|06-09-2006, 06:11 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Manchester, NJ
Rush - Hemispheres
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After the Rush's album ‘A Farewell to Kings’ we heard about a voyage of Rocinante into the black hole Cygnus X-1. This left many questions unanswered – did they survive? Did their ship survive?
This story telling epitomizes the style of early Rush and leaves us hanging on the edge waiting for the next installment in the story. Luckily the wait wasn’t too long as Cygnus C-1 continues on the album Hemispheres.
On first look at the album you may be disappointed that there are only four songs on the album; however on close inspection, one of the songs is in fact a 20 minute extravaganza which is essentially made of several parts (Six different songs with the same underlying theme).
Cygnus X-1: Book II: Hemispheres
For those pedants out there, this isn’t a continuation of Book I but is more a mythological story that ties into the story told in Book I. As you move through the six parts of this Book, you will be amazed by the different nuances, time changes and style changes. You move from hard rock to soft ballad almost unnoticeably as you find yourself pulled into the excellent story telling lyrics of Neil Peart. The bass lines are at times sublime and at times powerful as the lead guitar sings beautifully. The talented trio really show you what their instruments can do in this virtuoso performance of a great storytelling song(s). This is very intensive music at times as the story continues through the various parts of the song. Many will draw parallels to ‘2001:a space Odyssey’ as the story becomes very strange and mythical.
This song alone is worth buying the Album as it perfectly demonstrates the skill of Rush and their ability to transcend mere songs and produce quality storytelling entertainment.
After the intensity of Cygnus X-1, this song is a refreshing and enjoyable change. It is a short fast paced song that deals with the reality with life. Like many of Rush’s early songs it is introspective and really forces you to listen and think deeply about the lyrics and their inward portrayal of life.
‘There is unrest in the forest’
‘There is trouble in the trees’
‘For the Maples want more sunlight’
‘And the Oaks ignore their please’
The opening verse to the song is very intriguing as we listen to the soft classical strumming of Alex Lifeson’s guitar. This beautifully rendered opening le ads on to a heavier yet highly musical rock song. The lyrics are very metaphorical and open to debate. Although they can be taken literally, my own feelings is that they are commenting on the World’s ‘bullies’ and how they may listen to the troubles of the World but really only look after their own interests.
This song is an instrumental hard rock song with superior sound and excellent thought provoking lyrics. This is yet another great example of the musical talents of this band.
La Villa Strangiato
One of the first (perhaps the first?) fully instrumental songs that Rush produced. More like a jam session than a planned track, this song starts out gently and masterfully builds up both in energy and power as we are caught up in the classic power chords, amazing bass melodies and clever percussion that trul make this song awesome. This instrumental is sheer excellence showing the rest of the rock world what Rock Instrumentals are all about. You really don’t need or require lyrics in this song.
I have most of the Rush albums now, and without exception this is the best (in my opinion) overall Rush album so far. It is a high quality power surge that demonstrates the great skill of each of the musicians and shows off their additional qualities of great lyricists and storytellers. The whole album is masterful and whereas most albums have a weak song or two, this album does not. I have thought about Rush’s best albums for months now, and although most will argue that 2112 is the best album, I think purist rock lovers will concede that this album is musically more rounded and lyrically superior.
Whatever your own personal thoughts this album is still excellent and gives a great example of Rush music at its best.
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|09-02-2006, 03:17 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2006
By the way, I have a buddy who has 8track demos of "moving pictures" that has quite different versions of songs. There is a version of Tom Sawyer that is quite a bit faster and the solos are all different.