Monday, May 28, 2007

New Music Monday - Rush

God, I’ve been so damn busy lately there’s been precious little time to post anything. I have, however done something I haven’t done in about 27 years. I went out and bought a new album by Rush. Back in high school, I was a huge Rush fan, seeing them perform live numerous times, including a show on Easter Sunday, 1980, much to the dismay of my parents (but how cool they were for letting me go).

From 1979-81 or so, Rush was at the top of their game, releasing their best albums in Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures and Hemispheres. A simple formula has always worked for this trio; virtuoso musicianship, literate lyrics, and Geddy Lee’s distinctive voice. Their music is not as complex as it sounds, as my high school garage band was able to play convincing covers of many Rush classics. As much as I loved their music, college came around and my musical tastes drifted to U2, REM and Talking Heads, and I left Rush behind.

27 years have passed since their heyday, over 30 since they formed, and miraculously the Canadian trio just keeps plugging on. On Snakes & Arrows, there’s nothing new under the sun, but it’s satisfying, well written and exceptionally well played rock music. Critics have always found Rush music to a little pretentious, with weak melodies and egg-head lyrics, they consider Rush to be the last dinosaurs of ‘prog-rock.’ I’ll agree with some of that, but these guys believe so strongly in what they’re doing you have to respect them. They are honing their craft to perfection. In many ways, I find this much more interesting than what the Stones are doing, for example.

At this point, Rush is probably playing to die-hard long time fans, and not winning many new ones, although I was pleased to see the new album in the Top 20 for a few weeks, right up there with Daughtry and Nickelback. Let’s see what those bands are up to in 35 years. Rush is on tour this fall and I think I’m going to take my 12-year old son (not surprisingly, he loves the 2112 Overture). Bring on the dry ice and drum solos.

One of two great new instrumental tracks: The Main Monkey Business

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