BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD (B.S.) doing "Mr. Soul" - GREATEST SONG EVER, PART II! (with guitar solo swiped from Byrds' "8 Miles High"!) Love's "Seven And Seven Is" follows, as Rush often listened to the Ramones cover from Acid Eaters during those early, burly days in Montreal, Vancouver. Finally, The Yardbirds' "Shapes Of Things" is performed very quite '60s-like - mod-sounding and calm! And that's the album (except for "Crossroads," which blows). Seven damn fine covers of damn fine songs! (and "Crossroads," in which Geddy's clean-as-the-dishwashing-detergent-he-guzzles-like-candy voice sings the "clean blues wearing nice clothes and feeling okay in Canada blues").
Your key is of course song choice. Especially "The Seeker" and "Mr. Soul," 2 songs 2 rockin' 2 B 2gotten. And don't fear sloppiness - regardless of the messy psychedelic CD cover, the music itself is clean, structured, practiced, rigid, well-played, haughtily performed and smelly hippy sweat-free. Thank you, 2004, for the air conditioners!
Anyway, we've sparred back and forth in years past about Rush's mixing of their most recent albums with tons of digital overload and clipping....and you've always stated that you liked the SONGS and that overruled the recording problems of albums like Vapor Trails.
Well, I've written a little review of "Replay" that just came out...I know its not on your site yet, but I'd like my review to be posted if you don't mind. Here it is:
All those VERY familiar with the "Exit Stage Left" original VHS and Laserdisc, especially BASS players, view the opening bass tone of "Limelight" as Geddy's holy grail Rickenbacker sound. The slamming thick distorted midrange presence on the VHS version of this video is PERFECTION. Guess what???? IT'S GONE.
Whenever you see "Audio produced by Alex Lifeson" on the cover, RUN. The audio of this concert (and "Grace Under Pressure" as well) is absolutely abysmal. Reverb has been added, the midrange bite of the bass guitar is GONE, and the entire mix is so completely digitally distorted and clipped from normalization that it is nearly UNLISTENABLE. Don't believe me??? Set your audio options to "PCM Stereo" and turn your tv down to about 1 or 2, so that your tv volume is whisper quiet. Then, listen to the sound of this dvd at that super soft volume. WHAT YOU HEAR IS COMPLETE DIGITAL OVERLOAD SIZZLY CLIPPING. IT SOUNDS ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE!!!!! Nevermind the added reverb, increased sub-bass, and decreased midrange. Strangely, these DVD's have the EXACT same digital clipping as Vapor Trails, Rush in Rio (unlistenable), Feedback, and R30!!!! What the h*** is going on? Who in their right mind would purposely mix these things to sound COMPLETELY distorted, with NO definition between instruments, in a mish-mosh of Pro-Tools sounding distortion and noise????? THIS IS ABSOLUTE TREASON TO DESTROY A GREAT TERRY BROWN MIX OF A CLASSIC LIVE RECORDING LIKE THIS. The 5.1 mix is just as bad, even more "empty" sounding, with Geddy's vocals sounding like they are in a separate room. Even less bass guitar midrange on the 5.1 mix. But, its the absolutely overloaded digital clipping distortion and added 90's reverb that totally absolutely inexcusably destroy these classic recordings!!!!!
Even the "Grace Under Pressure" dvd and cd sound horrendous. Reverb has been added, there is WAY too much sub-bass, the bass guitar disappears, and there are digital compression artifacts such as ringing evidenced a LOT. Also, some of the vocals are different; I'm assuming on the original release Geddy "touched up" his vocals in the studio, and who ever remixed (ie, RUINED) this new version wasn't even familiar enough with the original to notice the different vocal tracks. Compare tracks such as the end of "Distant Early Warning" and "Vital Signs" to hear the differences. I have an original version of this recorded off the radio in 1987 to reel to reel...and its thick, punchy, dry, and "in your face" sounding...like a REAL band in your LIVING ROOM...NOT AT THE OTHER END OF A TUNNEL OR THE BACK OF A STADIUM!!!!!!!!
Also, why does the snare drum all of the sudden on all these old recordings NOW sound like Neil's new paper thin raspy digitally reverbed snare of the last 5 years??????? Absurd.
The audio portion of at least the "Exit Stage Left" disc borders on idiocy nearly to the extent of the re-recordings/remixing of Ozzy's "Blizzard of Ozz", "Diary of a Madman", and "Bark at the Moon".
Alex Lifeson, while a fun and credible guitarist, absolutely SUCKS at audio engineering.
I wholeheartedly HATE the destruction of one of the best sounding live Rush shows in history. The original VHS sound of the opening of "Limelight" is aural bliss at its most emotional. Now its gone.
Some people have NO clue. And I'm P***ED.
Ged's tone on Limelight (especially during the guitar solo as well) has been my ultimate benchmark tone for YEARS....just a perfect combination of midrange, distortion, attack, "singy-ness" and thickness...and while its still recognizable, its definitely been toned down. Its buried, with more 40hz added, the midrange attack has been softened, reverb has been added, the digital clipping extra loud maxed out volume squashes everything, and surprisingly Alex's guitar tone is bordering on the mushiness associated with Rio and R30. Its gotta be HARD to purposely destroy such a great sounding recording.
I always preferred the hard, "in your face" sound of the VHS ESL to the original CD's since the CD, while great, was a bit sterile. The VHS was more substantial, similar to All the World's A Stage. But, no more.
At least we know for sure now who is resposible for the murky muddy mixes of Rush's output for the last several years...Alex. People hold him up to be a god and praise his audio work ONLY because "Alex did it", but people with open minds will realize that the best aspects of the sound of the original Terry Brown classic mix have been digitized, reverb-ized, 90's-ized, and absolutely murdered.
Well, I don't mean to imply that it sounds AS BAD as say, Rush in Rio, but the characteristics are absolutely there, the most prominent being the mud and the sizzly digital clipping. Even my mom (I'm visiting her as she recently had a stroke) said while walking past the TV, "That doesn't sound too good, its all jumbled up...there's no clarity." Which further illustrates the point, since ALL Terry Brown Rush mixes are notable for the absolute clarity and definition of all instruments, lack of mud, "in your face" dryness, 70's thickness, and of course not the slightest hint of digital clipping Pro-Tools distortion.
I mean c'mon...if most people here found out that say, "Hemispheres" was going to be remastered, they would absolutely cry "HERESY!!!!!!!" But, if they found out that Alex was remastering it, suddenly you'd read posts such as, "The new mix is great...Alex did a great job...you can hear everything better...the new mix rocks" just because ALEX did it (ie, ruined it).
YOU DON'T F*** WITH CLASSIC RECORDINGS MADE BY ONE OF THE BEST ENGINEERS OF ALL TIME. BTW, the Grace Under Pressure video was the last mix that Broon did for Rush. Guess it wasn't good enough for old Alex. Would you trust Ringo to remaster George Martin's work on Abbey Road or Sgt. Pepper's??? I think not. They tried that by ridding "Let It Be" of Phil Spector's mix and re-releasing "Let It Be...Naked" and it totally sucked. But of course there are the idiots out there who love it because they are subliminally told to by their lack of their own ability to articulate, judge, and observe.
The video quality of ESL is not good. Not nearly as good as an original VHS copy. It is FULL of artifacts due to the DVD format trying to compress a subpar original. The problem with the DVD format is that when you try to encode a "grainy" analog signal without first cleaning up the analog source, the DVD compression algorithms "don't know" what to do as they can't differentiate the graininess, which leads to mosquito noise and blocking wherever the original exhibited the slightest bit of grain. VHS resolution by its very nature however hides this, and the grain is not noticed...for analog graininess merely shows up as smears, whereas the DVD format transfers the "smeariness" to digital blocks. But, its VERY bad on ESL...some pictures actually turn cartoonish, similar to "Max Headroom" from the early 80's. If you have a DVD recorder and have ever set it to record at any setting longer than 2 hours, then you have an exact idea of what this DVD looks like. I'm absolutely sure that if you had an original good condition VHS of this show and recorded it at XP or SP onto a stand-alone DVD recorder you'd get absolutely 100 percent better video AND audio quality (due to the original mix and the ability to record uncompressed PCM in XP mode on DVD recorders). As a matter of fact, I will do this with my original copy and get rid of this remaster because I hate it with a passion. Everything I loved about the original has obviously been discarded, and the sad part is that those responsible for the production of this DVD don't even know what those qualities were that made the original a classic milestone.
I'm not implying NOT to get the DVD set...get it.
If you think my point is a TAD overblown, that is understandable due to some peoples lack of perception detail and furthermore some people's mentality that they just don't care. BUT, if you can't HEAR my point (as it is painfully obvious at first listen) then please post an intelligent response rather than, "Alex's mix rocks" or "I love the new audio mix" as it clearly illustrates a lack of appreciation or realization of the genious of the audio SOUND of Rush's recordings through 1982.
My point is to capture and PRESERVE the ORIGINAL tone, whether I "liked" it or not. I, personally, like the flatter, less distorted tone of the original; while not Alex's "best" tone (subjective) as it is a bit processed, it was what it was, and fits the era perfectly. I find it unacceptable to all of the sudden have a more modern guitar sound inserted in such an old classic recording. While I'm not saying that the guitar sound on ESL is NEARLY as much of a downstep as everything else in the mix, I believe its the added digital clipping overload sizzle that makes the guitar sound more buzzy. For instance, if someone prefers the sound of say, a Peavey 5150 guitar amp from a death metal band in the late 90's (I don't personally, but it has its PLACE for some types of music) that does NOT mean you should digitally remix Alex's guitar from 1981 through said Peavey 5150 amp because you "like its tone better".
Recordings of the 70's were notable because they captured the original sound of actual bands, even while thickening and fattening up the overall mix during mastering and mixing. It was difficult to actually ruin stuff no matter how flat the final outcome might have been from some bands. But, you could ALWAYS tell what the original guitaritsts' or bassists' tones SOUNDED like as if you were actually there. Nowadays, the idea of preserving the original tones of the instruments and amps has been thrown out the window (hell, Geddy doesn't even USE an amp anymore) since everything is recorded, altered, and usually, destroyed by someone who hasn't a clue with a computer.
I think Alex honestly can't HEAR the digital sizzling clipping. Once again see my original post to point it out to yourself if you THINK you can't hear it. Like Vapor Trails, it is as LOUD or LOUDER than the music itself.
Another thing...the cymbals are so massively digitally overloaded that they are indistinct and completely overpowering.
Or, try this...take your SPDIF digital output from your DVD player and run it into a standalone minidisc deck (too bad those never really caught on) or a CD recorder and look at the input levels...even with settings at unity gain (0 db) they are PEGGED at "overload" with NO variation whatsoever. (At my parents' house one of the DVD players digital output feeds the MD recorder directly.) You have to back off nearly 10 dB (!!!!) before the "overload" indicator goes out. My portable 12volt TV/DVD combo in my travel trailer won't even PLAY the Replay, R30, or Rio discs because of the massive overloading....the speakers start to actually RATTLE at ANY volume because of the inherent digital clipping; it just can't handle it for some reason.
But, to the original point regarding Alex's guitar sound. I HATE his tone since Vapor Trails. Listen to his tone on "Limelight" on Rio. You cannot GET any worse than that. Sounds like a completely blown up Crate amp with holes in the speakers with the cabinet turned toward a giant wall of pillowcases filled with wet flour. Alex used to be the master of definition with complex chords played with tons of distortion while still being distinct. He is now the polar opposite. So, while I prefer a more ATWAS type of "in your face" full, thick guitar tone, I wouldn't want ESL to be remixed with that tone because my overall point is to PRESERVE THE ORIGINAL TONE with the UTMOST CLARITY.
I wholeheartedly disagree with you that losing Geddy's BEST Rick tone and Neils classic warm snare sound is acceptable to get a more modern subjectively "better" guitar tone.
The sound of these DVD's completely exemplifies my thinking of modern recording techniques and the destruction of the art form of thick/punchy/fat/dry/realistic recordings. But, more and more bands (even if you don't like the bands or music) are getting the SOUND of the recordings better in regards to dryness and LACK of emptiness such as QOTSA's "Songs For The Deaf" or Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" (a different type of music, but recorded GREAT), or The Mars Volta's "Francis the Mute". These recordings are at least dry and "in your face", even if you hate the music. At least a minor step in the right direction.
OK, I need to clear a few things up. I'm still saddened and disheartened by the destruction of ESL, and discouraged by some people who are ignorant to the fact of how horrendous these concerts are mixed. Its so simple to hear when doing a comparison...but, first things first.
I never said to NOT get Replay. Yes, its good and cheap, its packaged decently (although I hate the discarding of the original artwork on the box, but hey....the powers that be that produced this couldn't give a F* about that) and overall, just for the sake that it is early Rush, its worth it. Especially for those too lazy to find good original copies of the original versions. So, please stop bumping and repeating the facts that it is a good deal. I agree.
I just tried to rewatch these DVD's today. I could stomach GUP, but the immense full bandwidth distortion is appalling. I honestly don't like mixes like the original "Show of Hands" due to the late 80's style of massive reverb and an overall 'emptiness" but what amazes me about the DVD is the fact that they were able to make it about 100 times WORSE. I mean, although I LOVE Geddy's (original) recorded Rick tone, I always liked the snappy twangy in your face Wal tone as well. Well, needless to say, on SoH it is GONE as well. How can you bury something so effectively? I mean, its HARD to create a mishmosh of noise out of an originally clear recording (even if it was reverby and empty). I nearly couldn't stand it. Neil does a drum roll, and you can't make out what he's doing. The bass parts to "Time Stand Still" and "Territories" used to slam in your face. Now they are a rumbly reverby hard to hear mess. I hate it. Not to mention the intense cluttered buzzing distortion on EVERYTHING. I won't watch this DVD again.
Then, I tried to watch ESL again. I couldn't stand it. So distorted, only a faint distant whisper of Geddy's Rick, immense distortion, and the worst snare sound I've heard from ANYTHING in the 80's. Listen to "Red Barchetta" on Chronicles if you don't have an original ESL VHS tape...beautiful, thick, punchy, in your face dry snare drum. It sounds like a DRUM. Then, listen to the new version. The snare sounds like its off down a hall through a tunnel by itself. Its all thin and crispy. When Neil does the roll right after "adrenaline surge" you cannot even HEAR what he's doing; the sound of the rolls on the snare are simply covered up with mud. HOW CAN ANYONE PREFER THIS???? This concert sounds almost as bad as RIO...like I told someone who emailed me, I honestly believe that Rush in person right now in 2006 probably sounds MUCH closer to the Rush of 1980 than we think due to forced confusion imposed on us by the horrible recent recordings of the band. I mean, if they can take a masterpiece like ESL and make it sound as bad as RIO...what's to stop us from assuming that standing on stage with Rush when they filmed R30 didn't sound 100 times better than the DVD??? If they can make ESL sound terrible then the master tapes of RIO's raw tracks can be made to sound great. Of course, not by Alex.
And also, don't give me this crap of "They didn't have good audio technology then." This is such a misinformed idiotic cop-out that when someone says it you can instantly realize that you can't give them any credible debate. The originals sound great (well, maybe not SoH as it was mixed in an era when reverb was "in" but its still not an injustice) and no one ever complained about the sound of the ESL or GUP videos. EVERY recording of Rush through 1984 sounds better than ANYTHING they did after recording wise. So don't go on the rants about the technology being better. Sure, its EASIER now....easier to F* up. But, like someone else posted, it was HARD to make a recording sound bad in the 70's and early 80's.
And to those telling me to "lighten up"...there have only been about 10 major emotional moving musical moments in my life that I will go to my grave with. When I think of my handful of favorite bands and "moments", the opening of "Limelight" with that Rick tone has always been one of them. To have it viciously murdered with no respect or realization of the genius of the original sound of the recording, only to be replaced with what most here agree is a TERRIBLE sounding recording/mixing style (RIO and Vapor Trails "Wall of Mud" style) just kills me. And then to have Rush fans SUPPORT it, well, it just makes me real sad.
Your not being fair to this band. My own personal feelings on this subject are, anything after Test For Echo is GBH of the ear hole, Its nasty and not thought out, its not music its just crap. I think its been a case of the fans have waited long enough for an album after Neil's lives lost and went into a recording studio and threw Vapour Trails together and gave it a typical Rush album name, clever and quirky, and the fans ran to buy it since it was there first there album in ages. Then the it was the usual live album with song we've all heard before, more money in the pot, then Feed back, well covered past hits and good on the olde ear-hole. The latest offering yet another comp album with songs we've all heard before live albums seem to be Rush direction maybe because they know Vapour Trails is pure crap in a cd box, and ran out of ideas, so either the next one is yet another live one or a split, for I feel they are like Metallica running out of ideas and material, give it up lads, you've had your run, let some new bands take the Limelight for a change.
The other album before Test For Echo are of Rush quality except Presto a few good tracks on that, they had a sound all to themselves different and fresh now its lost. 30 years is a brilliant run for a band now days, maybe they should concentrate on solo projects, lets see what they can do on there own, Victor and My fav headache were excellent but you still know its a Rush thing with them and listening to My Fav.. You know who does most of the music for the lyric's for Rush, but not in a bad way.
Anyway I've prattled on long enough.
Add your thoughts?
Snakes & Arrows - Atlantic 2007
So record reviewers can eat a dick. If tripe's good enough for my son, it's good enough for Eric Weisbard.
Snakes & Arrows is the latest entry in Rush's "Predictably Consistent Collection Of Mature Electric Guitar-Driven Rock Songs" series that began with Counterparts 14 years ago. Like its predecessors, it never explodes with manic energy or technical musicianship; it's just a collection of solid, mostly well-written midtempo rock songs. The songwriting is still quite creative, with Lifeson contributing lots of slightly unorthodox chord sequences and emotion-tinged arpeggios. Guitar tones aplenty also abound, from high-pitched ringing to distorted fuzz-metal to folky acoustic to sustain-crazy gorgeousness, all piled up to make you shake your head in wonder that this band was at one point keyboard-focused.
My only complaint with the record - and it's one that singlehandedly made me drop the grade from an 8 to a 7 - is a surprisingly high percentage of really dopey-sounding hard rock parts. With such a strong collection of dramatic, mature chord sequences on the record, the recurring corny 'tough guy' licks stick out like a mid-'80s thumb. Opening track "Far Cry" is a perfect example. The warm, longing chorus and bridge are pop-rock classicry, but the macho two-note verse riff is embarrassing! Ditto the Black Sabbath rip in "The Main Monkey Business," the faux-tense finger-drops in "The Way The Wind Blows," the funk-rock chorus of "We Hold On," and the Miami Vice bass-and-ROOOOOOCK attack of "Malignant Narcissism" (which would make a hilarious Trans Am track, but you just know Rush is taking it seriously). But aside from these too-oft-around segments, Snakes & Arrows is a darned strong release for our favorite Canadian old people.
A few other quick notes I wanted to mention but couldn't seem to fit into a paragraph:
- I love that "woo woo woo woo" thing in the bridge of "Far Cry." But what the hell is it? A guitar? A synth? A voice? A termite burrowing into my eardrum?
- "The Larger Bowl" is sorta Mellencampy! Meaning it's really short and keeps whipping its dick out at Farm Aid.
- Alex's guitar instrumental "Hope" is medieval-y! Like something Steve Howe or Jimmy Page would play! In fact, that's how he got the title - by combining the names "Howe" and "Page" and then dropping the "Wage" part because he's in it for the music, not the money. In fact, they don't publicize this, but Alex Lifeson actually lives in a tent on the roof of a K-Mart. If somebody could add that to his Wikipedia entry, that'd be great. Thanks in advance!
- The verse of "Bravest Face" has some great weirdass thwunk-thwunk acoustic chords that sound like they're coming from a guitar they found in the toilet, but Geddy ruins the effect by performing the lyrics in an overconfident sing-songy melody mixed about 800 billion times louder than the guitar. Thanks for nothing, Geddy, the guy who ruins everything.
On the lyrics jib, most of the words seem to just be about perservering through the slings and buttons that life throws at you, but a few get more specific about the War On Terror and the problems that erupt when people take their religions too seriously, and how if you believe in God you're a stupid asshole, Neil Peart's always talking about that, the original lyrics to "Faithless" were "Hay you stupid Jesus pricks, my Canadian pud could use a few licks" and then you can hear him taking a shit on the Pope's face, but Atlantic made him take it out.
Rush = Sellouts. Remember when they were doing it for the kids, on tiny little local labels? Now they're charging like 15 bucks for a concert! I'll stick with Burton "D.I.Y." Cummings thanks.
Well yes, I realize he's only "D.I.Y." because nobody will come within 50 feet of his smarmy mustachioed ass but my point stands.
'Snakes & Arrows is the latest entry in Rush's "Predictably Consistent Collection Of Mature Electric Guitar-Driven Rock Songs" series that began with Counterparts 14 years ago.' is dead on.
Speaking of dogs. I just got back from vacation. I somehow managed to have conversations with the boarding kennel while at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and then at Bryce Canyon, which mostly consisted of them saying "he isn't moving around as much as he used to we think he has serious problems" and me responding "he's almost 13 f'ing years old - he doesn't move around a lot anymore."
Rush is the same way. Snakes and Arrows doesn't really move that far from their more recent albums.
"Spindrift" is easily the best song they have had since at least Counterparts. "The Main Monkey Business" is the best instrumental they have had since "YYZ". I love the way that it echoes the earlier songs on the album. "Hope" is also great because it doesn't sound like a Rush song - I can't think of another song I can say that about in their whole catalog! I like "Malignant Narcissism". It's amazing that they cranked out 3 good instrumentals when they haven't had 3 good ones in the past 25 years.
The problems though are "Workin' Them Angels" which sounds like a song that wasn't good enough to make Presto. I swear they have heard the intros to "Workin' Them Angels" and "The Larger Bowl" several times already. I absolutely can't stand "The Way the Wind Blows" with its' Eric Clapton riffs and Geddy's worst singing since he tried Rap ("Roll Your Bones").
7 is a fair score and it is their best album since Counterparts. I know it will end up with the fate of all post-"Hold Your Fire" Rush albums - I'll listen for a while and then get bored with it and will rarely listen to it.
In fact, skimming through a bunch of our reader reviews on this page, I cringe at the douchey shit that we said back in fuckin 1998 or whenever it was. I prefer to think it was Josh and not me (back when we had to share one computer and email address) being the cock of the walk and schooling all the Prindle review readers on the fact that GEDDY LEE IS CANADIAN THEREFORE OF COURSE HE SPEAKS FRENCH. Turns out we didn't know what they fuck we were saying, we just thought we were right solely based on the fact that we thought it. Me and Josh together grew up with a really poisonous sense of self importance that really just made us social cripples, and it all happened because our mom told us we were child prodigies as we grew up. Now we're supposedly high functioning autistic assburgers disease retards or something, who can even keep up with bullshit modern pop psychology? And somehow because we hit our teens listening to Rush for years, Rush is involved in this, and I might even say partially to blame.
Jsohgh and I have grown up, sort of (we're older anyway) and a week ago we ripped our old Rush CDs. I gotta say I still love the weird early Police sound of the 80s era stuff, and the way it brings back memories of the mid 90s playing Final Fantasy 3 and Chrono Trigger alone in my room not talking to anyone. On the other hand, I can now fully appreciate and realize just how cheesy my old favorite band is. Just how many fucking songs are about or in some way mention DREAMERS DREAMING DREAMS and things that dreamers do or used to do when they were young dreamers? Enough with the dreamers Neeyul Pea-urt.
Your Rush review webpage to me, now, is like a memorial of a young stupid socially retarded kid that's long gone. :(
(about six months later)
Hey, here's a review of this album that's actually a review, instead of me saying OH OUR OLD COMMENTS ON THIS PAGE SURE ARE DUMB AND EMBARRASSING! Yeah I was dumb when I was 18, imagine that!
Anyway I held off on getting this, because I wanted to play out Vapor Trails, after it turns out that I still liked Rush, TO MY SURPRISE, after about 10 years of not listening to them after Test for Echo bored me. I mean even the title track to Test for Echo is cheesy, IT'S A SONG ABOUT COURT TV OOOOOOO who cares.
Anyway I like the Far Cry song. Man those guys must be huge fans of the game! I can't wait for Clockwork Angels to come out, I am sure I will love their next hit off of it, "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare."
No wait, my point was that I'm glad that it sounds like Dream Theater. Oddly enough I think that Rush has actually come back down to earth a little more in the past several years (possibly related to the tragic stuff with Neil Peart after Test for Echo). Dream Theater has skyrocketed into the great pretentious beyond, while Rush is just putting out some hard prog rock that I've been shocked to find out that I actually still like.
"Spindrift" is probably my favorite song on here though. When I look through the tracks, all I can say is that I like all of them and they all have a really cool music hook that reminds me of the old days when I'd sit alone in my room and just listen to the actual music parts of a song and it would do so much more for me than any lyrics could.
Also I now really get the problem you have with Geddy's voice, not just that it's high pitched (because I can live with that) but the occasional "too songy" inflection he does that's just goofy and will occasionally fuck up a song. I think I can tolerate it better, but I understand.
Worst Geddy Lee moments: The way he says "AND BETTER BEER" in "Territories." "Pow pow pow pounding in your temples" from the otherwise great "The Enemy Within." The end of "Back in the Village" by Iron Maiden that ruins an otherwise decent song OH WAIT THAT'S NOT RUSH. But yeah also parts of "Bravest Face" and how he sings that, although I still really like that song. AND SOME OTHER GOOFY SHIT LIKE THAT I DUNNO I'm not gonna spend like 5 hours writing this fuckin email.
‘Far cry’ starts with stomping chords similar to those at the end of Jacob’s ladder, and is immediately followed by the long, chiming guitar chord which crops up a lot on the track ‘Hemispheres’.
The guitar melody at the start of ‘We hold on’ is almost the same as the ‘Alien Shore’ verse guitar.
Most of the simple, but very effective riff which drives ‘Spindthrift’ can be found within the synthesizer melody a minute into ‘Tai shan’.
The acoustic guitar on the verse of ‘Amor & sword’ reminds me of the guitar melody near the start of ‘The Necromancer’.
The intro to ‘The larger bowl’ is the little brother of the intro to ‘Primer mover’!
That said, I think this is a genuine return to form for Rush following the disappointing ‘Vapor Trails’, with ‘Workin’ them angels’, ‘Spindthrift’ and ‘Bravest face’ being particularly memorable.
Also, I'm STILL listening to this motherFUCKin cockSUCKin album. I think it's because it's like Dream Theater if Dream Theater were actually somehow less pretentious (how is that even POSSIBLBLBLB!!!!!!!!!!!?). Like it has that hard rock sorta metal sound, but with Geddy Lee's vocals, better melodies, better drumming, and over 30 years of production and musicianship behind them. Usually this wouldn't matter, but I think all that time off they took between Teh for Ekow and Slaper Tales actually gave them a lot of time to grow as musicians. "The Way the Wind Blows" is yet another song about religious extremism and I love it. For some reason just the name of "Malignant Narcissism" got lodged in my mind, I couldn't figure it out until I looked it up, and found out that it's a reference to one of my favorite movies, Team America: World Police (the spoken word part is literally ripped from Lisa in the movie). "Bravest Face" and "Good News First" are another of those semi gospel kinda songs in my mind, maybe because of the relation of the time I heard this album with Exile on Main Street, but I think these songs would've been massively improved by an actual choir, sometimes I listen to these songs thinking "if this had some other vocals other than Geddy's these would be fuckin freaky. But I think some more about it and personally I think Geddy has a great voice, it's just really high pitched. Sometimes I'd like to hear some real serious covers of their Vapor Trail/Snakes and Arrows era. At the same time, I think they fuckin nail it on their own.
The world should give you props for building one of the first Web 2.0 whatever the fuck websites, with integrated comments and all that shit. You did/do it all manually, when many websites have it built into fucking CSS code or whatever bullshit. I remember back in the days when, if you had some complex code you needed to include into a website, you had to copy and paste it from a text file, or some fuckin ghsit like that. Purdnil Q. Magillicunty does not get enough legit world cred from that I think. One day I'm going to dedicate a shitty story to you my friend. Or maybe not, maybe we'll all be lost in the ether of the old late 90s style internet.
I'm looking forward to Clockwork Angels. I have not looked forward to an album released by any band in years (except for Black Ice by AC/DC, which surprised me by being pretty fucking good). Your website actually helps me in album purchase decisions these days, when album purchasing is obsolete. Now I really do feel old, and to be honest I don't even mind that much. All hail the new flesh.
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Snakes & Arrows Live - Anthem 2008
"HOLY PILES OF FUCK FUCKING A DICK WITH SHIT ON ITS COCK!!!!" I exclaimed upon opening my brand new copy of Snakes & Arrows Live and learning that it was a mere DOUBLE-live-CD. I have no tolerance for laziness, and this took the cook. Were the band members finally feeling the physical effects of their advanced ages (Geddy=54, Neil=15, Alex=802)? Or were these blink-and-you-missed-it two-hour concerts just another cynical rip-off of today's 'younger, dumber and filled with lumber' generation? Nobody will ever know the true reason, but one thing's for certain: Rush has released 8 live discs in the past 10 years.
Give it a rest, guys. If you're just going to play live renditions that sound exactly like the studio versions (which you are), then WE DON'T NEED AN AUDIO DOCUMENT OF THEM.
And please forward this message to the Rolling Stones if you could.
Recorded at the "Chips" Ahoy Arena in "What a Fuckin'" Rotterdam, Nether"Regions"lands on October 16-17 2007, Snakes And Arrows Live features: one song each from 2112, Hemispheres, Hold Your Fire and Roll The Bones; two each from Signals, Grace Under Pressure and Vapour Trails; four each from Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures; and (hence the CD title) an astounding and unnecessary NINE from Snakes & Arrows. Sure, it's a good album and all but if I wanted to hear it in its near-entirety, I'd, well, PUT IT ON.
The band plays plenty of great songs, Geddy's voice sounds delightfully low and unannoying, and the recording is excellent. However, I must express discontent with three minor aspects of the work, if only to better explain my number grade of 7:
(1) By favoring so much newer material, the set list quickly begins to feel bogged down with 5-minute midtempo 'mature' rock songs. Come on Neil Peart bust out into a D-beat every once in a while, Geddy won't care.
(2) Geddy is clearly sick to death of singing the old classics, and acts out by slurring key phrases (ex. "Limelight"'s 'Those who wish to be....' chorus becomes 'Thohoowithabeeee....') and completely half-assing the usually phenomenal "The Spirit of Radio." Or maybe he was trying to conserve his energy for such timeless crowd pleasers as "Mission" and "The Way The Wind Blows" (yeah more like "The Way The SONG Blows" if you a
(3) What the hell is "Circumstances" doing on here? I could write a better song than that with my dick, provided I'd had a protein shake to 'replenish my ink' beforehand.
I like Rush. I even like this double-live CD. But there is absolutely, positively no reason for it to exist.
No wait hang on there's a drum solo!
In conclusion, I hope they tour in support of this live album and then five years from now release a triple-live-CD entitled Snakes & Arrows Live Live, and then just follow this pattern over and over until they're all like 112 years old and their latest release has eleven Lives in the title.
If Rush were me, they'd pull all kinds of crazy bankrupting antics like that.
Cant say i have any desire to hear Snakes and Arrows live, since Snakes and Arrows was a step down from Vapor Trails imo, and even Test for Echo and Counterparts actually. Still, it's cool that they're still around. Maybe i'll even get around to seeing them live some day, which i should, since i have like 10 of the 18 regular albums...
A live album isnt a real album anyway.
I'm sorry, Neil. You're a nice man and I totally applaud how earnest you are. Not a hint of irony at all! Which automatically makes you less annoying than more than a few modern bands I could mention that I don't think have any actual emotions at all (and make fun of those who do), nor any brains to make up for it. Hey, even WEEN is serious about what they do. The point is not "everything is fake so fuck it." Assholes.
CHEERS FROM THE WALLEYE CAPITAL OF THE PLANET AND WHERE RUSH RULES OVER ALL.
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