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Old 04-25-2010, 06:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default If you choose not to read these reviews, you still have made a choice...Rush Reviewed


RUSH

So, I decided to jump on the discography review bandwagon. I had a hard time deciding which band to start with, but then I saw "I Love You, Man" on TV again recently, saw Rush make an appearance, and knew my decision had been made. My favorite Canadian band, one of my favorite progressive rock acts, and one of the biggest influences on my own personal guitar playing, Rush just make really great music. They are also one of the most enduring bands in music. All three members can be considered virtuosos on their instruments, yet still make incredibly well crafted music as they all know when to give each other space and when it is time to shine.

For those that have the misfortune of not knowing Rush, they formed initially in 1968 and rotated members around until 1971 when they settled on guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee, and drummer John Rutsey. They released one album with Rutsey, but he soon resigned due to health reasons and a distaste for touring. This could not have been more fortunate for the band as they soon recruited drum god Neil Peart, one of the greatest drummers of all time. With this lineup, Rush has lasted over 30 years and released 18 original albums, a covers album, and 8 live albums.

Considering Rush's wealth of material, I think I have plenty to work with. A discography this large can seem daunting to some, so I hope these reviews will help people who are curious to get into this amazing band as well as promote a discussion for other fans of Rush out there. So, if this has sparked any interest, read on!

Rush (1974) - REVIEWED (6.5/10)
Fly By Night (1975) - REVIEWED (7.5/10)
Caress of Steel (1975) - REVIEWED (7.5/10)
2112 (1976) - REVIEWED (8/10)
All the World's a Stage (Live) (1976) - REVIEWED (8/10)
A Farewell to Kings (1977) - REVIEWED (9/10)
Hemispheres (1978) - REVIEWED (9/10)
Permanent Waves (1980) - REVIEWED (10/10)
Moving Pictures (1981) - REVIEWED (10/10)
Exit...Stage Left (Live) (1981) - REVIEWED (10/10)
Signals (1982) - REVIEWED (8/10)
Grace Under Pressure (1984) - NOT REVIEWED
Grace Under Pressure Live (1984) - NOT REVIEWED
Power Windows (1985) - NOT REVIEWED
Hold Your Fire (1987) - NOT REVIEWED
A Show of Hands (Live) (1989) - NOT REVIEWED
Presto (1989) - NOT REVIEWED
Roll the Bones (1991) - NOT REVIEWED
Counterparts (1993) - NOT REVIEWED
Test For Echo (1996) - NOT REVIEWED
Different Stages (Live) (1998) - NOT REVIEWED
Vapor Trails (2002) - NOT REVIEWED
Rush in Rio (Live) (2003) - NOT REVIEWED
Feedback (2004) - NOT REVIEWED
Rush R30 (Live) (2005) - NOT REVIEWED
Snakes and Arrows (2007) - NOT REVIEWED
Snakes and Arrows Live (2008) - NOT REVIEWED
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Looking forward to this. I've been looking to get into Rush but don't yet know what's worth getting.
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Old 04-25-2010, 07:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I met a guy last year who loves Rush, saw them live on Snakes and Arrows and a few other tours...he actually showed me a bass that Geddy Lee had used on a tour, said it was too beat up to use and that he was trying to fix it. Pretty cool stuff! Forgot to ask how he got it, though.

Anyway, I've always been one of those people who thought 2112 was pretty neat, liked Moving Pictures but outside of that just gave occasional listens to Grace Under Pressure and Permanent Waves, mostly to "Spirit of the Radio" and "Red Lenses".

So I'll read this with pleasure, and maybe broaden my horizons - the one issue I have is that it seems like their lyrics are even MORE nonsensical and stupid than other prog bands, though that might just be shortsightedness or lack of understanding - perhaps my viewpoint is wrong. I look forward to this!

Oh, and Peart's drumming gets a bit unnecessarily thick at times, like he's just drumming for the hell of it. On tour I'm sure it's amazing, but when he does it on a song it drags on a bit. Phenomenal drummer, though.
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This is a daunting task. There a few Rush albums that I don't want to listen to again and definitely wouldn't want to review. Looking forward to reading the reviews though. This is one of my favorite prog bands.

EDIT: Also, well done on the thread title. I love that line in "Freewill".
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Nice work on the thread title. I've always liked Rush although I haven't really listened to much of their post-Power Windows material. Geddy Lee is an inspirational bassist (not so much an inspirational vocalist though ). And they actually managed to put out some good stuff in the 80s... Signals has to be one of my favourite Rush albums. And it's cool that they're open to self-parody and entertainment in general (I'm referring to their appearances on ATHF and Trailer Park Boys).
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the interest, guys! I have my work cut out for me, but I've found something to enjoy in almost every Rush album. So, without further ado, here is:

Rush (1974)



Rush's debut album can be considered somewhat of an anomaly in the Rush discography. This album has a very hard rock Led Zeppelin vibe to it, and while they manage to pull the sound off well it lacks the originality and progressive complexity their later work has. Despite that, there are still a lot of Rush-isms that hint to us what to expect in later albums. Alex Lifeson's guitar work always manages to blend interesting chords together with the almighty power chord. He always seems to know when to use one or the other, and that ability to recognize when to use simplicity rather than self indulge in guitar work he is obviously capable of is what helped set Rush apart from other progressive rock bands. Though this album is rife with your everyday classic rock riffs, there is something behind them that makes the songs interesting. Geddy Lee was obviously born knowing how to play bass, because even in this album he is able to take Lifeson's riffs and imbue them with life like no one else can. Without his incredibly creative basslines, these songs would be so dull and typical they probably would have never gotten a record deal. The creative chemistry between Geddy and Alex is unreal.

Not much can really be said about John Rutsey's drumming. He was a competent drummer, but knowing that Neil Peart is a scant album away leaves me wondering what this album could have been with him there. Not to mention that Peart took on most of the lyric writing duties once he joined. In fact, the lyrics are probably the most jarring aspect of this album. Geddy sings about topics that are things Rush just never really sings about. In later albums, they cover sci fi themes, fantasy, and social commentary. I mean, really now, who wants to hear someone like Geddy Lee, with his balls-in-a-vice falsetto, sing, “Hey baby, it's a quarter to eight, I feel I'm in the mood,” on “In the Mood”? What a creeper.

Overall, the album is enjoyable. Not surprisingly, it's the more progressive songs that I find are the standouts for me. “Here Again” has some great moments, and “Working Man” (the definite highlight of the album) is a Rush concert mainstay even to this day. There is some really great riffwork in there. I wouldn't recommend starting here for Rush newbies, but I wouldn't avoid this album, either. Come to this one after you've gotten to know some of their more recognized material. There really isn't a bad song on here, but Rush is capable of so much more.

That is why I give this album a 6.5/10. This is based solely in comparison to the amazing work they do just a couple albums later.



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Old 04-25-2010, 11:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've never really gotten into Rush (I kind of hate to say it because everyone does, but Geddy Lee's voice is annoying as ****). Perhaps this thread can turn me.
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conan View Post
Looking forward to this. I've been looking to get into Rush but don't yet know what's worth getting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by storymilo View Post
I've never really gotten into Rush (I kind of hate to say it because everyone does, but Geddy Lee's voice is annoying as ****). Perhaps this thread can turn me.
Well, I hope to turn you guys into die hard Rush fans. Although, Geddy's voice is actually the big reason I hear when it comes to Rush hate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OctaneHugo View Post
So I'll read this with pleasure, and maybe broaden my horizons - the one issue I have is that it seems like their lyrics are even MORE nonsensical and stupid than other prog bands, though that might just be shortsightedness or lack of understanding - perhaps my viewpoint is wrong. I look forward to this!
I love their lyrics...I don't find them too nonsensical. They usually cover some pretty cool issues. Are there any specific songs you are talking about?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seltzer View Post
Nice work on the thread title. I've always liked Rush although I haven't really listened to much of their post-Power Windows material. Geddy Lee is an inspirational bassist (not so much an inspirational vocalist though ). And they actually managed to put out some good stuff in the 80s... Signals has to be one of my favourite Rush albums. And it's cool that they're open to self-parody and entertainment in general (I'm referring to their appearances on ATHF and Trailer Park Boys).
Thanks! Signals is one of my favorites also. I also really like Grace Under Pressure, but that seems to be iffy for some people. Neil Peart showing up in the ATHF movie was hilarious. "The drum solo of life!" They also have some pretty entertaining videos playing during their concerts as well.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've really been in a writing mood recently, so I was able to pump out the next review.

Fly By Night (1975)


Enter the Peart. Yes, ladies and gentleman, little did Geddy and Alex realize when they brought on this humble tractor-part salesman they were hiring a drumming legend. His style and intensity are apparent right from the start with the lead track “Anthem”. Natural and complex all at once, Peart's drumming fit perfectly with Geddy's all-over-the-place bass and Lifeson's smooth-yet-rocking guitar. In a sense, “Fly By Night” can be considered the true Rush debut.

This is the album where we start to see Rush's first true progressive leanings. In a broad sense, the music is still very Zeppelin-inspired, but there is something in the music just dieing to break out. “By-Tor and the Snow Dog” can be considered their first progressive rock attempt, as it is divided into parts, tells a clear narrative story, and clocks in at over 8 minutes. It is also a really damn good song. The rest of the album is really a straight ahead hard rock affair, but the songwriting is much stronger than their self titled debut. The riffwork is incredibly catchy as Geddy and Alex have obviously grown more accustomed to each others' styles. It is also amazing how Neil was able to settle in with the music so seamlessly. His style is so intense that a less talented drummer would have sounded forced in. However, it sounds as if he has been playing with the band for years.

Another vast improvement over the debut is the lyrics. With Geddy and Alex not really interested in lyric writing, they willingly handed the job over to Neil. Neil Peart is a die-hard Ayn Rand fan, and this has come across in a number of their albums. The lead song “Anthem” is inspired by the book of the same name. That theme will also be revisited on their prog epic “2112”. He also writes many mythology and fantasy inspired songs, such as the previously mentioned “By-Tor and the Snow Dog”. He also writes your straight ahead songs about life, such as the title track (a song about dropping everything, leaving everything behind, and starting anew). It is actually hard to determine what helped the band more, his epic drumming or his insightful lyrics. Just go listen to “In the Mood” off the debut one more time if you are not convinced.

This album is rife with little treasures of songs (“Anthem”, “By-Tor and the Snow Dog”, and “Fly By Night” being my personal favorites). Overall, I give this album a 7.5/10. A vast improvement, but still not quite there. It is hard to pick out faults in the album (aside from the "Lord of the Rings" themed "Rivendell"...that song is pretty boring), but this still isn't their strongest work. I also still wouldn't start with this one if you are new to the band. You really couldn't go wrong if you did, but this is hardly among their best. They will soon do much, much better.



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Old 04-26-2010, 09:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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For your entertainment:

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