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Rush - 2112 CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.11 | 1935 ratings

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3 stars REVIEW #8 - "2112" by Rush (1976)

Facing pressure from their record label to make a more commercially-friendly album, Rush decided to ignore the threats and create another album similar to their panned "Caress of Steel." Drummer Neil Peart, an objectivist and avid reader of Ayn Rand's work at the time, sought inspiration from Rand's novella "Anthem" (for which he dedicated a song back on their second album) to create an epic based upon the archetypical dystopian story. Titled "2112", this album would amazingly bring the band to the mainstream; attaining success against the concrete beliefs that commercially-friendly music is the only path to mainstream success. With a minimalist cover, it also marks the first appearance of the "Starman" logo that would be become a symbol of the band.

The first side is the epic "2112" (5/5), for which the album is named after. A concept, it details the story of an unnamed protagonist who stumbles upon a guitar and realizes the nature of the totalitarian world he lives in. After foolishly trying to present the guitar to the leaders of his society, he is shunned and falls into a state of depression after experiencing a dream of a better world free of bondage. This depression prompts him to commit suicide, ending the story. It is believed that, through the final lines of the song, that the society he dreamed of indeed came back to Earth and freed the people from the totalitarian regime. Coming in at twenty minutes and being the longest song the band would ever record, this is a very good epic, although it does not necessarily feature any outstanding musicianship. The seven parts of the song (including an overture and a finale) range from an acoustic passage to full blown Alex Lifeson guitar solos. It is still a musically diverse song with an interesting story - a story so rooted in objectivism that it drew criticism from media outlets such as NME, who labeled the band as "Nazis", "fascists" and right-wing "extremists." A great epic, and one of the most famous in prog, it is a must-listen.

The rest of the album is a series of shorter tracks. The first is "A Passage to Bangkok" (4/5), a song which is essentially about drug tourism, mentioning Bangkok, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kathmandu, and other popular Asian destinations to get high. A jamming song through and through, with a nice guitar solo and a humorous theme. Next up is "The Twilight Zone" (3/5), a song about the TV series of the same name. All in all a pretty average track, just like the next track "Lessons" (3/5), written by Lifeson. It gets even worse with the soft track "Tears" (2/5) written by bassist Geddy Lee - a boring love song that just seems out of place with all of the other material on the album, which contains philosophical or science fiction subject matter. However, the listener is salvaged by the decent closing track "Something for Nothing" (5/5) - a song deeply rooted in objectivist philosophy, similar to "Anthem" from their second album in its blunt statements. Overall the second side is pretty weak, yet is overshadowed by the monstrous "2112". Outside of the opener and closer here, it is better to just play the first side over and over again.

Now having attained success, Rush would embark on a trip to the United Kingdom to continue their phase as a prog rock band, recording their next two albums in Europe. A seminal album for Rush fans, without its success, the band would have had a much shorter lifespan. A good album, and a solid example of conservative philosophy in music, Rush's music at this point in time was certainly unique. The title track alone is worth purchasing the album, and it is a must-listen for Rush fans and those who prefer heavy prog, as this album certainly crosses the threshold into heavy metal. Although I prefer their next two albums, "2112" will always reserve a spot in my heart for being one of the first prog albums I ever listened to. It is a nostalgic album for me, and I suppose it is for many others here. Unfortunately the awesome "2112" (which still lends this album my recommendation) is saturated by the lackluster content on the second side, and as an album in its entirety, it is sadly adequate.

OVERALL: 3.67/5 (C-)

ProgMirage1974 | 3/5 |


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