Friday, February 10, 2012

"The Top Ten Project, Part 7: Post-"Moving Pictures" Rush" : THE WEEKEND MIX

JP has left a new comment on your post: 

"Here's a top 10 list challenge: top 10 Rush songs since Moving Pictures."

Challenge accepted, though I needed to hand this off to my good friend, bassist for one of my very favorite bands, The Electric Mess (check them out HERE please), and Rush aficionado, Derek Davidson.

You see, I too stopped digging Rush right after "Moving Pictures." But after listening to this collection, curated by Mr. D., I realized I'd been missing some great music.

Let me turn this over to Derek.

"Even if you hated Rush in the 80's and 90's, now you gotta give it up for them...otherwise you're just being an old d*ck head"

That is a paraphrase from Matt Stone, co-creator of "South Park" (and also the Tony winning "The Book of Mormon" in case I lost you at "South Park") from the terrific film "Beyond the Lighted Stage," a feature length, award-winning documentary on the rock band Rush.  Whether you like Rush or not, or used to like Rush or not, or even if you've always hated them, it's about time you at least paid them a little mind as they might be better than you think


1. "Subdivisions" (1982) - the first song off of Signals, their first album post-Moving Pictures. Notable for it's heavy use of keyboards, perhaps a foreshadowing of things to come throughout the 80's, but still great band interplay as Geddy deftly switches from keys to bass.  Also, one of their most memorable videos.

2. "The Enemy Within" (1984) - From Grace Under Pressure. Rush adds ska elements into their ever expanding sound, and skinny ties & Capezios into their wardrobe.  For Rush fans, this is Part 1 of the "Fear" trilogy (preceded by, in reverse order, Part Two: "The Weapon" (Signals) and Part Three "Witch Hunt (Moving Pictures).

3. "Marathon" (1985) - From Power Windows.  Geddy's bass drives this song.  Really nice vocal melody, and great odd-time signature break starting at around 2:55.  There are a lot of keys, but tastefully done, and rousing finale.  Great live number.

4. "Time Stand Still" (1987) - A great pop song, Rush-style, featuring Aimee Mann on background vocals and seriously high vocals from Geddy.  A much thinner, more compressed sound on this track from Hold Your Fire, their 12th album.  Check out the very cheesy video.

5. "The Pass" (1989) - from Presto.  Just a real nice song, with thoughtful lyrics about teen suicide.  Another great live song, and the keys are already quite diminished by this point, though still audible.

6. "Roll the Bones" (1991) - title track from their 14th album.  Love it or hate it (I hated it for a long time), it's a more streamlined, even funky (for Rush) sound than before, with a nice chorus, tasty guitar solo, and even a "rap" by Geddy (this is where you can love it or hate it), but admittedly it's tongue in cheek. Must be included in a Top 10 as Rush played it almost every tour since its release, dropping it in the late 2000s, Roll the Bones became Rush's first US Top 5 album since 1981's  peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200, and eventually went Double Platinum. It also gained them a new, younger audience that would sustain them through the 90's and beyond. "Where's My Thing?" from this album would be nominated for a Grammy for Best Instrumental.

7.  "Animate" (1993) - From Counterparts, Rush's fifteenth album, it became Rush's highest charting album in the US, peaking at #2 on the Billboard 200 (only behind Pearl Jam's vs), it went Platinum. Note: only pointing out charts stats to show that Rush was still a vital, best selling band even into the 1990's, more than 10 years after Moving Pictures.

8. "Far Cry" (2007) - From Snakes & Arrows, their 18th studio album.  Has an old school Rush feel to it, like something off "A Farewell to Kings" or "Hemispheres," at least to this writer.  The album debuted at #3 on the The Billboard 200 chart where it remained for 14 weeks.

9. "How It Is" (2002) - From their Vapor Trails album, their first after a 6 year lay off due to the death of both Neil Peart's wife and daughter within the same year, the lyrics take on a more personal bent overall. Shades of "Lakeside Park" and "Fly By Night" almost 30 years later.

10. "Digital Man" (1982) - also from Signals, a tight, snappy rocker, with great playing throughout, and displaying some of their great reggae chops (also in evidence on Permanent Waves, eg. "The Spirit Of Radio"), influenced no doubt by The Police, who Neil Peart has cited as "one of the new bands that had inspired them.

If the fact that Rush are third behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band doesn't impress you, it should.  You'd be hard pressed to find another rock band whose first album came out in 1974, who possesses 24 gold records and 14 platinum (3 multi-platinum) records, and still tours to packed houses around the world if the last good album they released was in 1981 and their average fan age was 48.  Rush is still being discovered and re-discovered by people of all ages. Maybe that's you.

Some fans have argued that they were better in the 70's and early 80's before all the "keyboards took over" (as if they were invaded by Martians), and depending on your tastes it might be true - but that is the purpose of this post: to
show that Rush still had plenty to offer past "Moving Pictures" from 1981, arguably their peak album, on which you will find the modern rock classics "Tom Sawyer," "Red Barchetta," "YYZ," and "Limelight" - and that is just side one!

Rush were just restless enough and inspired enough by what was going on around them, for better or worse (rather than still churning out side long prog-rock epics and "working man" guitar riffs as many "fans" would have preferred); a band who created music that was still relevant
to the time they lived in, up to a point of course: they're still Rush!   Over 30 years have elapsed since "Moving Pictures," as well as ten studio albums, and they are still going strong with a new album due this year.  

This mix is made up mostly of deeper album cuts that your casual Rush fan may not know, though some songs are just too big to leave out of a Top 10 mix.  For the non-Rush fan,
you may like some of these songs, you might like none of them, but if you don't at least listen, you're "just being an old d*ck head...



itsok2beright said...

Ok, maybe I might be a d*ckhead. Signals was the last Rush album I bought. I longed for the return to the epics such as Necromancer and 2112. Though their style changed with the times, I didn't adapt fast enough. It might have something to do with my over-infatuation with their early style. I think I saw them about a dozen times within a few years. Their five night stays at the Palladium were 'to die for'.

I certainly respect their staying power and enjoy their newer music when they are on the radio or my itunes. I just find it hard to listen to the new stuff knowing that there is that link to the amazing past. Or, then again, maybe it has to do with Neil Peart looking like Tom Hanks.

I guess I will have to pick up one of their newer releases when I go get the new Van Halen this weekend. (Yes, I still buy my music at stores!)

Anonymous said...

A lot of my favorite Rush albums/songs come in the post Moving Pictures years so this is excellent stuff for a drivetime mix for me - many thanks.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I've never heard any Rush albums. The only song I know had "Tom Sawyer" in it somehow. I've got the zip. I'll check it out. Thanks for trying to expand my horizons.

Anonymous said...

Yes! I was going to request this. Thanks.


steve simels said...

I'm kind of partial to "Limelight." And "Take Off," obviously.

But I saw them in '74 or '75, on a bill with somebody can't recall but whom I was there to see instead, and I found them beyond painful.

Of course, this is when they were still sort of a bluesy sludge-power trio with vocals only dogs could hear...

Anything Should Happen said...

I can understand your comment from that era Steve,they began as Zep copyists, they've changed a lot since then, the eighties stuff has some great shorter songs spoiled by the keyboard sound and Lifeson thinking he was Andy Summers.

I love all Rush eras, however I listen more to stuff post Moving Pictures than pre these days.

I'm gonna list my ten in a mo.

Anything Should Happen said...

I've gone for one off each of the 10 studio albums since (excluding the Feedback covers mini album) as there is something ace on every album.

Album choices for the novice would be Grace Under Pressure, Roll The Bones and Snakes And Arrows.



Emotion Detector

Prime Mover

The Pass

Ghost Of A Chance

Cut To The Chase

Half The World

Ceiling Unlimited

Workin' Them Angels

Derek Davidson said...

Nice list, Don. Post-Moving Pictures is actually a lot more accessible, though still nice to revisit the older stuff. More song oriented, while still pretty chops heavy. I admit I did write them off for a long time after Signals, but got back into them at some point and checked out a lot of albums I wrote off. The keys we can blame as a sign of the times but once you get past that, there's plenty underneath and strong songwriting, and Geddy's playing in the 80's is just too much, especially on Power Windows. "The Pass" is just one of my favorites... subtle but powerful.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

All right, all right, I'll listen to the zip with some back bacon and a Molson, eh? Never cared much for Geddy's voice, "Take Off" was great though.

Jeff in Denton TX said...

Good selections--especially for the unfamiliar. I'm kind of surprised you didn't include any tracks from "Test For Echo." "Signals" may actually be my favorite Rush album overall. I'm a fan of all stages of their career. Some of the 90's and 00's albums may have suffered from too much filler because of the increased time capacity of CD's versus LP's, but all have been generally solid outings. The keyboard sounds may be a bit dated, but I don't really mind them as long as the songs are well-written. "Power Windows" is keyboard-drenched, but is one of their most consitent efforts songwise.

wardo said...

I agree with the first seven. And I would throw in The Pass, Mission and Distant Early Warning (and probably substitute Red Sector for Afterimage). Now excuse me while I go listen to "Marquee Moon" again.

Marsupial said...

So, upon my graduation from High School, in 1984, a semi-friend wrote in my yearbook "Someday you will learn the power of RUSH and you will say 'I used to listen to DUXRAXNSSIXXENXX'" (Duran Duran, I think). Thanks for trying to fulfill the prophecy 27 years later...

Hey -- Ramon -- look! I'm writing a Rush post!!

Peter said...

How about Rush's latest single, "Caravan"?

I think it's a magnificently muscular return to form for the band.

soundsource said...

in my effort to try to be more open to music that I used to dismiss for no good reason other than musical snobbery and short sightedness I have tried in recent years to listen to bands like Rush (that is bands that I didn't really listen to but had an opinion about, usually negative) with more open ears.
All that being said I still don't really get Rush. Musical virtuosity, yes and maybe it's just Geddy Lee's voice but they still strike me as souless and mechanical and not particularly original with kinda silly lyrics.
It's funny I like Yes (to a point) and early Genesis but I guess people might say the same thing about them and maybe Jon Anderson's voice (not the original part) but to me Rush are kinda like a progressive Grateful Dead (another band I've never really gotten with a rabid following) overrated and adored by their fans.
Don't mean to cause a brouhahahahaha but i felt like exercising my fingers at the expense of your readership.
By the way I watched the recent Rush documentary and they seem like really nice guys who are committed to their fans and music and I actually met Geddy's mother who is a nice old jewish lady living in south Florida. "maybe you've heard of my son Gary he's a musician too with a group called Rush", she really said that to me, pretty funny.
So I'm gonna go back and listen to all their stuff and give it one more try.

by the way word verification "doggly" probably what many of your readers think about me know.

Derek Davidson said...

All fair comments, soundsource. and at least you're more open minded than "" - i think some things you just have to chalk up to "personal taste". i can see all your arguments for soulless (that's why there's Donny Hathaway) or cold and mechanical, but that is maybe precisely what i like about them - though I personally feel there is a lot of passion and emotion in there in the same way you can find a science fiction movie moving (if that's a good analogy) and when people call them cold I think it's a generalization - it's the same coldness you might find in a David Cronenberg or even a Stanley Kubrick movie. It's clinical but doesn't mean it can't move you or bring up some feelings. You didn't cry when Dave Bowman shut off HAL? And I do think this mix of songs shows a little more soul than the re

As for Yes and Genesis their style of prog seems more rooted in the Earth and more hippy dippy, Yes more so. whereas Rush seem more about space and science themes and society world view. And from a more hard rock background, rather than coming out of an English classical and psychedelic even influence prog-style. I like all 3 bands - ELP and King Crimson are more in the Rush camp.

As for overrated, well, again personal taste and opinion... I hope you didn't tell his mother what you thought! Frankly I am surprised there weren't more "hate comments". For people who like Rush, always nice to talk about them. "20,000,000 Rush Fans Can't Be Wrong"...

Thanks for the comment, Jeff. I probably could have picked one off Test for Echo - I like "Totem" though my least favorite overall, and 10 songs is tough to narrow down. Power Windows definitely one of my faves, at least from the 1980's. And I totally agree as being too long! I actually once made an edited Vapor Trails to be about 35 min or so, even though a lot of good songs.... they are all just a little too long!

Caravan was really great live, and pretty great break sections. Looking forward to the new album.

Sal Nunziato said...

Most people seem to agree, Geddy's voice is the first deterrent. It certainly stopped me at first.

As for the music being "soulless," Derek addressed that perfectly, I'd like to add this, though admittedly a bit off the subject.

While not everything has to have soul, I never expected it from a band like Rush. An example of what I find overrated and soulless is Slash's guitar playing. It seems he's had opportunities, whether as a guest on someone else's record or live, to expand beyond the metal of GNR, and to my ears, regardless of the setting, Slash just burns away, as if nothing else is going on around him. That to me is mechanical and soulless.

Rush set the table early with what they were going to serve up, and once you get beyond the extremity of it all, there is plenty for everyone.

A walk in the woods said...

Great idea, because like some other regular visitors here, I hardly know who Rush is despite their popularity. I worked in a record store 1987-'89 and MAN did we sell a lotta RUSH then! But, I never heard anything other than Tom Sawyer and that song about the radio and the one about "endless com-pro-mi-ses".

So it's fun to me to be introduced, essentially, at this late date to such a big band. Thanks for the mix and all the notes - I'll enjoy checking them out!

Derek said...

Good point about Slash. I find Carlos Santana the same way. His solos and tone just strike me a going through the motions, playing "Variations on The Carlos Santana Secret Chord Progression"...what once may have had soul has been rendered soulless by dipping into the same well once too often.

Geddy's voice certainly was like a witch's cackle early on, but he did temper it, even by Permanent Waves and most of the 80's was in a better range. I guess you either warm up to it or you don't.

Hope you like what you hear, Woods and win you over. Funny, Marsupial. Never too late!

oldkdawg said...

Nice to read comments about Rush that aren't "No, hell No". Great to read insightful comments. I also fell off the Rush wagon around the early '80's. Did go see them sometime in the '90's. Primus was their opening band and that's who I really wanted to see at the time. Still are great musicians and will have to check out their stuff from the last 25 years or so.

On a side note, how about an XTC top 10. I stopped listening to their newer stuff after Mummer.

Thanks for all of the great mixes you do. You have opened my eyes to a lot of music that I had never heard of before.

A guy called Tak said...

I cannot really explain but I still cannot accept Rush mainly because of Geddy's voice/singing.
To me, they are the same league as REO Speedwagon, Journey...etc.

I guess it's just not my musical taste.

BTW, I like Yes and King Crimson but not EL&P or Genesis.
There you have it.

soundsource said...

appreciate all the comments re: my comment particularly get the sci fi analogy and I guess since I am a former hippie dippie (still a little bit but with a bald spot) i get the yes/genesis comment, which would probably account for me liking the first three King Crimson records but not so much past that. And I agree that Geddy's voice took on a somewhat mellower tone as things progressed.
And i would never disrespect mrs. geddy, she being such a sweet old bubbie, I told her of course I'd heard of her son and he was a major dude.
I guess everything does not have to have soul (as I define it not the sci fi definition) it's just my personal barometer and what tends to attract me. And I can find soul in some prog rock or electronic music.
Anyway good post and I'm adding a rush playlist to my ipod for a while

misospecial said...

power windows: big money, mystic rhythm, and particularly manhattan project, one of my all-time have rush things, which geddy said they don't play live because it's too damn hard.

g/p: distant early warning, which has one of those rare Peart lyrics that's human enough to make a dent for me, meaning-wise: "the world sits on my shoulders, but what am i to do? / you sometimes drive me crazy, but i worry about you."

subdivisions hits the same sweet spot for me, because he's talking about and describing something tangible and real, and it's very well-observed:

i remember a story about their early days on the road, before they hooked up with neil, when it was so cold in their rooms they had the hair dryers on in their beds to keep from freezing. and the clubs wanted covers, and so they obliged... the thought of geddy singing "shotgun" still gives me a goofy glow.

however you feel about them as a band, their reputation as incredibly classy guys is totally deserved, and their shows always reflect the highest possible production values. for staying true to their own, ultimately dorky vision (which privileges perfection above soul and does not brook sloppiness, even in the service of spirit) and always treating their audience with respect, they deserve major props. that they have achieved this superhuman level of ultra-megasuccess still seems strange to me, but it's a funny old world, in't it?