Featuring Geddy "Crapvoice" Lee.
*special introductory paragraph!
*Not Fade Away 7"
*Fly By Night
*Caress Of Steel
*All The World's A Stage
*A Farewell To Kings
*Permanent Waves
*(Keith Davis Reviews) Retrospective I
*Moving Pictures
*Exit...Stage Left
*Grace Under Pressure
*Power Windows
*Hold Your Fire
*(Keith Davis Reviews) Retrospective II
*A Show Of Hands
*(Keith Davis Reviews) Chronicles
*Roll The Bones
*Test For Echo
*Different Stages: Live
*Vapor Trails
*In Rio
*Feedback EP
*Snakes & Arrows
*Snakes & Arrows Live
Oh, Rush. Scourge of a nation. Murderer of a generation. Defamer of the eras. What is it with Rush, eh? You either love 'em or you hate 'em, right? Sure sure. It makes it easier to categorize them like that and not bother discussing their good points and bad. But dammit, I'm not an easy man. I'm a hard man. And I'm here to set the record (my own personal opinion) straight on Rush.

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
Rating = 5

Because I'm always on the lookout for ways to help today's young people fail where I succeeded, I just came up with an excellent 'hilarious gag' to play on the first day of the school year. Does your high school have an "ESOL" class? As in "English for Speakers of Other Languages" (EFSOOL)? It probably does, what with all the Foreigners they're letting into the United States these days. So on the first day of school, go sit in this class, with all the Mexicans. When the teacher asks what you're doing there, answer in proper English, "My good miss, I don't understand your question. Why do you ask such of me?" When she responds, "Because this is an English class for speakers of other languages!," here's when you do the 'hilarious gag.' Without smiling, raise one eyebrow and say, "English is my second language. My first language is Ssssssssssssex." Because none of the Chinamen in the class will understand what you're saying, you can then run out of the class crying and tell the principal the teacher tried to molest you. Then she'll get fired while you sit back and rake in the pussy!

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*)

Reader Comments
Well, I too enjoy side 1. However, John Nutsack shows that he is about 2 steps below Elma Dee on the bad drumming scale. Side two, OMG, is worse than Geddy's infamous rapping. I think Lifeson was passed out drunk and they got some spare to replace him. I don't think Alex could play that bad if he tried and don't get me started on that failed attempt of Led Zeppelin at the end.

Add your thoughts?

Rush - Mercury 1974.
Rating = 6

Apparently Rush used to be teenaged balls-to-the-wall screamin' rock and rollers! Unfortunately, they not only steal more riffs than Led Zeppelin - they steal FROM Led Zeppelin! And Black Sabbath... And etc. etc. "Take A Friend" sounds like "Whole Lotta Love" performed by The James Gang, "What You're Doing" is a blatant 'homage' to "Behind The Wall Of Sleep" (I think that's the one - compare them and let me know), and the redneck rocker "In The Mood" HAS to be a Molly Hatchet cover or something. It even has a cowbell!

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.

Reader Comments (Neptune Salad)
NO! You should know better to appreciate Rush alot more since they defined Rock and Roll in the godawful Disco 70's. Because of Rush, the working man got an anthem.

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. (Keith Davis)
Other than that atrociously ugly artwork on the cover. Several problems are found here. No signature sound. No Neil Peart. Simplistic lyrics. Too Much filler!!! Only two great songs, "Here Again," and "Working Man" and one great intro---"Before And After." The screeching vocals prevent excellence. The band sounds too much like the worst of "Led Zeppelin." This is an album which is not "art-rock." I give it a four. (David Straub)
Yeah, Rob Halford came out. Ram it down! (Douglas Swalen)
I'll never buy an album for just one song. Well not anymore. I  think. So I won't buy this for "Working Man" even though I really like the song. Nobody has brought up the theory that UFO ripped off Rush pretty badly in the 70's. Change the riffage on "Working Man", speed up the tempo, and you've got "Rock Bottom".
There was a group of  mid 70's bands that had this kind of guitar heavy (to a fault) sound. This wasn't Led Zepplin knock off territory. This was a pre-cursor of 80's Heavy Metal. UFO, Rush, Montrose, Scorpions and others were all slashing away with heavy power chords and a production style that was eerily similar in tone. It couldn't be dismissed as Black Sabbath territory either. It was it's own species.
Yes Rob finally came out. I've known about him for over a decade. A friend of mine was living in Phoenix and Rob hung out in Scottsdale Az. My firend was in a rock club one night and the bartender and him were talking metal. The bartender metioned that Halford came in there from time to time and that he definately danced on the other side of the tracks.
here rush sound like what they are- a young, regional band playing originals inspired by their influences: zeppelin, cream, purple, mountain. no real "art" to speak of yet, but slow to mid tempo hard rock with some nice lifeson guitar. many deride the album as derivative and not reflective of rush's loftier ambitions; i enjoy cranking a song or three, then my interest wanders. still, i'm glad rush released at least one basic heavy rock album.
listen to it again (H.V.C.)
Ok... it's been almost a year, and I've finally listened to this entire album.

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. (Alex R.)
IMO, this is not their debut album. To me Fly By Night is their debut because Neil Peart is in it. But this album is like a jam session ( like 3 guys jammin in the basement). Too much Zep and Cream worship. I give it a 6. But " Working Man " kicks ass!!!!.
A quite messy affair. Neil's not in the band yet, so the songwriting is far less technical than in the future and Geddy's lyrics are...not good. Way too much Zeppelin worship, especially on opener "Finding My Way", but at least it's enthusiastic. "Working Man" is a good one though, with a really nice jam section in the middle. All in all not a bad album, but nothing more than that. I give it a 6. (Ian Buonamici)
Where it all began; three greasy, zit-faced (observe the width of that goiter-like growth on the Gedster) Canucks tearing it up in their momma's basement. No frills here, just old time rock and roll (er, old time to a kid who came of age in the late 80's age of Axl)l this album never ceases to bring a smile to my face, hell some parts of it even make me laugh my bloody arse off (Need Some Love, the "Ooh Yeah" parts of Findin' My Way, In The Mood), On a very few occasions, the inklings of a tear from in my eye also, as Rush flrts with the almost folk-like pretty sound that will become perfected over the next several releases (the opening chords to Before And After). Certainly not an emotional roller coaster ride, and definitely not an intellectual masterpiece (again, two things that will be perfected over the next several releases), this is simply a fun, hook filled romp through lots of 70's cliches performed by three young dudes who obviously spent some time in the woodshed with their respective weapons. Heck, Working Man is one of my least favorite songs on here and it still cracks! A bit too bloozey for my tastes, but it featues some fine playing and hell, everybody else like's it so their must be something good about the song. (The live version on All The World's A Stage makes this version nonexistent on my playists though) Personal faves would be the ever-so-happy vibed Take A Friend (with a KILLER intro!) the somber to kick-ass feel of Before and After, and the Sabbath sludge meets Zep swagger of What Your'e doing, I give this one a solid 8/10 that nobody with a remoted interest in 70's hard rock should be dissapointed with. Oh, and John Rutsey is diabetic, so send your royalties!!!
Not a great debut ,but hell ,not that bad either,the best is yet song-----Of course,WORKING MAN. (Madd Hunter)
Rush is a hard rocker like "Zeppelin IV" or 5150. The least experimental Rush album. Not as good as the others. However "Here Again" is one of the best songs ever written. Period. (James Welton)
I've never heard this album and don't much like Rush, but I wanted to point out to Doug Swalen that it would've been awfully hard for UFO to rip off Rush when they wrote "Rock Bottom" since both songs came out in 1974. As for any apparent similarity between the two bands, I just don't hear it if for no other reason than UFO's vocalist, Phil Mogg, has a strong, engaging voice and Geddy Lee has a voice not unlike the wailing of a gassy infant. Further, I can't imagine that Rush ever wrote a song that kicks as much ass as "Rock Bottom," but since I'm only familiar with the drivel that made it onto the radio or that my drugged-out idiot friends made me listen to, I couldn't say for sure. I just find it unlikely. (Akis Katsman)
I give this album an 8/10. I like all the songs here, although only 'Working Man' stands out. 'Here Again' is one of the most underrated Rush songs, I dig it, especially the bass. Geddy Lee was, is and always will be the definite rock bassist. And 'Take A Friend' has a very cool riff. Lots of Rush fans hate this album because it doesn't sound like their classic 'prog' albums (Moving Pictures, for example). But if you like hard rock a la Led Zeppelin, buy it.
I wonder what this first album would be like if there played Neil Peart. The third element.
"Finding My Way" and " Here Again" are great songs, John Rutsey's drumming was pedestrian and lyrics written by 10 years old fossil-like. Not amazing.
5 points on 0-10 rushometer scale. (Adam)
I definitely agree with you on this one. Though there is too much Zeppelin worship going on here, most of the songs are pretty good; certainly not the best they’ve ever done, but still a fun listen. And yes, Rob Halford does smoke pole. Looking back at some of their album titles (Ram it Down, Point of Entry), it seems so obvious Now!
Although this is a rockin' album, I'm glad Rush's songwriting vastly matured following this release, thanks to Peart. 6/10
this site is too much fun. i write a bit more serious reviews than the rest of you guys. i am very enthusiastic and even creative and original, but you guys are letting me see that you can tell jokes and and use all sorts of ribbing and humor and still get your point across. and boy do i like to be funny. i'll be joining in the fray more. rush was one of my top favorite bands during those all important high school years, little feat, bob seger and lynyrd skynyrd was the top of the heap for me then. skynyrd every day. anyhow, rush is not for everybody. boy can they play. haven't read the review for all the worlds a stage yet but i remember i loved lifeson's huge guitar. and in high school you liked any huge guitar sound you ever heard.

Add your thoughts?

Fly By Night - Mercury 1975.
Rating = 7

Drummer and Hobbit fan Neil Peart has joined the band, and within seconds it's clear that his percussion skills blow his predecessor out of the water and/or drumkit. Man, he is TIGHT! Suddenly Rush could do prog-style syncopated herky-jerk things that would befuddle a marijuana-head 4/4 long-hair skinsman. Skinsman! Hey! It's a Skinsman! What do you do for a living? Why, I'm a Skinsman, of course! (tappity-tappity-tappity-RIIIIP "AUUGHGH!!")

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?

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
5. Neil Peart's first album with the band. An improvement in overall structure, better songwriting overall. "Fly By Night" is a great song. "Rivendell" is too tediously boring!! "By-Tor and The Snow Dog" is ok. "In The End" is not terrible. "Beneath, Between & Behind" is ok. Rush is moving toward art-rock.
peart's first is a big leap forward lyrically. a snowy album cover and "by-tor and the snow dog" combine to give this album more of a 'great white north' feel, indicative of a canadian band forging an identity and not content merely to ape zeppelin (as so many accused them of on their 1st lp). some longer songs and lighter moments add variety. (Keith Jones)
Rush's "Fly By Night" is the best pop song rush ever wrote. Period. (H.V.C.)
A huge change with Neil in the band. Every song on here is fantastic. By Tor & Snowdog is a great introduction to Geddy's and Alex's talents, the two guitars playing off each other, with Neil on effects in the middle.

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
Anthem kicks ass. First signs of Geddy's virtuosity. (Clay Butler)
I dig Rivendell. It's about the Hobbit (Alex R)
This is a much better improvement than the first one due to the fact that they picked up the best drummer ever, known as Neil Peart. Let me just say that since I have the remastered CD, this whole album sounds great!. The first 6 tracks rule but " Rivendell " pretty much sucks!. But don`t worry, the album closes with a terrific song called " In The End " , this song also has a terrific guitar solo. Alex Lifeson kicks ASS!!. So 9/10 for this one since it`s the remastered version.
Enter Neil Peart and the music is much more mature and advanced. And the hokey lyrics are for the most part gone. "Anthem" and "Beneath, Between, & Behind" both rock hard. The title track is a pleasant little pop ditty, but more complicated than your average mid 70s radio rock hit. "In the End" starts slow, but picks up towards the middle and the second half is quite admirable. In all, a pretty good album, but beforewarned "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" is fucking embarassing, the boys didn't have the art of the epic down quite yet. This album merits a 7.
I remember a song called ANTHEM and who could forget FLY BY NIGHT (turn on the radio,it's probably playing) but other than that..... (James Welton)
If only the song "Fly By Night" had been the capstone to a long and storied career. Instead, it's their best song ever with a whole bunch of long-winded blather yet to come. It was always a mystery to me how most of my friends were Rush fans. I probably got into more musical arguments about the relative merits of this band than any other, but their fans sure are loyal... and vocal.... the poor saps. Oh, and these guys can definitely play the shit out of their instruments. And since I don't think I was brought into this best of all possible worlds just to piss off Rush fans, a seriously wonderful group of people if my own experience with said fans is any indication, I will refrain from further comment on this hard-working and well-intentioned band from the north.
An improvement over their debut album, Rush, but things were only just beginning to gel. Highlights include "By-Tor", and "Anthem". 7/10
"Anthem" is the name of a short story by Ayn Rand. It's a futuristic tale where everyone is EQUAL (ooh Neil Peart's least favorite word) and everyone is governed by these Councils. This one guy creates some glass box or something that is a sort of technical innovation. He presents it to the Council and they order it to be destroyed (sounding familiar yet?). But instead, the guy jumps out the window with his box and lives happily ever after in the forest with some girl.

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. (Red)
It should be noted that while it is best to ignore Prindles facetious comments about Dungeons & Dragons, faggots, nerds, etc, it IS strange that he gripes about songs like rivendell. I thought you liked Led Zeppelin - alot of whose songs are about the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings (Misty Mountain Hop, Ramble On for example)

Add your thoughts?

Caress Of Steel - Mercury 1975.
Rating = 6

Weak production! Or mixing, or whatever. They're going for a BIG, SELF-IMPORTANT Led Zeppeliny prog sound, but there's too much space and air in the mix, so it sounds like a vanity pressing by some band that would never be heard from again. Still, once you get past this minor skin irritation, the songs aren't actually that bad at all. Unfortunato, Geddy's voice is a yelping headachey mess. He sounds about nine years old. And not all the riffs are all that hot. They certainly try, though, and that counts for something.

Something BAD!

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.

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
Rush's first concept piece. "Lakeside Park" and "Bastille Day" are great songs. "The Fountain Of Lamneth" at 19:44 is Rush's first extended suite--There is also much to recommend it. Those other songs, "I Think I'm Going Bald" and "The Necromancer" are annoying. Too much screeching on Geddy Lee's part. This is Rush's first "art-rock" album. "Caress Of Steel" is a bad title. "The Fountain Of Lamneth" is almost akin to an instrumental re-writing of "The Seven Ages Of Man," from As You Like It by William Shakespeare. Altogether, a good attempt, 6/10. This would rate a 7/10 with the "exclusion" of "The Necromancer." I hate that medieval, gothic dungeons and dragons crap!! (David Straub)
Caress of Steel is certainly competent mid-70s hard rock. The set-pieces are lyrically cheesy, but the sound is fairly impressive for a band that was still pretty low-budget at the time. "Bastille Day" and "Lakeside Park" are decent radio tunes. I'd give it a 6, much like Mark does.
Granted, this album's lyrics get a bit stupid. But this record has AMBIENCE! I love the guitar work on "No One at the Bridge". To me, this is great early Rush. It sounds as if they recorded it in the middle of the night with a never-ending supply of pot. Which of course would explain the "imaginative" lyrics.
usually regarded as a bizarre pitstop along the way to making 2112, caress of steel has, if nothing else, variety to recommend it. the manic 'i think i'm going bald' alongside the breezy 'lakeside park' and the histrionic epic 'the necromancer' combine for some pretty cool rock. overall, the album sounds incredibly obscure, naive, and adventurous today. modern bands who claim a rush influence (such as king's x, dream theater, and fate's warning) never sounded like this!
How in the world can Caress of Steel get a better rating than Fly by Night. I need to only mention one song: Best I can.
Caress of Steel is one of the best recorded albums of all time. Amazing production. You can hear everything. Are you mad that there is no 90's digital reverb there to destroy everything and cover up everything that is good on the album? And also some of the best singing since the beginning of man. Not as good as the Goat album Hammer the Chicken Machine though......thanks to Geddy for his basswork on that album! Goat has no equal......... (H.V.C.)

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
Stop bitching about bad production, just listen to the remasters. (Sean Harris)
CARESS OF STEEL is a fine record. It may not be for everybody, but the comment about The Necromancer being "bad dungeons and dragons" crap is nonesense. It was written about The Lord or the Rings. Peart's lyric writing is vastly underrated and dimissed as "cheesy", when in fact his style and apparant intelligence shine through consistently. I like Fly by Night better, but Caress is a solid album that shouldn't be ignored.

The Fountain of Lamneth bad? No way! (Alex R)
Probably their darkest record ever, but you know that song " The Necromancer " ??, it Rules!!!, that really spooky voice in the beginning, that crazy guitar solo that Lifeson does for like a minute or 2 and finally the happy part and the end of the song, how come they can`t write anymore songs like that anymore??.

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. (Nick Karn)
I really think the 'weak production' of this album actually benefits the songs here. I don't think "The Necromancer" would sound as amazingly dark and threatening as it does without it. Speaking of that song, it just rules - along with "2112", it's one of my favorite Rush tracks... I LOVE that ending section, and some of Alex's nicest shops are there. The rest of the album? "Bastille Day" is an awesome, complicated opening rocker, "Lakeside Park" is a really nice feelgood song, "The Fountain Of Lamneth" has its' gorgeous moments in its' 20 minute length, and "I Think I'm Going Bald" is somewhat silly but damn catchy and clever too. An 8 on this one as the most underrated Rush album IMO - I don't mind Geddy's voice here.
BIG step backwards here. Totally inaccessible. And though I usuallylike Geddy's voice, here it borders on grating. "Bastille Day" is quite the ass-kicking opener, but that's about it folks. Both of the suites are not good, they still haven't figured them out yet, but they will the next year. Only a 4.
Caress This! This album blows! (Scott Campbell)
I don't see why so many people are down on this record. Maybe because it's the precursor to 2112? There are a variety of moods and styles on this one and I like that. Plus The Necromancer kicks out some bad-ass jams for 1975 for Christ's sake.
A tad uneven, yet there are enough glimpses of the genius behind this great trio to keep me revisiting this disc. "Bastille Day" and "Fountain of Lamneth" are big standouts. 7/10
Let's not forget Rush released both of those albums in the same year. Caress of Steel was made during a year of touring over 200 venues. RUSH is over 50 now and are still as creative as ever. Neil's been Drummer of the universe as voted by his musician peers (as if ) for over a decade now. Alex is so damn spontaneous and aaarrrgghh he is the best just pick an album and be served with talent that takes dozens of plays to even begin to discover the intricate razor edge sound and lyrics each could be a college course for the study of awe. And Geddy is top at his game he rocks. (period) Rush can put out a studio rehearsed re-mastered sounding album IN concert night after night. They made their own sound and did it the way they wanted it to be success or not and didn't give a damn about playing songs (The Man) wanted them to, let alone their own fans. They kept it real now for over 30 years. 30 years......

Add your thoughts?

2112 - Mercury 1976.
Rating = 8

Okay, I had originally only given this one a grade of 6, but listening to it now (eight years later or however long it's been), it sounds REALLY quite solid! Though the mix is still too watery and weak to give the songs the 'oomph' they deserve, 2112 has much fewer 'eh' melodies than the first few records, even if the lyrics are boring and stupid (which they are). I'll get to those in a moment though. More importantly, there are a ton of killer guitar riffs on here - dark runs, happy licks, tough mean rock chords, beautiful folk pop, eerie jazz riffs and oodles OODLES assnoodles of gentle arpeggios. Lots of clean, undistorted, jingle plinkle guitar too, especially on side two. So don't get all freaking out and angry when your ass isn't being rocKKKed for 38 consecutive minutes.

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.

Reader Comments (David Straub)
This, along with Exit: Stage Left, was my introduction to this band. More velveeta in the conceptual lyrics, but the sound is strengthened further and is fleshed out by some fun effects. "Bangkok" is a killer tune about getting baked off your ass, and I don't agree on "Lessons"... I used to love to blast it on the car stereo. 7 or 8 up my way. (Neptune Salad)
This is a great album all around, exept for 1 scary fact. The futuristic story of "2112" (and some of the other Rush story/song concepts) is frighteningly similar to the Spinal Tap song, "Stonehenge".

But "2112" is still a great song. (Keith Davis)
Most fans' favorite album. The "2112" suite is very good, but again Geddy's screaming is tedious. "A Passage To Bangkok," "The Twilight Zone" and "Something For Nothing" are also good. "Tears" is magnificent!! "Lessons" is horrible!!!
often referred to as the first `real' rush album, many today are offput by the long title track and caterwauling vocals, not to mention the bands' stage kimonos (think decadent jedi knights); however, try to imagine how utterly idiotic Korn would look to hard rock fans in 1976. upon considering 2112, i hear a band that is confident, powerful, and possessing of an undeniable identity and vision.
Only 2112 and Bangkok are worth listening to
God, I used to think this was the greatest heavy rock album of all time. Of course, it was around the time when I was getting into classic rock (early 90s). So upon listening to it, I was blown away. The musicianship, the sheer emotion in Geddy's wailing vocals just made my insides move. BUT.. this was also BEFORE I got into the REAL classic rock bands such as Deep Purple,Nazareth,Led Zeppelin, Yes, old Aerosmith, Black Sabbath,.. and so on and I thought.. WHAT IN BLOODY HELL WAS I ON?! RUSH REALLY BLOWS!!!!

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. (Sean Harris)
That last 2112 review was low. I happen to love Rush-- but I hate trekkies. What's with the lame comparisons? (Josh Cable)
This whole album, while still only having 6 songs, is thought of as Rush's high point. And they don't really have any high points, especially early on. But yes, this whole thing is good. The 2112 sweet is awesome beginning to end, Something For Nothing kicks the ass, and then there are three somewhat questionable non-rockers that are ok/notbad.

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. (Michael Haag)
I remember getting high in college while listening to this record and falling on the floor laughing. That annoying voice. Those ridiculous lyrics. "Another toy To help destroy..." indeed (Bruce Gladstone)
mother of god , what an embarassment...

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 ???? (Sean Harris)
Nope....Ged and Alex would pen more lyrics after this record. Most notable is Lee's "Cinderalla Man" on A FAREWELL TO KINGS--on SIGNALS all three band members contributed lyrics for "Chemistry". So whatever.

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.
The one that made them stars. The side long title track is complex, loud, moving, and bombastic. Sure the lyrics are pretty cheddar and many still won't like Geddy's voice, but the music is very well written and Alex's guitar work takes no prisoners. Second side alternates between kickass rockers ("Something From Nothing", "A Passage to Bangkok") and weaker ballads ("Twilight Zone", "Tears"). The first truly good Rush album. It earns its 8, and a high 8 at that. (Cindy Wilson)
What can I say? 2112 might as well have been one of the lost books of the bible. Along with the other subsequent LPs and CDs of the great ones... headache is very good. More to come this year? (David Mirth)
2112 is perhaps Rush's most important and defining moment. They caught for themselves a cult following with the intense touring from this record.

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.
Yeah,this is the masterpiece I was talking about,I don't really even like concept albums but this one kicks ass! TEMPLES OF SYRINX is the most ass-kickin' song the band has ever recorded,although YYZ from MOVING PICTURES comes close.If you only own one album by the band,it should be this one!
Rush is for geeks, you say? The vocals are hideous? You actually gave this album a '6'. C'mon, you must have smoked some REALLY bad dope before you reviewed this one. Although A Farewell to Kings, Permanent Waves, Hemispheres, and Moving Pictures are all better overall than 2112, this is still a great album. Maybe I'm just a geek who loves hideous vocals, but I'd give it a '9'.
In the late 70's, my pal and I used to try to outdo each other with hilarious comments about how much Rush sucked. Unfortunately I did not save anything from what I now refer to as my "Chipmunk Slaying Period" and fortunately /praise jesus/ I have not had to actually *hear* Rush for decades /end praise/. So all I can say is that I recommend that everyone buy this album and embark on their own Chipmunk Slaying Period. (James Rowlee)
This 2112 has to be one of my all time favorite albums.

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. (Mike)
My god, dude this album sucks. Sure, like you said, solid guitar melodies...they're tightly played and neat-sounding, but this band...they don't have a very good flow all together. It sound like The Muppets playing Math Rock. I concede that Rush is heavily influential, and lots of wonderful bands openly admit to being heavily influenced by Rush, and I admit everyone in the band except for the singer is talented as hell, but this album, for some reason strikes me as a pathetic cheesy futuristic "sci-fi" waste of time. What are those stupid sound effects? The production is terrible! I do enjoy Bangkok and Someting for Nothing, and parts of the title track. But this album is still way too inconsistant. I never understood why anyone would praise this as a "classic"...just listen to it...they sound like their making fun of themselves.
hey prindle correct me if i'm right or worng but maybe you might review steve vai! or or joe satriani? oh man! maybe they could do a remake of 2112? awsome! hey i don't mind telling you that i'm a fucking anime freak! belive me man! it rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW YOU LIKE THE POLICE! THE RAMONES! AND PUNK STUFF! BUT I'M INTO PROG METAL! AND DID I MENTION I WAS AN ANIME FREAK? I WAS GOING TO A SITE AND SAW A SEXY BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN GREEN HAIR AND GOLDEN BIKINI WITH TIGER STRIPES!
I can't believe I haven't reviewed this one yet. The best criticism I can offer is that the whole thing is too...intentional. Like those power chords in the opening of "2112," with lots of space in between--it's like, okay, WE GET IT, y'all can count together, now move on. Or that section of the title track when he discovers a guitar ("what is this thing that I've found?"). It's all just a bit too cutesy, too self-referential, too self-conscious.

That said, the music does rule for the most part.
Geddy Lee sounds like a whiny, annoying girl. And I think that Sean Harris is a fag.
The first truly great Rush album. The beginning of a series of excellent studio releases from this talented trio... 8/10 (Jon)
I hate when hipster art rock snobs proclaim that 2112 is the greatest concept album ever. It's not a concept album! The first side is all one song, and then the back side is a bunch of random shit. That Twilight Zone song is actually cheesier than the original TV show.
I was once in an English course, we had to analyze a joke, a song or something. I thought I might as well pick a song with a plot. After I turned in my paper, the teacher told me that in a creative writing class a student turned in the same story to her as his own but she didn't know. I guess Neil's lyrics are good for something.
I was the stupid forking idiot who as 'Godranek' wrote a very blasphemous review about this album many years ago. I will tell you now, I knew not what I did.

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
Rating = 8

First of all, please let me be the last to say, "Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!" this past Monday. Many people here in the United States of Christianity don't realize that Canada celebrates Thanksgiving too, but they do. Theirs celebrates the brief stop that the Pilgrims made in Winnipeg for a Guess Who concert on their way to Plymouth Rock. So "Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!" What's this all aboot, eh? Hey, take off!

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!!!!!



"In The Mood" - Tough macho bullshit. Geddy trying to approximate what it might feel like to touch a girl (soft).


"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.


Okay, time to add 'Pedro Andino' to my list of major writing influences.


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"!!!!!!

(*commits suicide

into a rehab center; ignores martin rev's incessant bitching*)

Reader Comments

Keith David
5 out of 10. Rush's first live album. In a word, unpolished. This illustrates Rush in a point of transition between The early years, which mercifully only lasted for 3 years and the great middle period. This is a representation of Rush's live work, which is actually quite boring!!!
a cool triple gatefold album, lots of photos, and a personal message from the band. back in the days when bands lived or died by their live shows. it is important to recognize how important live albums were in the '70s (yessongs, lizzy's live and dangerous, kiss alive, purple's made in japan, priest's unleashed in the east, foghat live etc...). having said that, rush is known for playing note-for-note live renditions of their songs. they do so here, loudly! (ytf)
This is my favorite Rush live record. Vastly and unfairly frowned upon in this site (no offense Mark--great site but this Rush section almost drives me into a rage) this is such an energetic and raw sounding album. They sound great live--most people can't believe they sound that close to their recorded versions when I play it. The remaster is the best way to own it--uncut and polished up. Geddy's got the best scream I've ever heard in my life on "Anthem". It's apparant you don't like Rush that much to begin with, which is fine and certainly understandible that you aren't impressed by a live effort. But Rush fans will certainly enjoy it immensely.

I give it a ten. Exit...Stage left is just as brilliant, but I like the young sound on this one the best. (Alex R)
Hey!!, this is one hell of a terrific live record, my favorite Rush live record ( I have not heard Different Stages yet ). Most of the songs on here kick the studio versions Ass!!, like " What You`re Doing " , " Bastille Day ", " By Tor and The Snow Dog ".. the list is endless. The only bad thing about this record is that they cut parts of " 2112 ", I guess the guys didn`t feel like playing the whole thing. And this record is so Raw, I love live records like that.

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.
I think that this was the first live album I ever bought and it still sounds great today. This is right up there with Humble Pie's Fillmore, Who Live At Leeds, AC/DC If You Want Blood..., Allman Bros. Fillmore, and Skynyrds' One From The Road. They should have tacked on some extra bonus tracks when they remastered the cd. In The End is amazing still.
Pretty good, an accurate representation of their sound circa 1976. Nothing particularly bad except "By Tor and The Snow Dog", which I just don't like, and also nothing particularly outstanding, though the "Working Man/Finding My Way" combo it pretty well done. A low 7.
"By-Tor" is the tour-de-force of this release. I would've liked to hear live versions of "The Necromancer" and "The Fountain of Lamneth", instead of "In the End", "What You're Doing", etc. 7/10
okay, now i get to see the review. haven't listened to it since the high school years but reading a couple of the other reviews reminded me of the sound of lifeson's guitar. HUGE. worth it for just this. especially when he is doing some canadian version of shredding to such prog material sung by donald duck on helium(stole that one from rolling stone). but it is true. the lp has energy. guitar shredding supported by peart and lee. and man, energy is everything. this record has a fast pulse and a loud roar. where is that old piece of vinyl? make me 16 again. (Jon)
They fucked up the CD version of this - the album used to have a little bit of audio in the outro of Geddy and the guys talking to some others as they ran off stage. Did they ever fix this in the remaster? Am I going to have to buy this one three more times?
This is one of the best live albums, period. Maybe you will be able to fully appreciate it when you grow up. The band sounds almost exactly the same on stage as they do in the studio, which is a testament to them as musicians. And there has never, EVER been a better drummer than NP. Best of all time. This is a great album from a great band. Anyone who thinks otherwise is probably a Metallica fan, anyway...

Add your thoughts?

A Farewell To Kings - Mercury 1977.
Rating = 6

I originally gave this one a 5, but that's too low. Too low! The overall lyrical message is that absolute power corrupts absolutely, but that doesn't really apply to the one where the narrators fly into a black hole. The message there is probably more like 'absolute power stretches people way out then squishes them.'

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'!"

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
Rush's first great album? This album has much to recommend it--"Closer To The Heart" and Rush's magnum opus, "Xanadu." It has two masterpieces, 2 very good songs, "Cinderella Man" and "Madrigal" and another opus, "Cygnus X-1," which although complicated and interesting is still prevented from reaching perfection by those screeching vocals. The title cut has a good classical guitar intro--but is too cynical!! Overall, a 7/10 for this one, a huge improvement over 2112 and ATWAS. (David Straub)
"Closer to the Heart" is justifiably Rush's true signature tune, regardless of how much airplay "Tom Sawyer" still gets. "Xanadu" is their first really solidly compelling epic, with lyrics that move beyond cheese into pretty odd mystical territory. Unfortunately "Cygnus X-1" brings it all crashing back to earth... I have always despised this track. "Cinderella Man" has interesting guitar riffage, and "Madrigal" is the first good quiet Rush tune since "Rivendell". Not as good an album as the next few by any stretch. 7. (Neptune Salad)
"Madrigal" is not a very good song, only because it is slightly boring. It's still not a bad song. And "Cygnus X-1" is stupid, but the tunes through out it are classic Rush. Rush often still plays "Cygnus" at concerts (of course, shortened versions of the song).
a cool album cover, supposedly symbolic of a band who will bid goodbye to baroque/medieval tunes and go for sci fi and other contemporary themes. production is polished compared to the blunt savagery of 2112. songs riffs, structures, and melodies, other than `closer to the heart,' are difficult to recall despite having listened to the record many times. somewhat of an overlooked record between 2112 and the magnificent hemispheres. (Ron & Bev)
Geez, Prindle. you do not like high singing, do you? (Alex R)
Giving this album a 5/10 is just a complete slap in the face. " Xanadu " , " Closer To The Heart " and the title track are Rush classics and so is " Cygnus X-1 ". But I just can`t get into " Madrigal ". Since I own the remastered version of this recording, I give it a 9/10. Remember, this was when they were really kickin some ass.
Hey, dude. 'Love your site. Your reviews kick more ass than any of those god-awful Rolling Stone/SPIN reviews. Also, I like to comment on what you said about Rush. After listening to two of their albums, 2112 and A Farewell to Kings (I don't own these albums, I listened to the whole albums on a website called By-tor's Doghouse. The address is I was actually glad that you were goddamn dead-on about Rush. They ARE a band for geeks. You didn't have to be so damn apologetic about having to break it to fans like that. Neil Peart writes unsophisticated mystical bullshit that makes you wanna laugh out loud, Geddy Lee sounds like Robert Plant, if he was girl, and Alex Lifeson is the only O.K. kinda guy who should stop hanging around with those dork-ass schmucks. I will admire one thing: they're all top-notch at their instruments. People, please, flip Rush a bird, and listen to some REAL music like Yes, the Ramones, the Beatles, Nirvana, and plenty of others recommended by Prindle.

Oh yeah, have you heard those bands that I mentioned. Now they were good, I mean, really good.
As a long-time Rush fan, I have to admit we start getting a little "far out" at this stage in the game. TOO MANY SYNTH PARTS!!!!!!!!!! But, Peart's lyrics are not half as bad as Dio's (who is the REAL D&D dork). (Josh Cable)
Yey, Rush decided to rule over all things fictional and create some sweet ass story songs with Xanadu and the faggagay Cygnus X-1. Madigral is just an asspain to listen to now, but Closer to the Heart (gay title, fun as a muther song), Xanadu, and AFTK rule over everything. And while Cygnus sucked now, the continuation on the next album just blows away everything they had done before.

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... (Sean Harris)
This is one of my favorites. I don't understand some of these reviews--Neil's lyrics are great all over the place. Everybody can't write songs about sex, alcohol and death--even though most bands try. At least Rush did something different.

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.
Smack in the middle of Rush's "progressive stage". Song structures are becoming more advanced. Features one of their true masterpieces "Xanadu", 10 plus complex minutes or pure bliss with fantastic guitar work and drumming and some rather interesting lyrics based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epic poem "The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan." "Closer to the Heart" is rather pretty, with the classical guitar and all and went on the become a singalong crowd pleaser. Some nice guitar work throughout, but why did they have to end the album with the ten minute mess of "Cygnus X-1"? Fits right in with their habit of usually including one bad song in every record. This album is a solid 8.
Descent album by the band ,and Prindle,Geddy's voice is quite alright.If you want to bash a high singer you should start with JON ANDERSON of YES,now there's somebody who gets on my nerves...geez! (Roland Arbour)
I enjoy your site.

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. (James Welton)
I know I said I was going to refrain from further comment, but I just had to say that I really, really like "Closer to the Heart." That is all. (James Rowlee)
I had a co-worker who loaned/gave me this album and it kicked so much ass I kept it and paid him the cash for it.

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 (Akis Katsman)
I'd give this a solid 8. I don't understand why some Rush fans dislike it, it's by all means a classic Rush album. The album kicks off with the fresh rocker "A Farewell To Kings" which is a great song with excellent lyrics. Then comes the great epic "Xanadu", a classic Rush song. I love it all, especially the guitar and vocals, but I think the intro is somewhat long. No matter. Next is a favourite of mine and one of the true highlights of the album, the classic song "Closer To The Heart". Running under 3 minutes, it's the perfect song to listen in the sunrise. I love the lyrics here. "Cinderella Man" is a nice tune, but by no means a great Rush song. The lyrics here are written by Lee, not Peart. "Madrigal" is somewhat filler-ish, but it's good. I like the voice here, it's not as high and intense as the other songs. Does Geddy sing here? I don't know. The last song of the album is "Cygnus X-1", a song about a black hole. I like this song, although I find it somewhat disjoined. Gotta love the screams of uncle Geddy and the somewhat frightening guitar parts, although. But I prefer they put this song in another album, because it doesn't fit there. When you have the ancient/epic-like "Xanadu" and the mysteriously medieval "Madrigal", it ain't the best idea to have a sci-fi song in the same album. All in all, this is a good Rush album, buy it if you are into progressive or "epic" rock. If you are unfamiliar with prog-rock, start with an easier album, say The Wall.
Every bit as good as 2112, if not better...

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.
Rating = 6

Original score = 7. I wittily (?) remarked at the time, "At first I thought I had simply gone insane, but repeated listens proved me wrong -- it was, in fact, a GOOD Rush album!!! Granted, Geddy's voice still stabs my metaphorical ears with literal knitting needles, but the band is playing some warm, melodic material and finally the production is up to modern-day standards. No more watery ick! Fuller ick indeed!" But times fly, and so did I.

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.

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
8. Rush's first great album. An overall very impressive work, prevented by being "truly great," again by those vocals, at least they are not so terrible this time!! "Hemispheres," the side long suite, the second part of "Cygnus X-1" is grand, complicated, everything that great "art-rock" should be. "Circumstances," "The Trees," and "La Villa Strangiato" are show- cases for Rush's instrumental virtuosity. (David Straub)
I love this one. It's too damned short, though!! By today's standards, this would be more of an EP. The suite kicks ass in a big way. For the first time, Peart hits home on most of the lyrics, moving back and forth between allegory and storytelling with fluid precision.

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. (Neptune Salad)
Geddy Lee is Canadian. In Canada, some people speak French. As a matter of fact (get ready to learn something) a lot of people in Canada speak French. Therefore, Geddy Lee can speak French, just like the rest of us. Quebec somewhat recently tried to separate from Canada because of the language of Frenchians is so common. I must be the only person on Earth to remember that, for good reason actually. I'm so alone. (David Straub)
Okay, Mr Neptune, no need to get Eimillerish on my ass here. Geddy is actually from a suburb of Toronto, where hardly anyone speaks French. It doesn't change the cheesiness of the song. (Tim Eimiller)
Yeah, no need to get... Wait a minute...
the pinnacle of rush in the 70's. while `closer to the heart' is better than `the trees,' everything else on Hemispheres is like a farewell to kings done much better. rush had to take a radically different approach to the next album, permanent waves, to avoid being accused of repeating themselves after these two albums. (The Chameleon)
I got this one because I heard Geddy Lee was really good at bass, and Alex Lifeson was a guitar "mastah" too and so forth. But mostly because John Petrucci of Dream Theater said in some guitar magazine that this album was really good. Anyway, I think this album is alright....I really was happy when I first turned it on and it sounded interesting..but then Geddy Lee opened his voice..and....everything went to hell pretty much. Oh and the lyrics! Jesus Christ they're terrible! What the fuck are they talking about? It's madness I tell you. This band seems musically capable of so much, it's too bad that Geddy Lee has to sing and the lyrics have to be so silly. This one gets a 7 from me, *for the music*. (Josh Cable)
If think the lyrics are bad, check out some stuff called "Roman and Greek myths." God almighty, what a bunch of stupidity! What were those ancient writers and story tellers thinking? They ruined it all for everyone with their stupid stories about Gods and such. I hate them. And that Plato guy had a terrible voice, so obviously everything he ever said was not good. That asshole.

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. (John McFerrin)
Ok, at first I was unimpressed, but I've been listening to this album quite often lately, and I must say that it is terrific. Or, should I say, the sidelong title track is terrific. If one can just ignore the lyrics (which was hard for me to do, at first) one will realize that this is one of the finest hardrock/artrock pieces ever made. The repeated alternation between the growling hard riff and the softer higher guitar parts is sheer beauty to my ears, and I love ever second of it

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 (Ian Moss)
I was disappointed. "La Villa Strangiato" isn't nearly as good as the live version on Exit: Stage Left, and the French song blows. "The Trees" is still a catchy little tune. The side-long suite has its moments, certainly, but I kept waiting for Alex to just go crazy with the guitar, and he never really does. It manages to keep from falling apart, but it's no Yes. (Ha! No Yes.) I was all set to grab up the early Rush catalog, but this album stopped me in my tracks (so to speak). If this is really the best they'd done up to this point, I have no need for the others. (Scotty Dennin)
OK. What is this French stuff? I kinda like Circumstances, the chorus is frightning!

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.
If you play an instrument or just appreciate quality well-done hard rock, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. Hemispheres is the last of their concept records when they realy kicked major ass in the mid-seventies. I need to say something to some of these close-minded idiots writing these reviews. Neil's idea of writing a trilogy for 2112, AFTK, and the mighty Hemispheres is brilliant. You don't have to stereotype fans for being sci-fi jackoffs because they appreciate creative lyrics along with kick-ass song writing. Anyone can be in a metal band and sing about sex, drugs, and rock and roll.......Fuck that! Also, Rush wouldn't be Rush without Geddy singing.

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.
Another step forward. Arrangements have become more and more complex and Alex Lifeson's guitar work has reached a new level. The title suite is a bit long, but it alternates textures nicely and makes for a pleasant listening experience. "The Trees" rules. "Circumstances" is a heavy guitar rocker despite Geddy singing in French (pretensiousness warning!). But the piece de resistance is the scorching closing instrumental "La Villa Strangiato". Damn are these guys great musicians. 8/10. (David Mirth)
I hope you all don't mind an actual 'Rush geek' dropping in - no ... butting in to defend the Holy Trinity of thinking rockers everywhere. You guys are great commentators, albeit quite mistaken about the merits of Rush.

"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.
In order to appreciate the lyrics of The Trees, it's essential that you know Neil Peart was a fan of Ayn Rand (atheist novelist/philosopher). In fact, in order to appreciate many of the songs he wrote, you should read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I asked my friend once about what he thought The Trees meant to him. His interpretation was that the Oak trees were unjustly and greedily consuming the sunlight from the Maple Trees, and that force needed to be used to correct this wrong. I told him that Peart was a fan of a certain writer that promoted egoism and laissez-faire capitalism, and that the song was actually an indictment of communism- more specifically the modern liberal theory of egalitarianism (equality through coercive wealth distribution). He thought I was being over-analytical of course, but I can assure anyone this is what The Trees is about. The Oaks represent what Karl Marx would call the bourgeois, or what Rand thought of as the productive and heroic members of society, and of course the Maples represent to oppressed proletariat. The cryptic and sarcastic lyric "And the trees are all kept equal By hatchet, axe, and saw" symbolizes all the blood that has been spilled by government abuse, notably communist regimes that have murdered hundreds of millions in the name of promoting social justice through the state. Other classic Rush songs influenced by Rand include Freewill (indictment of determinism), Tom Sawyer ("No, his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"- classic Rand), Show Don't Tell, (promotes objective reality over mysticism, religion, and faith), Roll The Bones (ditto), and Heresy (sad song about lives wasted due to collectivist ideology).

Oh yeah, La Villa Strangiato has amazing guitar, bass, and especially drums. Good grief, these guys can jam.
Another descent one ,though not as good as 2112.La villa Strantiago (hope I spelled that right)jams as well as CIRCUMSTANCES (that one looks misspelled too)
hey prindle! wanna hear a joke? picture this! on the cover of the album the naked man is standing near you! then i was watching futurama and i was choosing what guy or girl i shall make out with leela or fry? i say fry! call me gay but i think he is so sexy! oh! with his clean shaven face and sweet voice and recklessness and finally to top it all off, HIS UNDERWEAR! ANYHOW PRINDLE YOU CAN'T TOUCH ME! CAUSE BAD YOU FUCKER! MICKEY MANIA COBARDE!
Arguably Rush's most underrated release and one of my very favorites.

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
this might be the lp where early rush fans, late rush fans, and non rush fans can come together and say this is quite good. i was weened on 2112 so this one took some time getting used to but before you knew it the first thing i did after school every day was to blow my eardrums out listineng to la villa. i mean ear pressed into the speaker. everyone say it altogether. that piece of music kicks ass. my rush rookie friends took to trees quickly. i agree rush might have been for geeks but i agree with the guy who said all along i thought i was being sophisticated. besides, my alltime favorite at the time was lynyrd skynyrd so i had more than enough geek room to spare. c'mon everyone. this lp is better than any piece of crap than the likes of styx and journey, though not as bad as styx, was just plain boring compared to these guys. still a rush fan.

Add your thoughts?

Permanent Waves - Mercury 1980.
Rating = 8

Okay, hear me out before you start laughing at me. I know that Neil Peart had some nerdy things on his mind for his first several years of Rushdom, but I've spent the last few days reading all their lyrics, and I'm telling you - starting right here, the guy got REALLY fucking good at it. Dropping the bullshit fantasy metaphors, he proceeds to fill the rest of Rush's catalog with (mostly) intelligent, insightful questions and observations about human interaction, the mental and emotional mistakes we make, and the chemistry of emotions. Seriously! There's still a bit of college freshman philosophy on this one, but he's really finally realized what an incredible soapbox he has been privileged to inherit. And he realized, "What the fuck am I doing talking about The Hobbit when I could be saying something IMPORTANT in these songs?" And so he does, addressing such topics as: - "Radio was a magical friend when we were young, but now it's all about charts and sales"

- "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!

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
Rush's second great album. More impressive than even Hemispheres. An improvement in overall sound quality and structure. More beautiful short songs and one magnificent extended suite, "Natural Science." "Jacob's Ladder" is superb!! "Freewill," "The Spirit Of Radio," and "Different Strings" are also awesome. "Entre Nous" is also very good. Overall, a 9/10 for this album. (David Straub)
This is my favorite one. All of the tunes are great, the lyrics are almost uniformly well-done, and the production is strong. No track is too long. "Natural Science" is almost 10 minutes long and doesn't lose pace for one second. The radio tunes are awesome, with "Freewill" probably being my single favorite Rush song of all. I agree, buy it now, since you can probably find it for like 8 bucks. 10. (Neptune Salad)
ONLY 8 BUCKS! MY MOM HAD TO PAY ALMOST $100 FOR PERMANENT WAVES! Ha ha! But its amazing that after all this time, radio stations all over America still play "The Spirit of Radio", even though the synth styles of the 1980's are now way too out of touch, according to every music critic around today. So 10 out of 10 for the album that showed that Rush would evolve over time and still stay original. (Charles Carlino)
This is without question my favorite Rush album. Definitely.
my first rush album. it was initially the lp's first side that grabbed me, but radio saturation of "freewill" and "spirit of..." have, over the years, led me to prefer and appreciate side 2 of this fine album. it was great to see/hear rush perform natural science on tour last summer! (Alex R)
Rush`s best album PERIOD. " Natural Science " is their greatest song ever. Their best production also. You can also expect a lot of air guitar playing. So an easy 10/10. Get the remasterd version if you can.
Best Rush album, hands down.
Now there's a Rush album I could really sink my teeth into!! Permanent Waves is by far a very good Rush album I have heard thus far. I must admit that it took me like 3 or 4 listens to finally assimilate to it. As with the lyrics? Well, they had seemed to be an improvement over those of 2112 and Farewell To The Kings. For example, "The Spirit of Radio" features some elaborate, lovely lyrical structures, and is basically about radio and the positive aspects of it. I think that's pretty cool. From what I've read somewhere on a certain website, the song was a tribute to some Cleveland radio station who first played Rush's "Working Man" song. Anyways, it was better for Mr. Peart to veer into different subjects rather than just the mystical inspiration that totally dominated most of the previous 70's albums. "Freewill" also has an impressive blend of mysticism, which is luckily recessive, and the message about how it's better to give than recieve, which is the dominant part of the song that sounds a tad preachy, but not too preachy. The production is totally top-of-the-line, and Alex Lifeson really tears. Awesome guitar riffs all around. (YEAHH!!!!)

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!! (Ian Moss)
This is probably Rush's best studio album, at least of the ones I've heard. "The Spirit of Radio" is a classic, and so is "Jacob's Ladder." "Freewill" is definitely the highlight for me, as Alex Lifeson pulls off an incredible guitar solo that makes me wonder why I've seen him described as "un-flashy." I also love the way that the solo segues back into the last verse through a repetition of the opening riff--very cool effect! "Entre Nous" is another annoying French-language-influenced song--where does Neil Peart get off with these? "Diff'rent Strings," although semi-acoustic, almost succeeds in its attempt at deep reflection. And then there's the Science suite, which is okay. Not enough of Alex going nuts (OK, I'll admit that's pretty much the only reason I like Rush). But it's pleasant enough as it is. I give it a 9 on the strength of the first three songs.
I agree with the rating, this is definitely one of Rush's more consistent albums. Sometimes the songs drag on longer than I'd like them to ("Jacob's Ladder" comes to mind) but this doesn't matter in light of awesome tunes like "Spirit Of Radio"(how cool is that keyboard-guitar interplay and those sudden time signature changes??) and the peppy-and-poppy-as-frig "Freewill." "Different Strings" is kind of light and unnoticable, but "Natural Science" and "Entre Nous" are really good, the former in particular being a really neat, monolithic, and hooky song basically the whole way through. Plus, the guitars are way up front for the whole album (which is less than I can say about Hold Your Fire) and the overall sound is a lot neater than almost anything Rush did before or since. I'd recommend it, myself-- Rush is really on top of its game when it's pulling off charmers like this. (Scotty Dennin)
While this album has a lot of good radio highlights and rocks at the same time, it's not my favorite.

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.
Buy this one for Natural of the best they have ever done.
Major change of direction as the band trades in the progressive style of the last three albums for a more mainstream sound, but still far more complicated and creative than your average mainstream rock band. A nice meld of progressive and rock. It works and the two hit singles "The Spirit of Radio" and "Freewill" brought them to a new level of popularity. And for anymore who thinks the "Spirit of Radio" is a celebration of radio clearly isn't listening to the lyrics closely enough. Sorry to break it to you but the song is a sarcastic indictment of how popular radio forces bands to betray their artistic selves. And the last song "Natural Science" is one of their last full blown progressive suites, and as Linda Richmond would say on Coffee Talk "it's like buttah". The best song on their best album so far, but the best is still yet to come! 9. (Chris Carrier)
I like a lot of Rush songs, many out of nostalgia because I liked their stuff so much when I was younger. I stopped buying albums after Roll the Bones. (Shoulda stopped after Hold Your Fire). Anyway, it needs to be said (for the generation that discovered Rush at a certain age, us geeks) that the best part of this album is that you can see that hot chick's panties... and she doesn't seem to mind.
Every song on this album is pure gold. 9/10
even though moving pictures made them stars, i mean mass sale stars, this is really the best rush lp. yes freewill and spirit got radio play but in hindsight they primed the pump for moving pictures' commercial breakthrough. it was nice at the time to have one of your personal cult bands break through to national stardom. i went to the concert in 1981 knowing i was smoking dope to 2112 in 1978. anyhow, permanent waves is a great sounding record. will take spirit of radio over any concept piece from 2112. and waves just sounds better than pictures. and about energy. more life in these grooves than 2112. hem, pictures kings especially. ok la villa still rocks but this lp isn't quite as sludgy. love this record. not brilliant in the grand scheme of 50 years of rock n roll but that doesn't matter when you listen to it and find it so enjoyable.

The first album, in my opinion, where Peart eases back the middle-earth/Rand philosophy in order to process what he's learned personally and the experiences he's had in his life up to that point, and communicate how those experiences have shaped him emotionally.

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.

Add your thoughts?

(Keith Davis Reviews) Retrospective I (1974-1980).
Rating = 9

Yes, a big improvement over Chronicles. It contains the study version of the "magnum opus." Magnificent!!! It also contains some filler, what a shame!! Still, a truly great compilation!!
Reader Comments (Keith Jones)
The only flaws in Rush Retrospective I were not including "Working Man", a great rock song, and "Passage to Bangkok", my second favorite song from 2112. 8.989/10

Add your thoughts?

Moving Pictures - Mercury 1981.
Rating = 7

This is one of the best-loved Rush albums, but probably only because of its massive hit single (which I'll mention at some point later on). I agree that it's got a few truly awesome songs, but "Red Barchetta" fails to live up to its cool title, "YYZ" fails to follow up on its ass-kicking Primus intro (turning into a dopey-as-one-of-the-dwarves-in-Snow-White-And-The-Seven-Dwarves macho rock song) and by then you're like halfway through the album! Musically, it features the same intriguing mix of instrumental prowess and tight poppy construction that we all so enjoyed on Permanent Waves, but unfortunately doesn't feature anywhere near the same number of interesting different parts per track -- especially "The Camera Eye," an 11-minute song with TWO PARTS! A verse and a chorus! Over and over again! Like they think they're Rush Dylan or some nonsensical item! Also of note is that it has an even more cleaned-up radio-ready sound than Permanantly Waving At You. Not that the music is purposely dumbed down; they're still writing and playing some complicated parts. Just not as many as before, which means that these songs sound much more likely to be played on 96-Rock than their decadent predecessors (which sounded likely to be played exclusively in a pothead's dorm room). The radio smashes were the big angry rocker "Tom Sawyer" and fuzzy bittersweet popper "Limelight," if that gives you any indication of what I'm talking about.

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.

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
Rush's masterpiece? Even better than Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures is still one of "Rush's greatest albums." The songs "Tom Sawyer," "Red Barchetta," "YYZ" and "Vital Signs" are superb!! The extended suite, "The Camera Eye" is also superb!! However,"Witch Hunt" is great, but not magnificent! Overall a 9/10 for this one.. (David Straub)
Hmmm. Rush smoothed out and possibly dumbed-down a little for popular consumption.

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. (Charles Carlino)
AIDS humour is simply not funny, Prindle. You are an idiot.
another great album cover. album covers- a lost art! a dense, heavy release. a murky, overlooked 2nd side. certainly alex lifeson's last gasp in terms of aggressive, memorable guitar. synths and digital recording techniques will combine to sap the raw vitality from rush's sound in the 80's. still, Signals and grace under pressure (less so) are fine albums.
I give a 10. In my opinion it's Rush's best album. Only Witch hunt is a detraction and really not that much of one. While most would disagree, I would have to say Red Barchetta is the best song on the album, and probably one of Rush's best writings ever.
Am I insane, or were the sides flip-flopped on this album? Doesn't The Camera Eye sound like it should be the first song on the album? And doesn't Limelight sound like it should be the last song? I know I can program my CD player however I want but dammit, that's work! (Alex R)
Moving Pictures is without a doubt the most popular album in the entire Rush catolog. And for good reason because Side 1 is perhaps the greatest side on any Rush album. But I don't think that it's any better than Permanent Waves, because side 2 is not as exciting. " The Camera Eye " is too long and " Vital Signs " just bores the hell out of me, but I like " Witch Hunt " a lot thanks in part to the great synthesizer work by Geddy. Overall this album gets an 8.5/10 on the Prindle scale.

And for those of you who think that Rush should of quit after this one, here's a gigantic FUCK YOU.
Though I'm not a fan of Rush, I have to admit that this is a GREAT album. Pop masterpieces like "Limelight" and "Tom Sawyer"(which is like a bunch of catchy melodies rotating around a big, pompous synth crescendo), cool crunchy tunes like "Red Barchetta" and "YYZ," and epics like "The Camera Eye"(my favorite on the album) make this album well worth listening to. Plus, the band's playing is probably the best that it ever got before the great playing went over the edge and started to sound prosthetic and calculated (i.e. Power Windows). The album drifts off after the epic ends on the second side, but those two songs are still pretty good. I never thought I'd say this about a Rush album, but I'd give this a 9!

And, uh, the AIDS thing was a joke, Charlie. (Ian Moss)
Another disappointment for me...I got this album for the radio hits, which were excellent as expected, but the last three songs totally let me down! Especially "Camera Eye," which absolutely defies explanation as to why it is over ten minutes long. "Barchetta" is OK, and "YYZ" is an interesting song, although once again done much better on E:SL. Pretty much the only reason to own this is for "Limelight," although granted that may well be reason enough. I give it a 7 too. (Scotty Dennin)
I'll step away from the pack and say that Witch Hunt is the song that effects me the most lyrically speaking. I just love the opening to it, dark and murky, you can picture the lynch mob with torches.

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.
BAM! This album kicks complete and total ass, devastating everything in its path. Never has rock, progressive, and pop been melded into a seamless whole the way it is on this album. Everyone knows "Tom Sawyer" and for good reason, it's a fucking knockout blow. Everything about that song works, especially Neil's drumming, which may defy some laws of physics. "Red Barchetta" succeeds admirably in conveying the feeling of being in a speeding car. "YYZ" is quite the instrumental. "Limelight" is incredibly beautiful, featuring a fantastic lyrical Alex Lifeson guitar solo. And perhaps the most underappreciated song on this album is the reggaeish closer "Vital Signs". Sure it's kind of inaccessible and hard to get into at first, but once you give it a few listens and let it sink in, it grows on you like cancer. I absolutely love it now. Just like I love this album. Without question a 10.
Commercial,very listenable,I give it a 9!
Alright, Rush generally blows the cock of a sizable Canadian moose, but fer crissakes Witch Hunt is FAR AND AWAY the best thing they ever did. I suffered a younger brother in the next room who was a Rush fanatic for years, and know all their stuff just through osmosis through our bedroom walls. And ONLY Witch Hunt gave me that lean back, close your eyes, blast the headphones, double bong hit visions of ROCK HEAVEN I got from my Zeppelin/Genesis/ELP records. (Eric D.)
like a lot of folks I started with Rush here, and while it's there most popular it's probably my favorite. All great songs... and I like Geddy's voice too. Much more than Robert Plant's actually... must be why I have 14 Rush albums and just have Zeppelin's best of double CD, but that's just my opinion. Probably my third favorite prog band after Jethro Tull and Porcupine Tree (But do I still like Yes? Yes.) Anyone my favorites on here in include the 3 hits, Witch Hunt and Camera Eye. That leaves Vital Signs and YYZ. Love to those too. 10/10.

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
Eyyyyyyyy! Check it out! Now I'm ddickSO. Instead of SON. Meant to emphasize my growing nonchalance, not too mention becoming more than the son of Dick. Amen.

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.

Huge record. Liked it, but songs were not as good (overall) as its predecessor. Ridiculously overplayed that summer, but it was really refreshing to hear Rush on the radio. Nobody sounded like them. I like YYZ, but it doesn't hold a candle to Strangiato, and they were not pushing themselves on this record.

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.

Add your thoughts?

Exit...Stage Left - Mercury 1981.
Rating = 8

Jesus, did the engineers cram a bunch of marshmallows into the speaker while pressing this record or something? Why does everything sound so muffled and lifeless? Where's that crisp, edgy, trebly, snappy Rush kick in the ass we've all so enjoyed since Rush, The Album? And don't give me that "it's a live recording" bullshit, because I know about overdubs. When an intricate keyboard line suddenly pops up in the middle of the song while the drums, guitar and bass are still all kicking ass, THAT'S AN OVERDUB. So don't tell me they couldn't have overdubbed a decent mix.

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.


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!

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
Rush's masterpiece!! Quite simply, even though this is a live album, this is Rush's best work, every single person on the planet Earth (who can afford this) should own this remastered cd. There never has been a better "art-rock" album ever released!! This album borders very close to perfection. If I were on a desert isle and could only take one album with me, this would be it!! The songs "The Spirit Of Radio," "Red Barchetta," "A Passage To Bangkok," "Beneath,Between & Behind,"(even though, this doesn't belong here) "Tom Sawyer" and "Freewill" are superb. "Jacob's Ladder" and "YYZ" are also superb!! However, the true presence of perfection is found in that piece de resistance-- which begins with "Broon's Bane," (an instrumental introduction to "The Trees") segues into "The Trees" and concludes with Rush's magnum opus, "Xanadu." Ah, never has there been written a better "art-rock" masterpiece!!!

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." (David Straub)
Solid live album... good way to introduce yourself, agreed... 8
another fine live album from rush. i prefer the first live effort simply because i'm somewhat less familiar with it (in the same way that i listen to sabbath's sabotage lp rather than their paranoid album) and because i love the heaviness of the early material as well as geddy's over the top vocals. i'm sure that the vast majority of casual rush fans would prefer exit stage left as the hits are there and the playing is that much more professional and disciplined. we'll see cool professionalism and note-for-note live playing taken to their logical conclusion on the sterile and flacid 3rd live album, a show of hands.
This is a brilliantly composed live album and it shows Rush at the peak of their song-writing. These guys really worked hard to perfect these complex song structures and performed them with unsurpassed accuracy. If Mozart was alive today and got stoned to rock music, this album would blow him away. The Trees with prelude, Broon's Bane, and the following Xanadu is a live masterpiece that reidefines "art rock." And.....just gotta love that Neil Peart, he takes drumming to a new level with his technical ability combined with that monster-ass drum set. I love this album because it shows them at their best before they sold out to excessive keyboards and the 80's "cock rock" mentality. They still kick ass though, Counterparts (93) and Test For Echo (96) are real solid albums.

Gee, I am a total Rush geek, even with a ponytail..............FUCK!

Anyone got any cybersmoke? (John McFerrin)
I'm not a Rush fan; all of the Rush obsession in my family is taken care of by my brother. But, I signed up for a music service, and had to pick some free CD's, and I figured what the heck, I'll give this a shot.

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. (Don E. Adams)
Xanadu is THAT good. (Ian Moss)
Oh, wow!!! I asked for a Rush album one birthday years ago, hoping for Moving Pictures. My sister got me Exit: Stage Left instead, and I was all disappointed because it didn't have "Limelight." So I went out two days later and got myself Moving Pictures, which turned out to be a MUCH weaker album than this absolute plastic gem called Exit: Stage Left! (By the way, my rating of 7 for Moving Pictures was kind of unfair. Give it an 8 instead.) Anyway, I'm not the biggest Rush fan ever, as their songwriting sometimes leaves me frustrated and Neil Peart's preachy, over-intellectual lyrics can be ludicrously bad. Furthermore, I am not at all a fan of live albums, as they generally just present the original song in inferior form, and I'm like, why bother? Despite this, Exit: Stage Left is one of the very, very best albums in my entire collection. Why? Well, for one thing, it has a great collection of songs. Most of the radio hits, some great long tracks like "Jacob's Ladder" and "Xanadu," and the incomparable "La Villa Strangiato." The songs, with few exceptions, are EVERY BIT AS GOOD as the studio versions, even by strict technical playing standards, which is amazing to me. A few are even better: "YYZ" with its three-minute-long drum solo that is one of the best I've ever heard (exceeded only perhaps by that Santana drummer's solo on the "Woodstock" film), and "La Villa Strangiato" with its electrification and lots of added musical detail (even Geddy incomprehensibly singing "Pattie-Cake" in some non-English language).

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.
The best live album ever? It has my vote. Every performance on here is right on the money. "Closer to the Heart" is much better live with the crowd singalong. "Freewill", "The Spirit of Radio", and "Xanadu" all breathe live in a way their studio versions don't, though they're all great of course (the studio versions). But the killer cut is "La Villa Strangiato" as Alex adds some killer guitar work in the solos. That slowly building solo in the middle that works its way up to an emotional crescendo...ohhhh. I just close my eyes and let it sink into every pore. It sends chills up my spine. The only demerit this album gets is not including "Limelight" on an album recorded on the Moving Pictures tour. The fuck? Oh well, a very high 9.
This one's hard to rate. I never liked how nearly every song fades out before the next one begins. It really takes the "live" out of this album. The performances are superb, but in some cases they sound almost identical to the original studio recordings. Was this "live" album overprocessed in the studio? You be the judge... 7/10
No, the album is not overprocessed. It sounds like the studio versions of the songs because the musicians are so disciplined at reproducing the music true to its original form. This is not easy , and most rock bands are unable to do it with complex arrangements, because the musicians lack the discipline and/or sobriety. All three members are top notch, just watch rush in Rio, they can still do it!
I LOVED this record when it first came out. Listening to it many years later, I feel they cheated by adding extra tracks in the post production. If it were a document of a true live performance, you wouldn’t hear the rhythm guitar when Alex does a solo, yet it’s evident all over the record. It creates a false impression of what a power trio can do in a live setting. This being said, the majority of what is heard is live. It just gives me a bad taste in my mouth when bands add tracks later on.

Add your thoughts?

Signals - Mercury 1982.
Rating = 8

Oooh! There's a doggie on the cover! With this record, Rush pledged their allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all keyboards. Yes, if you're one of those fancy people with a "No Keyboards Allowed" sign on your bedroom door, this is where you should step OFF the train to Canada and not return until Counterparts. The sound of Singals is less rocky and more sort of new agey moody electronic Genesisy futuristicy organy. But wait! The songs are also among their most memorably melodic, full of emotionally haunting chord changes and lots of neat riffs comprised of Alex Lifeson moving or lifting one or two fingers just very slightly three or four times in a row to create a progression of odd, interesting and wonderful chords you can't quite place. The kind of music that "Turns Me On" (boner) is that which presents a melody (or series of noises) unlike any I have heard before. As many senile songwriting decisions as they've made over time, Rush has still managed to create an awful lot of truly unique material - something nobody ever would have expected from their ass-derivative debut album!

"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!

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
Rush's first experiment with shorter song structures and more synthesizers. Overall, the songs "Subdivisions," "The Analog Kid" and "The Weapon" are very good. "Digital Man," "Chemistry" and "Countdown" are great!! "New World Man" is magnificent. "Losing It" and "Countdown" are superb!! Overall an 8/10 for this one!!
a spiritual cousin to the earlier permanent waves, except this time the waves are created by synths. i love this record because it's dense and murky. it's like digital instruments played through analog, tube equipment. it also sounds nothing like the album before or after it. (Nate Tobik)
This album is amazing. Chemistry is great, and Analog Kid is even better. Listening to the live version of Analog Kid kicks my butt. Rush didn't lose anything when they did this album. (Larry Sylvain)
This was a pretty good album neil peart lay back a bit on this one I find but I find Anolog kid one the easit songs to play but I subdivions very hard to play. (Alex R)
Well, I finally purchased a copy of Signals, and I must say that`s it`s probably their best record they have ever recorded. Yes Permanent Waves is still the best one IMHO, but this one comes pretty damn close. This album contains some of my favorites like " Subdivisions " , " The Analog Kid " , " Chemistry " and probably my favorite Rush song ever " Losing It ". I have the remastered version but the production is not the best though. Still a superb effort. 9/10.
Here's where I said adios.
As with most albums, this one contains a couple of good tracks bolstered by a lot of chaff, a tried and true format that almost all bands adhere to (with the exception of The Arrogant Worms' "Russell's Shorts" and INXS's "Kick"). Subdivisions sets this album apart from any other, and by itself may constitute Rush's most worthwhile addition to the world of music. Rave about any other Rush song - my personal fave for it's philosophy is RollTheBones, which mirrors my take on life - but Subdivisions is by far Neil Pert's most powerful, realistic, down in the sewer of life song. It speaks of the background from which almost all of us come, and none of us ever talk about....
Only Rush would make a song about not being cool in high school, stick a bunch of computerized voices in it, and call it "Subdivisions." Dorks. Of course, 1) I'm a dork too and 2) The song is really freaking awesome, so I don't know what reason I have to complain. Possibly because most of the rest of this album is really boring. Sorry, but aside from the two other hits ("Analog Kid" and "New World Man") the songs on here just rely on the same moody, polished synth tone for song after song after song and I just sit through them waiting for them to end rather than actually enjoying any of them. The highlights are so good that I can give the album a six, but nothing higher. (Ian Moss)
A surprisingly solid album! Come to think of it, I was surprised by pretty much every Rush album I own, sometimes pleasantly, sometimes not. "Subdivisions" has a killer keyboard riff, and "Analog Kid," "Chemistry," and "Digital Man" are all winners, although it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between them. "Losing It' is a rare example of Neil Peart being thoughtful in his lyrics rather than laughably excessive. The one song I really can't stand is "New World Man," which has one of the most boring choruses I've ever heard--and despite this it always gets stuck in my head, making it doubly annoying. Notice how all of the songs are about science in one form or another. A new era of sci-fi nerdism is right! I give it an 8.5714285714....
Quite different from Moving Pictures, but an excellent followup just the same. Yes the keyboards are out en force, but dammit the songs and the melodies are strong! "Subdivisions" is by far my favorite song in the Rush catalog. What a great song, great lyrics, great keyboard playing, and that bass riff leading into the chorus rules! "Analog Kid" is an Alex Lifeson tour de force (see, the guitar is still here!). "New World Man" is boppy fun. And "Losing It" may be the most poignant song the band has ever penned. In fact, I really like every song on this album except for "Digital Man", which can lick my hairy ballbag. Another 9 it is.

Brian Hyndman
Coming of age in a Canadian high school at a time when Rush was at their peak in popularity (1979-82), I tried to like this band. God knows I tried. But why, Dear God, why, did they have to engage the services of a testosterone-challenged vocalist who sounded like my grandmother on a bad night at choir practice? Damn you Geddy Lee!! You took what could have been the Canadian equivalent of….I dunno….the Beatles, the Doors, Pink Floyd…..and turned them into the butt of Prindlle’s jokes (and mine). Any success that Rush enjoyed was in spite of you, rather than because of you.
I am a huge Rush fan, and I can also see why everybody hates them. I find it comical how much people hate Rush, especially chicks. However, this album is where Rush enters the shitter never to return. If I want 4 minute pop songs there are so many better choices. I love Rush for the self indulgent 6 -10 minute songs with the 3 kajillion parts per song. That is what they were good at. Yeah, I know the lyrics are stupid, Geddy's voice could peel paint off roadside restroom, but, dangnabit, give me the epic songs with the long solos!!!!!!! Leave the synths to somebody else, and wank goddamn it!!!!!!!!

Add your thoughts?

Grace Under Pressure - Mercury 1984.
Rating = 6

So much for THAT streak of good albums! With Grace Under Pressure, at least two of the Rushers have reached age 30, and, as happens with all people when they hurt 30, their confidence and creativity poured out their ears into a glass. As such, we find ourselves listening not to fuzzy futuristic synths, but mere "Keyboards." Worse yet, we find ourselves enjoying not strange, innovative new chord-and-finger combinatiosn but cliched mid-80s pop generics. Organically creepy riffs have turned into cheap Haunted House "ooo! scary!" keyboard lines. Songs comprised of multiple challenging segments have given way to "catchy verse/stupid chorus (or vice-versa)" let-downs. And for heaven's sake, who in this band thought it would be a good idea to combine dark bass-driven drama and sissy Caribbean drum keyboard goodtimes IN THE SAME GODDAMNED SONG!?!?!?

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!

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
What happened? What a disappointment, a new producer (By the way,"Terry Brown" produced ESL and the other 9 previous albums) Peter Henderson comes on board and produces a mediocre album. True, not every producer can create an ESL, but this album is just not very polished!! The best songs are: "Distant Early Warning," "Red Lenses," "Red Sector A" and "Afterimage." The rest is filler!! Quite a disappointment from such a great band. Overall a 6/10 for this one!! (Sean Harris)
Grace is a harder abum to get into, but I think it's pretty good. The best song by far is THE ENEMY WITHIN. The sound of that song--the bass chug..well, it's brilliant. I also think BETWEEN the WHEELS is great. They may have used more synth overwork, but this is a decent follow-up to SIGNALS (which I agree, was fabulous) Don't call Rush dorks for thanking intellivision baseball--why do people take this guys so seriously? (Alex R)
I like to call this one Signals Part 2. Even though Signals was a terrific album, this one seems to get no respect due to the fact that the production is not up to par. But actually, most of the songs are here work. " Distant Early Warning ", " Aftermirage ", " Red Sector A ", " The Body Electric " and " Between The Wheels " are excellent songs!. The others are alright but I wouldn't call them bad. If you give this one a chance, then you'll enjoy it. I give this record a 7.5/10. (Ivar Hole Aksnes)
I think "Kid Gloves" is very good.
I actually think that this one's stronger than the surrounding albums, and probably the best of the "Rush loves synths" '80s quadrilogy. It's not a great album, but songs like "Red Sector A"(which pulses along wonderfully) and the anthemic, catchy "Distant Early Warning" are better than the standout tracks on other contemporary Rush albums. Unfortunately, "Early Warning" was apparently so good that the band didn't even wait until the next album to produce an inferior copy of it in the annoying-as-hell "The Body Electric," and besides "Kid Gloves," the second half is boring generic synth mush. "Red Lenses" tries to stick out with its tricky song structure and unpredictable melody, but it just ends up sounding plodding and overlong. Overall, however, this one's better than Rush's other albums from this period, which basically means that I agree with your six.
Something isn't quite right here. I love "Kid Gloves" and its weird time signature and the chilling "Red Sector A" is a highlight as well. "The Enemy Within" moves right along and "The Body Electric" is good enough. But I fucking hate "Red Lenses" and "Distant Early Warning" and all "Between the Wheels" has is a kickass guitar solo, I can do without the rest of it. 2 great songs, 2 awful songs, and 4 others of varying quality equals a high 6. It's not bad, but it's a big disappointment.
After this one they went downhill and never came back up,good songs here though.
hasnt anybody noticed that the intro to between the wheels and massive attack's mezzanine sound like twins seperated at birth? massive attack secret proggy bastards? hmmmmm

Add your thoughts?

Power Windows - Mercury 1985.
Rating = 4

Worse. I had originally given this record a 5, but I'm not sure why since it only has two good songs on it. The sole hit "The Big Money" is a terrific rocker/brooder/percolator, even though it does steal its most memorable chord sequence from "Limelight." But see, the album doesn't SOUND like "The Big Money." Not even a tiny bit. Power Windows is Rush playing bland, predictable adult contemporary music on gut-wrenchingly outdated '80s keyboards. Alex Lifeson hardly plays anything besides some bright fuzzy over-reverbed chords, and even on the few occasions when he does attempt to bring back some of the old Rush testosterone, his contributions are immediately buried by the feyest, fruitiest, least manly keyboard tones you will ever hear. I mean, it's one thing to suddenly develop a taste for the keyboard instrument. It happened to Eddie Van Halen and he survived. But it's something entirely different to purposely choose the wimpiest, buttpiratiest keyboard tones you can find and then expect your exclusively male audience to accept it as part of your 'artistic development.' Plus the entire project is watered down with this slick, horribly dated production, complete with pippity-pip up-the-ass percussion hits and pre-programmed little bits of girliness that sound like Rush really wanted to be backing up Peter Cetera or some other horse-faced retarded man.

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!

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
Thank God for a new producer!!! This album is superb!! Second only to ESL and I mean the second best "art-rock" album period. Again, every single person on the planet who owns a cd player, should own this album. It contains masterpieces galore!!! "The Big Money" may be the weakest song on the album! "Grand Designs," "Emotion Detector" and "MiddleTown Dreams" are superb!! "Manhattan Project" and "Territories" border perfection!! "Mystic Rhythms" is perfect, Rush's second best song, only second to ESL's "Xanadu." Close your eyes and listen to "Mystic Rhythms" sometime, see if you can't picture yourself in East Africa at the dawn of time!! It's so difficult to not give this album a 10/10, but because of "The Big Money," I have to. Overall, a 9/10 for this superb piece of craftsmanship!! (Doug Jones)
POWER WINDOWS is indeed one of the best two or three Rush albums. And it is very aptly titled, because it has incredible power. From about the time of HEMISPHERES until this release, Rush's metal was lightened in some apparent attempt to retool their sound. I suppose this was universal, and few bands with even established depth survived intact the artistic malaise of the late 70s/early 80s (disco, punk, etc.). Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed riding around in a post-progressive Red Barchetta listening to the spirit of radio with sudden Rush fans. The heavy machinery that really typified Rush's earliest sound was just too hard to maneuver through the tight and narrow passages of the progressive landscape just after Caress of Steel, then cumbersome to the radio rock of Perm Waves and Moving Pictures. But on PW, Rush gets the Mack Truck back out, only this time it's tuned to perfection, not the rumbly Motorhead diesel of RUSH, but an awesome, chrome-laden, massive and precise machine. It glimmers but will also crush you. This was always the quintessential vehicle of Rush. Turn it up. It's like adding about nine octaves of depth to "Tom Sawyer". Peart's lyrics are meaningful ("Manhattan Project," "Middletown Dreams"), not smirky clever or insufferably self-indulgent. Lee's bass undercarriage is spine-tingling and perfectly complimented by Lifeson's sometimes-razor-sharp, sometimes-granite-solid guitar. "Mystic Rhythms" is trademark Rush. This is great rock. (Nate Tobik)
I agree with Keith that this is one of their best albums. It deserves a 10/10. I could listen to the album over and over and never get tired of it. My favorites are Middletown Dreams, and Mystic Rythms. There is not one bad song on this cd. At times The Big Money could get old but it is still awsome. Rush lost nothing on this album. (ytf)
I was a bit disillusioned by this one at first, but have since pulled into really, really liking it. It's one of my favorites now, and the more I play it the better it gets. Great songs, great sounds. Grand Designs is one of the best Rush songs ever written--and this ties into second with Signals as my other favorite Rush album between 1982 and 1987. (John McFerrin)
Ehn. I didn't buy this of course, but found a completely copy online and downloaded it. I'm not listening again. It's not awful, but I find it very difficult to really get sucked in by this stuff. I'll be nice and give it a 6.

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!
I agree that this is the best Rush album. Incredible musicianship, good lyrics, and inventive song structures. Geddy's bass work on this album is so outstanding it's as if he's created his own little universe. I defy you to listen to the bassline behind Lifeson's solo in "Emotion Detector" and then tell me the guy is even human. And Lifeson's guitar work, from the emotion of the "Middletown Dreams" solo, to the sheet of white noise he unleashes in "Grand Designs" is amazing. Neil is his usual amazing self. And that groove established at the end of "Territoritories" will get your head bobbing, guaranteed. Overall an amazing display. (Alex R)
Terrific album!!. This is probably their second or third best album overall. The production is fantastic!. But I will admit that it took quite a few listens to get into this. But that was then and this is now. Can't seem to understand why you don't like it that much. Anyways, this album derseves a 9/10.
Definitely not for me. The songs are catchy, but they're all so meticulously-crafted and mechanical and polished that it completely buzzes away any grit that might've existed. "The Big Money" rocks in a grandiose, pompous, and wonderful manner, and "Grand Designs" and "Mystic Rhythms" are both okay too, but the rest of this stuff is seriously in one ear and out the other. It's just a perfectly average album that brings almost nothing new to your ears but polished, boring perfection, so I agree with the 5.
Wow, I just noticed I didn't give this album a rating when I reviewed it earlier. I'm breaking the Prindle rule and awarding a 10 to more than one album. This gets a 10 along with "Moving Pictures", they're both deserving as hell. (Scott Campbell)
This was the first Rush album I ever owned. I bought it after seeing the Exit Stage Left video on late night t.v. My immediate reaction was "What the fuck happened to this band?" But PW soon grew on me because the kick ass playing is still there even if it is overlayed by a lot of synthesizer. The 2nd side does it for me.

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.

Add your thoughts?

Hold Your Fire - Mercury 1987.
Rating = 5

I'm not sure why I used to hate this record so much, but history shows that I originally awarded it a mere "2" out of 10. Maybe I was just too young to enjoy the heavily synth-washed adult tones. I still don't think it's great or anything, but it has a few good songs and doesn't sound anywhere near as dated as Power Windows. The main letdown is that it begins with the terrifically driving rock song "Force Ten," and then follows with a bunch of smooth synthesizer/sustained piano/clean guitar compositions of an entirely different subgenre. Even this would be fine if all the songs were as unforgettably melancholy as "Open Secrets" or pleasantly adult poppy as "Second Nature," but unfortunately about half of the hooks they come up with here (especially on the exceptionally weak second side) are either lobomotizingly dull or more corny than any song Survivor ever recorded. It's nice that they've updated their synth tones, but this is still an awfully slick record, with Lifeson mostly adding bright, dissipated treble-chords for color.

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.

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
A good title, an album that sounds like a 53 minute long suite-broken into 10 distinct parts. Overproduced, quite possibly!! Great, yes!! Truly great, no unfortunately!! The songs are all great, but they sound too much like each other, not enough variety!! The album is about creativity and is not super creative!!! The best songs are: "Prime Mover," "High Water," "Tai Shan," "Open Secrets," "Second Nature" and "Turn The Page." "Mission," which holds the key to uniting this work-- makes this one long suite. "Time Stand Still," "Force Ten" and "Lock And Key" are very good. Overall, an 8/10 for this one. (Alex R)
Some people love this album and some people think that it`s a piece of crap. At first listen I completely despised this album. If you listen to some of the tracks, you`ll probably say to yourself..... " Where`s the guitars?????, I thought that there were 3 guys in this band, not 2 ". I feel sorry for Lifeson, he`s like left out on this one. Probably the greatest guitar player ever.

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.
Definitely the most pedestrian of Rush's albums. But "Lock and Key" and "Prime Mover" are cool tunes. And check out Geddy's basswork in "Turn the Page". Amazing, I can't say enough about the guy as a bassist.
I wouldn't give it a two, mainly because most of the songs are exactly as boring as the ones on Power Windows, so I don't see why it should get that different of a rating. I mean, sure, the songs are listenable, and some of them sort of have hooks, but-- geeze, there's almost nothing creative going on at all. And I don't see why everyone praises the bass on this album; I can barely even HEAR any of the instruments under the generic synths, booming drums, and wishy-washy production. "Force Ten" is great. "Time Stands Still" is pretty good. "Mission" is sort of good. The rest would be good if their melodies were erased and replaced with distinctive, engaging ones. 4/10

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." (Nick Karn)
Rich, man... what kind of stereo are you listening to? I admit the synths are overwhelming (though it's mostly the adult pop instrumental melodies they are playing to 'complement' the adult pop vocal melodies that's the problem), but the awesome basslines are still there and flowing just as well as any Rush album. What about the intro to "Open Secrets", "Force Ten", "Time Stand Still" "Prime Mover" and even the boring "Turn The Page"? Crank it up a bit more. Anyway, I do agree that a lot of people are too harsh on this album. A 4 is certainly understandable, but a 2?? There's too many strengths! Is anyone paying attention to the lyrics on this thing? They rule! Peart at his introspective best. Far from generic adult pop, which to my mind elevates certain stuff like "Mission" and "Open Secrets" to good (though not great) status. A 5 at least... I'd give it a decent-sized 6.
From my perspective, this is "Rush-lite". Most of the songs sound watered-down. They simply don't pack any punch or provide enough of an edge for this Rush fan. (Where's Peart??!!) "Force Ten" is easily the strongest track on the CD. 5/10

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(Keith Davis Reviews) Retrospective II (1981-1987).
Rating = 9

Oh yes, a quite decent, a best so far released compilation!! "Mystic Rhythms" and "Manhattan Project" are here. Bully, for them!! Too many good songs to mention in one sitting, seek it out, if you so desire!!! Personally, I'll take ESL any day of the week, A 9/10 for this one.
Reader Comments
This IS Rush in the 80's. In the 80's, Rush always had a few good songs on their albums with about 75% filler. Retrospective II is ALL of their best 80's stuff together. Skip getting the albums which these songs are from, this is all you need. Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta, and Limelight seem a little out of place with the more heavily produced stuff like Mystic Rhythms, The Mission, and Subdivisions... But if you're a real Rush fan (and I know you are), it works. Get this one. It's a great representation of Rush in a particularly creative, progressive, and intelligent phase. One reason I like this album so much now, is because I am about the same age now that the band was when they made this music (early 30's?). As a testimony to their lyrics and songwriting, the music really speaks to me. I didn''t like this stuff when it came out, but it really withstood the test of time for me.
By no stretch of the imagination am I a Rush fan, but I got this album 'cos Tom Sawyer and New World Man sounded quite good and I thought it might be quite a good CD if all the material was the same quality. Shouldn't have bothered. Time Stand Still was very good, I must admit, but the rest is forgettable - when it's not downright painful. Basically, Rush can play well, but they can't write good songs - except about twice a decade, which makes a grand total of six good songs in their entire career. I know it's a matter of taste, but anyone else who likes their rock - however heavy - to have a good tune won't like this band. Go for AC/DC, Thunder, UFO, even Queensryche - Hell!, even Motorhead are melodious comparatively - instead of this bunch ; you'd only have this CD two days, realise it WILL NOT grow on you with time, no matter how much you listen to it, and wish you'd got something else instead. (Nick Karn)
I don't actually own this compilation, but I have all five of the albums from which the songs are taken from, and I programmed all of them in the appropriate order, just to see how the flow went, and besides, most of the songs RULE, except for maybe those two question mark Hold Your Fire tracks "Time Stand Still" (the sickening 'freeze this moment a little bit longer' refrain still makes me go blahhh and yet moves me at the same time) and the cheezily synthed (nice phrase, eh?) "Force Ten". The flow is REALLY shaky in the first few tracks, especially when the immortal high school anthem "Subdivisions" follows the immortal driving song "Red Barchetta", but it's OK afterwards, even with the Power Windows closer "Mystic Rhythms" placed 5th, and two original album openers ("Tom Sawyer", "Force Ten") closing it. And no, Keith, "Manhattan Project" is NOT on here, contrary to what your review says, but my 2nd favorite Rush song, "Marathon", certainly is!!! Objectively, I'd give this one an 8 (not a 9 because of the flow) - it's a great way to get into 80s Rush, which interestingly enough, I like more than their 70s stuff.

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)

Add your thoughts?

A Show Of Hands - Mercury 1989.
Rating = 5

This is a live album dating from the least interesting period in Rush's career. If you're all into analogies and shit, you might say that Rush's earliest records were like sci-fi action shooters, where you just put in a quarter and blast blast blast away. Then they started in with the longer RPG-style epics that weren't quite as viscerally exciting, but were more deeper and more fulfilling over the long term. But by the '80s, Rush decided that their sound had to "mature" as their ages and voices had -- and what that meant was a bunch of bland fantasy sims. You've seen space sims before right? Like when you accidentally walked into a nerd's room or something? That's exactly what this period of Rush music is like - midtempo, no energy, no excitement, no memorable hooks, no interesting guitarwork, way too many keyboards, no fancy time signatures - but you're expected to stay with it because it's mature and builds character. And those ACTION games like "Fly By Night" and "Bastille Day" are for little kids - not you! You're all grown up with a ponytail and patchy beard now! You still don't wear deodorant and you live in your parents' basement, but now I'm just nitpicking. (Fatass)

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!!

Reader Comments

Keith Davis
Grade = 8

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. (Scotty Dennin)
While I love the first 2/3rds of the album, it seriously lacks a finishing punch at the end. However the highlight for me is the live version of Witch Hunt (see my MP review). Very good tune! Force Ten is very well done, I like the fact that they changed it up a little bit in the middle.

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.
Rating = 5

I I originally gave this release a 4, but I've decided to go wild and raise that grade to a 5. Now you're all excited and want to go buy it! On the positive good news side, the guitar has regained its former status as lead musical instrument over the sissy whiny keyboards. Not that the keyboards have disappeared, understand, but the guitar is more present (and louder) than on the past few albums. However, too much of this songwriting is still stuck in the gear of Predictable. Decently evocative arpeggiated verses give way to 'heard this in a bajillion Phil Collins songs already' adult pop chord changes.

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?

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
Rush's fourth best album. Ah, what a relief from HYF and ASOH, Rush is finally back where they should be!! Presto is quite superb, however it is flawed by two songs, "Superconductor" and "War Paint." The rest of this album is tremendous, and these are better performances than most albums. "Scars," "Anagram (For Mongo)," "Red Tide," "Presto" and "Available Light" are some of the best songs ever written by Rush!!! "Show Don't Tell" and "Hand Over Fist" are very good, indeed. The rest of the songs are excellent, especially "The Pass" and "Chain Lightning." Overall, a 9/10 for this one!!! (Sean Harris)
PRESTO is probably my second favorite RUSH record, so calling it SHIT really pisses me off. Chain Lightning, the Pass, Presto, Superconductor, and Available Light are brilliant--some of the best lyric writing Neil's ever done. This album is a mature and polished Rush, and yes it is different from earlier work, but it's the opening for the next few great RUSH albums to come. Remember that RUSH does what RUSH wants to do....l (Garry Katz)
The best Rush album since Signals to date
MUCH better than the previous album. "Show Don't Tell" opens up in hard rocking fashion and even features a neat little Geddy Lee bass solo. "The Pass" is a fantastic ballad. Other highlights are the environmental rocker "Red Tide" and the gorgeous closer "Available Light". 8/10
The last half-descent record the band put out,love the bass in SHOW DON'T TELL. Side 1 is mostly good.
Late period Rush can be a little bewildering to the newcomer. My own impression is that of a series of mixed bags: half brilliant shit, half slightly forgettable, technically accomplished modern rock.

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...
The lead-off track to Presto, "Show Don't Tell", might lead one to believe that Rush had finally embarked upon a return to form. Unfortunately, this hope is dashed in the form of more watered-down, "Rush-lite" material. What we have essentially is Hold Your Fire II. The only solid songs are "Show", "Chain Lightning" and "The Pass", IMHO.
This is the only good album by rush, actually the only great one I should say. Unlike any of their other stuff this one has absolutely no bad songs. On previous albums they always had at least two or three horrible songs, except on signals. But here they really are much more consistent throughout. I think this one has their best playing ever. And the songwriting kicks ass as well. I say get this one today. This is better than any of their 70's or 80's work. Too bad nobody bought it.

Add your thoughts?

(Keith Davis Reviews) Chronicles - Mercury 1990
Rating = 8

This is supposedly a best of album. I don't think so. How can you have a best of without Rush's magnum opus, mmm!!! I don't think so.
Reader Comments (Keith Jones)
Where is Xanadu? (Corey Lampley)
This is great album it has every song that is great in one way or another. It also sets them in their orginal state. No remasters or nothing. Remasters are good but they just destroy what made them actually popular. If you think about it from the right direction. this album got me started on to rush and I never looked back. Their drummer is so god dam good it is not even funny. Some people call him a nerd I call him fucking smart as hell. Sure Geddy kinda has a annoying voice, it appears to be really bad in the early albums. You have to be aware of something the kind of music popular in the early 70's are like led zepplin and the who and so forth. Their lyrcts were messed up and their vocies were in a loud state also.

SO lets think about thinks like that. I mean is his voice that annoying in counterparts. I don't think so (Alex R)
If there`s anybody out there who wants to get to into Rush, this is the album to get. 28 songs that are all damn good!. But since it`s a double CD and you don`t want to spend a lot of money on it, go join Columbia House and get it for free, that`s what I did and it worked!. So don`t delay, act now!.

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Roll The Bones - Atlantic 1991.
Rating = 6

Pretty good. Probably their most effective predictable pop album. I don't think it had any hits, but the songs are nice to listen to. You can pretty much guess how every song's gonna go fifteen seconds into the intro, but I guess that's the nature of pop music. They sound like they're trying for a hit. Overdramatic popular music. Try some new chord sequences, guys! And don't sing "We are young," because you're not. You hear me??? You're not!!!! And maybe your dippy little tunes are supposed to take me on a journey, but they don't because they sound like Journey. Not bad, though. I don't want to paint a negative portrait of it. It is, after all, the best album they'd done in about eight years.

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?

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
This received a Juno award!! Rupert Hine's best production!! Roll The Bones is quite simply, Rush's third best album. Why not number 2? Well, it's quite close, "Roll The Bones," "Ghost Of A Chance," "Bravado" and "You Bet Your Life" are second only to "Mystic Rhythms!!" "Heresy," "Where's Your Thing?," "Dreamline" and "The Big Wheel" are superb. "Neurotica" and "Face-Up" are quite good!!! Overall, a 9/10 for this superb work of craftsmanship!!
Not bad at all. "Dreamline" and the title track are fantastic. "Bravado" is very pretty and the instrumental "Where's My Thing" is nice and funky. But I frigging hate "Ghost of a Chance", that song licks Liza Minelli's fat ass. 90s Rush, but worth your while. 7/10 (Steven J. Illidge)
And don't sing "We are young," because you're not. You hear me??? You're not!!!!

The correct lyric is 'when we are young'.

(not a rush fan, but bored nonethless)

Add your thoughts?

Counterparts - Atlantic 1993.
Rating = 7

I like this album! And I think I'm the only one. It kinda reminds me of Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation because it's very calculated and near-perfect radio music with no soul. But it's so catchy! On a couple of tunes, they've even toughened their guitar sound to keep up with the "grunge" era; most of the riffs are the same old simplistic pop music thing, though. They just seem more consistently hummable this time around. "Animate" is a hell of a start-off tune, and a lot of the others have really cool bits too. Sorta stupid funky. Sorta echoey. Sorta good!

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?

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
A step backward, indeed!!! Counterparts returns to the production of Peter Collins, who produced that superb album, Power Windows. Unfortunately, however something happens, Rush decides to be more "alternative." Big mistake, personally, I do not like "alternative" crap and that is what some of this is!! Don't get me wrong, much of Cp is quite good, but Rush's worst song is here. You know the one that I am speaking of, that malaise of the radio, "Stick It Out." Yuck, yuck and triple yuck!!, even Geddy's screeching beats this!! It is worth a 2 on a scale of 2 to 10, it's that horrible!!, and unfortunately tends to ruin an otherwise decent album!! The other songs, well we do have some great ones, "Animate," "Cut To The Chase," "Nobody's Hero" and "Cold Fire" are superb. The rest,well they're ok, not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, but that awful song, a throwback to "Lessons" should be burned at the stake!! Overall, a 7/10 for this one!! (David Straub)
Well, I've contributed this one to some used CD store's collection, but not before taping "Animate" off it-- what a kickass track... Still this album didn't do much for me... 5. (Thomas Hutley)
Since when did Neil Peart get all polically correct and sensitive? Writing stuff about Aids, dysfuntional families, and cold-hearted lovers? Eh? Huh? Last time I checked NONE of these band members -- least of all Geddy -- were named by People as sex cymbals. HA! Sorry. That's a little drummer boy humor. HA, again! But as I was saying, if Burger King is going charge me more cash for extra pickles (because one pickle slice does not a hamburger make) why don't they give me a discount because I don't want that stupid tomatoe puree and shredded onion glop!? And 40 cents for a processed bacon circle?!?! Come on, man! It's probably not even real pig, for goodness sake!! In fact, I KNOW it's not bacon because it looks and tastes like the thing I stepped in before I walked through the door, and that was no pile of pork let me tell you!!

"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!
This album kicks ass. I used to be THE die-hard rush fan. And even though there are some classic 70s albums out there by this trio, Counterparts ends up in my stereo the most. What can I say? The songs are decent and it cranks on the stereo more than any other album they did. And, for ONCE, even though I love Geddy's old bass playing, the guy is finally putting the bass where it belongs. The rhythm section. And he does a great job. (Keith Jones)
The first time I heard Counterparts, I loved it. It is a kick in the ass from start to finish. One of, or perhaps, the finest album. 10/10.

Well, Counterparts is awesome. I still can't figure out the comparison of Stick It Out to alternative. It never struck me that way at all. This all sounds like Rush--Rush in the 90's, yes, but Rush nonetheless. Favorites: Cut to the Chase, The Speed of Love, Double Agent, Leave That Thing Alone, Everyday Glory. Really good production--it rocks loud. Sets the door open nicely for the upcoming (and superb) Test for Echo (Corey Lampley)
This is the best rush album ever produce. IT finally hits the speakers the way it suppose to hit. Loud and heavy. Rush made a great choice by making this album. Roll the bones was so borely masterd and mixed. it was so boring there was nothing to it. If Roll the Bones had the same intensity that counterparts does it could have rocked and been a huge album. Think about the kinda of music being played now a days. "Korn, Mettalica, Everclear". People just don't want that complicated and long ass songs anymore. They chose to Rock and rock they did. Stick it out is so loud and it rocks. Leave that thing alone has a nice jazz beat to it. When you listen to this album think why they wrote it and the kind of music playing on the radio. This should be put as one of thier best albums. (H.V.C.)
Wow, I have three things to say:

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.
Counterparts Kicked ass. No doubt. Everyday Glory and (even though dispised by some) Nobody's hero are my favorites.
Whoah! The heaviness is back, where the hell did this come from? I don't know, but I like it. "Animate", "Stick it Out", "Cut to the Chase", "Alien Shore", "Cold Fire", these are all highlights. But "Double Agent" is a miserably failed experiment and "The Speed of Love" is the most inane song they've ever come up with. But there's lots to like about this album. 8/10 but that's a high 8. (Christopher S. Wilson)
aint complex? are you on drugs? listen to the bass line in Alien Shore or Leave that Thing Alone or the guitar solo on Cut to the Chase. aint complex? riight

Add your thoughts?

Test For Echo - Atlantic 1996.
Rating = 7

Well, here it is! At long last, the brand new Rush album! And what a wait it's been. So much has happened since this hot Canadian power trio unleashed their last furious platter, impacting radio from coast to coast. First and foremost, Bush began his War on Terrorism as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Then there was the controversial Enron scandal, wherein a bunch of oil-rich fat cats gave themselves huge bonuses while stealing the retirement funds of the hard-working common man. So let's dig in and see what Canada's Rush has to say about these contemporary matters.

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 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!

Reader Comments (Keith Davis)
Considered by some to be Rush's best 90's album!!! I disagree!!! It is not as good as RTB or Pr, but it definitely beats the "you know what" out of Cp. Many tracks are outstanding. "Time And Motion," "Resist," "Totem," "Carve Away The Stone," "The Color Of Right" and "Half The World" are superb!!! "Test For Echo" is great!!! But, "Virtuality" and "Dog Years" are very good, only!! Overall, a very good album --- 8/10!!!
10 out of 10 for this album, FOR SHIT'S SAKE.
I happen to be a big fan of Rush. I will admit, that their lyrics are sort of heady, but their music incredble. You just have to listen to ""Working Man alot, and you'll really appreciate them. Rush also has a very small fan following, that you're either in or out of. (TAD)
Trust me on this -- when yr 38, have 2 kids growing up 2 fast, & all yr best days seem 2 B behind U, "Time Stand Still" will make a lot more sense. I think it's their best ever. It slapped me right across the face the 1st time I heard it. It was like they were singin about my life, especially a couple key lines: "Children growing up, old friends growing older/Freeze this moment a little bit longer/Make each sensation a little bit stronger." (I start quoting lines & I wanna quote the whole thing....) It's a gorgeous track, but the lyrics add that Xtra oomph. Give it another listen & turn it up LOUD, that'll help 2. It's haunting.

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." (Guven Cagil)
You're one heck of a good writer. You've got a very good sense of humor. But you like so many others just don't get it when if comes to rush.

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?

Keith Davis
Okay, It has been nearly a year since I had last written. I have been busy steadily working on my website since then. I just wanted to let you know about several things, including the release of a triple live Rush album entitled: Different Stages. You would probably prefer Different Stages to most of Rush 1990's output. Personally, it isn't a recording that you can fully appreciate by headphone listening. Instead, it needs to be heard with speakers and cranked up at a louder volume. I would give this particular recording a 9/10. It contains: a much improved version of "2112," a live reading of "Natural Science," and yet another earlier version of "Xanadu," in addition to a live version of "Bravado," "Roll The Bones," "Stick It Out," (which sounds infinitely better than the studio version), "Dreamline," "Closer To The Heart," etc. The first cd also contains an enhancement, which tries to replicate a laser show. Personally, I still preferExit... Stage Left to this one; that will always be worthy of a 10! After purchasing the digitally remastered cd versions of Caress Of Steel, I have decided to increase the rating on that one to a 9/10; most of the songs on that cd are just too amazing! In any event, Counterparts deserves an 8/10 also. The digitally remastered version of Hemispheres deserves a 9/10. Additionally, I am increasing my rating of 2112 to an 8/10! (Sean Harris)
Ahem...this album kicks serious ass. This is like RUSH coming full circle and then shooting off into the stars. Driven is just amazing (my favorite here, although everything's great). Same with Half the World. Same with the title track, same with Virtuality, same with Resist and Carve Away the Stone. Nicely produced. Play it halfway up and it's still pretty loud! People that don't even know RUSH start going "hey--this is pretty good--what is it?" when you stick this in. Brilliant. (Ron & Bev)
I thought they couldn't top Counterparts, and then I heard this masterpiece. T4E is awesome. The title track brings back Pye Dubois, who wrote the awesome songs "Tom Saywer" and "Force Ten". "Driven" has a great bass line, "Half the World", "Totem" and "Resist" have a great combination of Electric and acoustic guitars. And they put the two hardest rocking songs back to back "Dog Years" and "Virtuality".

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?
Every rush album is a 10 out of 10. (Corey Lampley)
every rush album is great exept for their first album because they were not rush till Neil showed up
Wow, I cant beleive I just read the ramblings of X- amount of peaple,and none of them really now RUSH?!!!!! (Alex R)
Yes, a great album indeed. It seems that the older they get, the better they play. And I want to give a pat on the back to Keith Davis who has changed his opinions on the older Rush albums. Finally, somebody's actually paying attention for once. Anyways, TFE is great. 9/10. Mark, if you like Counterparts, then you' ll love this.
I'm loving the whole idea Rush going back to Guitar/Bass/Drums. This album is a perfection I think of what was completed on Counterparts and started with Roll the Bones. This album just kicks ass. It's great that they've gotten more groove and are just rocking out. I highly approve of this album and hope for more like it.
Another good album, looks like the keyboards are really in the background for good. The title track is one of the best songs they've ever done. "Driven" is aptly named because it has a driving riff. "Half the World" features a glorious chiming guitar. Lots of highlights. But "Dog Years" sucks my ass so hard it's touching my intestines. Why oh why do they have to taint almost every album with at least one piece of garbage. are they trying to upset me? oh well, this gets another 8. They're going into the studio in early 2001, we should have a new album in the fall. I await with bated breath.
TEST FOR PULSE!!!!!!! HAHAHA this band is no longer what they used to be,face it fans!
I have a fine Rush story for you. Twenty-odd years ago, a friend asked me to carry a copy of Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced? down Haight Street for him while he scored pot or some such. Since I am a river unto my people, what could I do but comply? While on this mission of mercy, I ran into an overweight, long-haired stoned kid whose face glowed with what we used to call, in those more innocent days, an "acid tan." He wanted to know what record I had, so I showed it to him.

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. (caress of steel)
hey...jackass!!! how many songs have you written?
rush = sux. bloody bunch of wankbags.
You talk a lot about Rush being for geeks, but what kind of loser devotes a whole page of album reviews to a band who he does not like and who's fans he criticizes? Man someone needs a life. Get off the internet and do something useful. (Kelli)
F**K ALL YOU PEOPLE - All you people are critics aren't you, RUSH is the best band in world and I'm only 18.You have three great musicians Geddy, the most amazing Bass player I have ever seen play the instrument.Alex, the most amazing guitar player.Neil (a.k.a The Professor) .ALL you people are wrong! (Mike Harras)
Another band I'm supposed to worship jus' because I'm a Canadian?!?! Sitting around the house smoking our LEGAL glaucoma medicine pipes, "hey Mike, play working man, play working man". I'm sick of it eh? We hear enough aboot these guys. Now Syrinx, THAT was a great Canadian prog-act but nobody remembers them.

Add your thoughts?

Different Stages: Live - Atlantic 1998
Rating = 6

Well, the "Fools In Rush" (fools rush in) have done it now. In order to keep "Rush limber" (rush limbaugh), they've released a TRIPLE-CD of live material -- two discs collected from '94 and '97 shows, and a third from 1978, the era of the '70s. The long-running Cold War between the U.S. and the "Rushins" may be over, but this latest b"Rush" with the law may be too much for "Ru"n-D.M.C.'s "sh"itty final album to "R"econcile n"u"tjob car"s" "h"i! So don't "Rush" to your local video album store to buy it, because you'll be c"Rush"ed when it "R"s"u"ck"sh"!

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:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
William Shatner!
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:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Tom Cruise!
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.


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.

Reader Comments
re: "See, you don't know the history of Tom Cruise. I do."

You're glib, Mark! Glib, glib, glib!

Add your thoughts?

Vapor Trails - Anthem/Atlantic 2002.
Rating = 8

I know this looks bad, but I SWEAR I haven't started playing Dungeons & Dragons and reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And having sex with guys. It's just that Rush at this late stage in their long nerdy career have honestly found a sound that I can enjoy!

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 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!

Reader Comments (Sean Harris)
Excellent record--probably their best, Test For Echo! Actually, I like this one a little more because it's just got a heavier sound overall. The songwriting is top stuff too, and Neil's lyrics are flowing bliss.

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! (Christopher S. Wilson)
you like vapor trails? it's rush's worst album to date. you're nuts.
“the production is strong”

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. (Mike Ledwith)
Rush really seems to have bounced back, after about three (what seem like to me) lackluster albums. Test for Echo really got me liking them, and now two in a row makes me hope that this is the start of a trend.

Someone needs to tell that Rich Bunnell kid that he's not funny. Really, really not funny. (Rich Bunnell)
Thanks - it's people like you who make it all worth it.
Well, I like this album. It's quite good for a latter-day release by a dinosaur band. Coulda used a better ending, but I can honestly say this one at least keeps me listening from start to finish. Nice riffage. Geddy still sounds like Helium Man. And "One Little Victory"--well, shit, that's the perfect example of a song with absolutely no original ideas that still manages to rule mercilessly.

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. (Bryan Balmer)
your kinda a cocksucker to tell you the truth, you shat on all those rush albums....and i mean, i wouldnt care, but the reasons you gave were just really stupid, its too keep talking about how their lyrics are too intelligent for you or something, i dont know what to tell you, its weird, and if you actually read the lyrics to fountain of lamneth from the caress of steel album, you'll see that its only a mythical thing on the surface, its more about life in general
Ok so Rush has been around for 30 years. That's like 10 less than the dinosaurs known as "Rolling Stones". That's pretty impressive. Well, I see that Prindle is way more into Ramones, Dead Kennedys, Motorhead, AC/DC,etc. I like those. Specially Motorhead but I also like that "nerd" music.I think that Rush is excellent. Fuck, they can write and they can play and they are good as hell at it. They are masters with their instruments and nobody can deny that shit. I don't think that listeninig to to a certain band or artist makes you gay (Well, maybe Linkin Park, 50 Cunt and his Gay Unit and Good Charlotte and all that shit...yeah maybe listening to those makes you gay) but the point is, this guys play good music. Well, I like this one. They don't play like before (Of course. They've been around for 30 years. They have to change....well, Motorhead doesn't change....but those are good) but they are good as hell. Fuck this. I like Rush, Dream Theater and I like Bach and Mozart.I'm a GEEK!!!!!!
Wow - you people have overrated Rush to a degree that is laughable.

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.
The long-awaited return of Rush...This belated follow-up to 1996's Test For Echo rocks as hard as both Echo and the 1993 release, Counterparts. Unfortunately, the production seems rather muddy in spots. However, there are a few standout cuts, including "Ceiling Unlimited", "Ghost Rider", "Earthshine", and "Freeze". 6.5/10

John Cable
I feel like I spent all these years missing out. Or maybe I wasn't ready. Me and my brother Jso owned every single Rush album ever released, even Different Stages which to me was pointless because I don't really like live albums and I don't think anything is added to listen to Rush live, they just play their studio songs but live, it's just about the same thing.

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
Rating = 7

It's named In Rio and it's by the Rushy band. Just like that river twisting through a dusty land. And when they shine, they really show you all they can. In Rio, compared to other Rush albums, is less bland.

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.


Reader Comments
This is my LEAST favorite Rush LP. The mix is not good at all. Sounds like the mikes were stuck in the wrong place or something. Just not a good recording. Hard to listen to and impossible to enjoy. And the music sounds as if the guys were kind of tired and just played through the motions. Very disappointing, this one.

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Feedback EP - Atlantic 2004
Rating = 8

When my advisors interrupted me during the story about the pet goat to tell me that Canadian super trio Rush Limbaugh had just released an EP of '60s covers, I was absolutely livid. You do NOT interrupt me during a goat story. I love goatys, I've always loved goatys and dogdammit, my advisors KNOW that! Would you interrupt the Pope during his daily diaper change to tell him that Jesus was nailing a 12-year-old boy? Would you interrupt Garth Brooks during his daily hat to tell him you murdered his wife? Hells no! You would do none of these things and more!

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?


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!

Reader Comments
… Ahh Rush. If only they were an instrumental band, now wouldn’t that be nice, wouldn’t that be a little more soothing to the ears? Instead of having to listen to Geddy Lee squealing like the Wicked Witch of the West… (Jeff Koon)
Hi Mark....been reading your site since 1996....really helped me through some long lonely times!!!! Always hold your site in a special place. Back then, no one knew about, you seem to be the number one independent reviewer on the net!!! :)

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" 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 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 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. (Lynn Mason)

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
Rating = 7

You know how record reviewers are always calling bad music "tripe" because they saw another record reviewer do it? Well, tripe has become a key component of Henry The Dog's new kidney-friendly diet and he simply LOVES it! Why, just this morning my wife opened a brand new can of tripe that stank so badly, Henry started squeaking every toy in the room (we often ask him to "Make it squeak!" before letting him eat a meal. It's a hilarious trick for all the people in the world.) before getting so upset that he started HOWLING at Brenda (my wife) (or "Mommy," as Henry knows her) to hurry up and put the stinky tripe on his stinky Hill's KD kidney-friendly dog food so he could savor its luscious stinky flavor! "Arooooooo!" he said, according to sources.

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.

Reader Comments
Agree with everything. And I absolutely hate the riff on Far Cry. Reminds me of a Dream Theater riff when they were trying to be heavy but still remained boring. I can't remember the song but Dream Theater has an identical riff. Anyway yea Rush fanboys will eat this up as well as they should and complain as to why Rush isn't in the rocknroll hall of fame again.
I used to love Rush, but now....ugh! Be gone you elderly fools!

'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.

John Cable
I haven't listened to Rush for years, and the last album of theirs I bought was Test for Echo. I notice our reader review says 10/10 INCREDIBLE. Me and Josh didn't even like the album that much. :(

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.

Mark Corbett
The main thing I noticed after a few listens of Snakes & Arrows was that some of the songs contain hints of older Rush songs:

‘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.

John Cable (again again after many more months!!!!!!)
Boy this is embarrassing. Why did I say "socially retarded young kid that's long gone"? The only long gone part is the "kid," now I'm just a socially retarded 31 year old.

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
Rating = 7

I was resting on my laurels the other day when I suddenly realized, "WAIT JUST A GODDAMNED MOTHERFUCKING MINUTE, ASSHOLE!!!! IT'S BEEN FIVE YEARS SINCE RUSH PUT OUT A TRIPLE-LIVE CD!!!!" I did a quick online webinar with leading members of the stock market and learned that, indeed, Rush had issued another extended live CD. "THANK THE SHIT OUT OF COCKSUCKING GOD, MOTHERFUCKER!!!!" I exclaimed to Bill Gates, Donald Trump and other wealthy and successful men before logging off to go buy what was bound to be the finest triple-live-CD of the year (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.

Reader Comments
hmm... i actually like "Circumstances". Probably my favorite thing on Hemispheres. Besides the 20 minute opening track. And "La Villa Whatever". Well, i like it more than "The Trees" anyway.

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.
At one point, I got ahold of some Rush concert bootlegs and even a walk-through prior to going on tour. They all sound exactly like the albums. I haven't purchased or even listened to an actual Rush live album since Exit... Stage Left for this exact reason. I don't know who the suckers are that go buy all these Rush Live albums.
Man, I just read your Rush page and it was one of the most enjoyable pages of yours that I've read! I don't even like Rush but your writing at least made me want to listen to some of it. My friend once came to me in the halls with lyrics to "The Trees" that he'd printed out, because they were so uproariously miserable that they needed to be peddled about like a shrunken head.

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.


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