Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Musical Geekery

Well, here's something I can talk about, although I suspect it might be of interest to maybe one person. Maybe. But I did actually follow through on my plan to listen to Rush's entire discography in order. (Well, almost. I left out the live albums. Those don't really count, right?) I ended up having a lot of time to spend on it during my get-crap-done week, since physical labor goes much more pleasantly with music, but even so, it did take me a little while. But I can now make the following observations:
  • Those very early albums, where they're still kind of trying to sound like a Canadian Led Zeppelin, are always better than I remember them being.
  • I can see why people complain about the synth-heavy period during the 80s. I've got nothing against synth, myself, but, well... While the individual songs from that period are mostly just fine, in aggregate they eventually become pretty boring.
  • Roll the Bones, on the other hand, still tops my Desert Island Discs list, and I genuinely never get tired of listening to it. I could easily have just played the whole thing all over again when it finished.
  • It seems I have finally reached the point where I can once again listen to Counterparts without a vague feeling of uneasiness, an unfortunate conditioned response traceable back to the time when I rolled my truck while listening to it.
  • Vapor Trails would probably be a good album if you could hear the damned thing. Guys, if you release a remaster of that puppy, I will pay for it. I swear.
  • Snakes & Arrows has been on pretty heavy rotation for me since it came out, and I don't seem to have quite gotten tired of it yet. I think it's arguably as good as anything else they've done (my deep and personal attachment to Roll the Bones aside), which is a great thing to be able to say about a band 40 years on.

And there you have it. Definitely time to go and listen to something else now, though. Well, maybe I could do Roll the Bones again...


  1. It probably would interest one of my college friends (whom I don't think you ever met). He's a Rush fan, too. Shall I pass along your blog URL to him and ask him to comment?

  2. Feel free to pass on the URL if you think he'd like to read my (honestly not all that interesting) musical ramblings. But he certainly needn't feel obliged to comment, in any case. :)

  3. Gary wanted me to post a comment on his behalf:
    -He says it's really cool that you listened to all those.
    -He agrees with you on the early albums being better than he remembers(when he gave them another listen)
    -The only thing he disagrees on(only a matter of opinion) is that he thinks their synth heavy period of the best(He of course is huge synth fan).
    -100% agree on the Vapor Trails comment.
    -Also Roll the Bones is one of their best albums. He also wants to put a plug in for Presto his second favorite after Permanent Waves.

    As far as myself goes,I sort of like the synth stuff, but I guess I know where you are coming from taking all the songs together. It's sort of a duality. I enjoy both the complex guitar heavy songs and the lighter more pop (sorry I can't think of another word). Sort of why I love weirded out Peter Gabriel Genesis and mainstream Phil Collins Genesis hahahahahaha.

    I do think that Snakes and Arrows is the best thing since Roll the Bones. In fact it's one of my favorites. Regardless, Rush are quality musicians who continue to produce 40 years later. Now, I'm going to listen to Jacob's Ladder because I love that song :)

  4. Hi, Gary!

    The synthy period, I think, gets a fair amount of criticism, and I'm usually inclined to be the one defending it. I like synth just fine, myself, and there are some terrific songs from that period. But having sort of marathoned them all, I do have to admit that there's a certain... vibrancy... that's lacking there, and the contrast with the stuff that comes both before and after it is pretty noticeable. By the time I got to Presto, I found myself thinking, "Huh, maybe even I can eventually get bored with Rush." (Which is kind of sad, because I don't disagree that Presto, taken by itself, is a fine album.) And then I hit the 90s and Roll the Bones, and wow did the interest suddenly return! So I think the moral is, don't listen to their entire 80s output in the space of two days. :)