Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Top 40 at 40 #37

# 37 RUSH - 2112 1976

I never played dungeons and dragons, never read any Tolkien or Arthur C. Clarke, don't have any Magic: The Gathering cards.. I dropped out of Chemistry after my High School guidance counselor told me I had fulfilled my science requirements to graduate......I left my room on a regular basis as an adolescent....and I still consider myself a Rush fan. Rush have long been a running joke in rock journalist circles , and have been made fun of by countless others. Here's a newsflash...Those who cannot do, usually end up teaching or writing about what they cannot do. Fools! All of them. Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart(pronounced PEERT), just happen to be great songwriters, masters of their instruments...and oh yeah, have sold over 40 million albums worldwide. How is it that Grandmaster Flash and Madonna are in the ROCK and ROLL hall of fame and Rush is not? Blasphemy! Sacriledge! Bullshit!

People say Geddy Lee's voice is ridiculous, a wailing banshee who's tighty whities are a size too small. Newsflash #2: When you hear that voice, you instantly know its Geddy Lee. This is what separates lead singers in the upper eschelon like Mr. Lee, from Death Cab For Cutie or that tool from The Killers. INSTANT RECOGNITION. Like Sting, Robert Plant, Fred Mercury, Gordon Lightfoot(kidding), even Morrissey. If you hear one word sung from one lyrical line, you know its them.

People say Neil Peart has too many drums, still does solos in concert, writes wacky science fiction lyrics, etc. Yes and he's also one of the TOP 5 DRUMMERS OF ALL TIME, and decided for himself long ago that rock lyrics could be more than just fast women and fast cars(MUST exclude Red Barchetta here). He's more capable of telling a story with lyrics than any Plain White T or Jay-Z, so there. I will not hold it against him that he still plays the occasional octoban.

Alex Lifeson gets accused of ripping off Jimmy Page early in his career and occasionally gets arrested along with other family members soon after starting barroom brawls but has influenced everyone from Billy Corgan to Omar Rodriguez Lopez and uses all four extremities as a live musician.

This band can do more with three guys than the Polyphonic Spree can with 25, than Dream Theater can on their best most pretentious wanky day. And they've been together for over 30 years .....can you say that David Byrne, David Coverdale, David Davies??

The Song 2112(really 5 songs but appears as one track) of of the album of the same name tells the story of a post apocalyptic earth circa 2112 where day to day activities are controlled by these bad dudes called the Priests(of the Temples of Syrinx) who control art, music, literature and reality television. A man discovers an ancient instrument (a guitar) in a cave and is overjoyed with the sounds that come out of it and decides to share his finding with the priests. The priests destroy the guitar. The man gets depressed and returns to the cave to brood. He falls asleep and an "Oracle" shows him a land of intense beauty while he sleeps. He wakes and cannot believe it was a dream. He gets more depressed and decides to take his own life, assuming he'll never be able to go on without music and beauty. A battle ensues and the victor tells the planets of the solar federation that they have assumed control.But who is they? The Priests or some other ominous entity that could send the Borg to their room without any dinner! Who cares! It rocks BALLS!

Brilliant. All jokes aside....the story is about opression,dictadorships, freedom of speech, Ayn Rand's Anthem and the FCC all rolled into one. 20 minutes of genius.
I know Rush is an acquired taste for the arena rock fan who just wants to bang their head and do beer bongs. I know Rush is considered laughingly bombastic and bad fantasy for the hipper than me crowd. But I guarantee they have more than just a handful of songs for the ages, and this is one of them.

Top 5 Rush songs 1) 2112 2) Red Barchetta 3)Spirit of Radio 4) Bad Boy 5) Subdivisions
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