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Thread: Second half of Rush

  1. #1
    All-night hippo at diner Tom's Avatar
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    Second half of Rush

    Somewhere around the middle of their output, after Signals, Rush… kind of lost me. I think I mostly get Hold Your Fire, and I enjoy Roll the Bones, but beyond that I’m scratching my head and hovering near the skip button.

    So, as a favor, does anyone want to proselytize for Rush in their second half? What should I listen to, and what am I listening for — what have you found in it that makes it excellent?

    Thanks in advance.
    ... “there’s a million ways to learn” (which there are, by the way), but ironically, there’s a million things to eat, I’m just not sure I want to eat them all. -- Jeff Berlin

  2. #2
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    I basically love every album/tune up to and including Roll the Bones (which I consider the last great Rush album). Counterparts was where some tracks were 'meh' for me, and that trend continued through the end. But holy shit what an amazing run from 74 to about 91ish. Close to perfection. They wrote what they needed and used virtually all of it. I know some fans love it all, and that's totally cool.

  3. #3
    Member Digital_Man's Avatar
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    I would give another listen to Grace Under Pressure and Power Windows especially since you like Hold Your Fire. Beyond that maybe Counterparts and Clockwork Angels. I like Roll the Bones too but we are sort of in the minority in that. Actually, the one before it, Presto is rather similar but probably more accessible (even though I don't necessarily like it better) so try that one too. Of course these days you can listen to them all on youtube so it's not like you have to buy them first before listening.
    Last edited by Digital_Man; 01-05-2022 at 06:56 PM.
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    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    I tried to get into several later (90s and beyond) albums with no success. First off I find the sound and production unpleasant to endure and most of the material didn't resonate. However, I did find three used DVDs at my local store and I enjoy these quite a bit, especially R30. The Rio concert is exciting but the sound is noticeably sub par. So for me it's the 1976-1982 era or a DVD when I get the urge for some of their music. I do love the songs on Hold Your Fire but the freeze dried sound is a turn off. Roll The Bones isn't much better.

  5. #5
    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    I basically love every album/tune up to and including Roll the Bones (which I consider the last great Rush album). Counterparts was where some tracks were 'meh' for me, and that trend continued through the end. But holy shit what an amazing run from 74 to about 91ish. Close to perfection. They wrote what they needed and used virtually all of it. I know some fans love it all, and that's totally cool.
    That's a trip. For me, Bones is where they dipped, and then Counterparts was a comeback. The best material on Counterparts is much better than anything on Bones (the irony being that the best songs from that period are "Show Don't Tell" and "Driven," and they're not on either of those albums).

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    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Man View Post
    I would give another listen to Grace Under Pressure and Power Windows
    Yes and yes. Those albums are not to be missed.

  7. #7
    I LOVE "Clockwork Angels"! A disc where harmony and melody returned to the songs and the tracks were all tied together in a more or less concept album form. Heavy at times, mellow, and some very well pieced together songs. It had a little of everything. A fantastic swan song.
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    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    ^^ Agree with Clockwork Angels! My favorite Rush since Grace Under Pressure.

  9. #9
    The two albums from that period I have a hard time with are Presto as it sounds so thin, just tinny and Vapor Trails for obvious reasons.

    Other than that, I loved the odyssey they sent us on, all the proggy stuff in the early years and the proggy but concise songwriting of the later years. Neil's drum tracks are so intense, look at Subdivisions or Earthshine. I know I sound like a fan boy and I am, I admit it. The Mission made me cry at one of the Snakes and Arrows shows, the lyrics just get me where the feels come from. Heck, I cried for a half hour at the A Farewell To Kings tribute band but that mostly because some drunken asshole had to ruin the last show I ever saw from Rush.

    But I'm a crybaby, I cry at the end of For Love Of The Game just because the dude gets a no hitter.

    Still, in the car, I can barely take out the Hemisphere's live disc from the 40th. Pink Pop, sounds like you are on stage and can hear how hard Neil hits the drums and that version of 2112 on that tour is priceless. La Villa and Xanadu especially stand out on those recordings.

    So, yeah, I do love the older stuff more than the newer but Rush at 50% is better than most bands at 1000%. I just wish the newer live albums didn't have a dreadful drum sound, so hollow. Even with Neil's last kit coming from a 1,500 year old dredged tree it still sounds awful on the live albums but there was no problem in the arenas over the last two decades so, go figure.
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    I love Rush up to including Presto (although there are a couple of dodgy tracks on there). I was very disappointed with Roll The Bones, half of it is very weak and flat. After that I like about half of Counterparts and Test For Echo, some good tracks but some very poor ones too. I was so excited for their comeback with VT but left wondering what the hell had happened with that one, not ONE good song, weak melodies, no instrumental fire. They regained their form somewhat for S&N and CA but I find Geddy's strained voice difficult to listen to on many songs. So to sum up the 70's and 80's get a big tick from me but after that I could live without most of it.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    Somewhere around the middle of their output, after Signals, Rush… kind of lost me. I think I mostly get Hold Your Fire, and I enjoy Roll the Bones, but beyond that I’m scratching my head and hovering near the skip button.

    So, as a favor, does anyone want to proselytize for Rush in their second half? What should I listen to, and what am I listening for — what have you found in it that makes it excellent?

    Thanks in advance.
    As others have suggested, try Clockwork Angels (great songs, good overall concept & fine performances from the band). And check out "Far Cry" & "Spindrift" from Snakes & Arrows.

  12. #12
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    My favourite period of Rush is from Permanent Waves to Grace Under Pressure. Beginning from Counterparts band became totally boring and predictable. Fortunately their last album Clockwork Angels was much better.
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  13. #13
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    The band took a chance on a sound they were hearing in their heads. That chance was Signals.

    Not many bands with an already established sound successfully transition to something else.
    Some take a few albums to get that sorted, some produce a debacle that forces a "classic return" or worse, cripple the band.

    Rush nailed it with Signals on the first try. So, imo, the succeeding albums are diminishing/returning echoes of that ethos/chance - all the way thru the terrible (imo) HYF and the Show of Hands live album.

    Post that phase - I prefer Presto (b/c it signalled the end of the super keyz laden rush) and Counterparts and Clockwork Angels. There are good tracks on the others but these would be my suggestions.

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  14. #14
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    TBH, beyond Pictures, I had given up once I saw that Signals and the follow-up kept moving away from what I liked.

    Some of those albums, I haven't listened to in their entirety (well maybe at some buddy's place for some) and whatever I did hear was yucky.


    But for some reasons Feedback struck a chord with me, and right after that, Snakes & Arrows did tingle the left foot somewhat (I found it a return to Moving Pictures - especially the three instrumentals). Clockwork Angels has also tickled my left toe.
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  15. #15
    All-night hippo at diner Tom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    The band took a chance on a sound they were hearing in their heads. That chance was Signals.
    […]. Rush nailed it with Signals on the first try. So, imo, the succeeding albums are diminishing/returning echoes of that ethos/chance - all the way thru the terrible (imo) HYF and the Show of Hands live album.
    I guess HYF is the apotheosis of this synth-heavy phase. I don’t mind it, though the only real standout track is “Time Stand Still” which is basically a guitar-driven power-pop song, just made better.

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    that was my favorite era of Rush. i thought their songs and lyrics were top notch. each of their albums had their own energy and speed. it's best to listen to those albums in whole and not only select specific tracks. ok, the keyboards were getting a little too prominent in their music. but they were a band in progress. from Signals to Presto was the best lyric & song writing for the band. Hold Your Fire is my favorite Rush album because it's a perfect marriage of all their elements balanced on the same level. very under rated album, if you don't think so- keep listening to it and let it grow on you.

  17. #17
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    For me, Hold Your Fire is better than several of their 70s albums, most of their 80s albums, and all of their post-80s albums. It's borderline great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    I guess HYF is the apotheosis of this synth-heavy phase. I don’t mind it, though the only real standout track is “Time Stand Still” which is basically a guitar-driven power-pop song, just made better.
    To my ears, yes there's synths but Alex's guitar is pretty much in your face too, Hold Your Fire really rocks for me - I love all of it.

  19. #19
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Grace to Hold your Fire are awesome albums (and yes Hold your Fire is GREAT).

    Presto to Counterparts are ok to very good.

    The next ones do absolutly nothing to me, although CA was a return to form (love The Garden)

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    Until recently I'd never heard anything later than Signals, and about six weeks ago I bought the "studio albums 89-07" box set (Presto/Bones/Counterparts/Test/Vapor/Snakes). I'd heard a lot of people refer to Counterparts & later as being something of a return to form and late-career peak, so I thought it would be a bonanza of good stuff. Honesly most of it's had trouble holding my attention; the sound and production are good and the playing is skilled but the writing seems underwritten and anonymous. Pulled this thread up thinking I'd see some enthusiastic defense of later Rush, but it sounds like most of the people on the forum are also a bit let down. I'll keep chipping at it though, seems like the kind of music where it takes some familiarity to tell the good songs from the meh songs.

  21. #21
    Member gearHed289's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    Somewhere around the middle of their output, after Signals, Rush… kind of lost me. I think I mostly get Hold Your Fire, and I enjoy Roll the Bones, but beyond that I’m scratching my head and hovering near the skip button.

    So, as a favor, does anyone want to proselytize for Rush in their second half? What should I listen to, and what am I listening for — what have you found in it that makes it excellent?

    Thanks in advance.
    Well, you're certainly not alone. A lot of old school fans fell off after they parted ways with producer Terry Brown. For me personally, GUP was the first crack in the wall. I didn't even buy it until years after its release. I thought PoW was an improvement, but then HYF was like a weaker PoW. Presto was a different animal altogether. It IS a thin sounding album. I love a lot of Rupert Hine's work, but I think his style was a little dated by the time Rush got to work with him.

    The 90s stuff did not resonate with me at all. My only 90s Rush album is the live Different Stages, which I bought mostly for the Hammersmith '77 disc.

    I thought Vapor Trails was a good comeback. The sound of the original mix is harsh, but they put out a remix/remaster (not sure which or both). I gave it a listen and decided the songs weren't strong enough to warrant buying another copy. Earthshine is a favorite there. Snakes and Arrows has a lot of good stuff on it, but it's just too long. I made my own version, cutting I think 6 songs, that I find more enjoyable. Clockwork Angels to me is the best thing they'd done since HYF. Pretty great stuff.

    One thing about the later recordings that got under my skin was the increasing use of layered vocals. It's just too much for me. Then they're triggering samples of all that live, and it's just... IDK, not for me. In fact, the increasing use of samples starting around the HYF/Presto tours kind of killed some of the magic for me.

  22. #22
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    ^ Maybe not for you but pretty ballsy of them to even attempt to recreate all of the album's "eyebrows" live with just the three little mice on stage. Sounds like a headache to me.

  23. #23
    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gearHed289 View Post
    One thing about the later recordings that got under my skin was the increasing use of layered vocals.
    Geddy's voice wasn't the same by the late '90s. He sounded fine on album but live he needed those layers.

  24. #24
    I doubt that anything anyone says in response to this will change the OP's opinion. We like what we like because we like it.

    For me the following tunes resonate every time I hear them. In the case of the non-instrumentals it's the perfect combination of music and lyrics that gets me.
    Emotion Detector
    Prime Mover
    Mission
    Turn The Page
    War Paint
    Hand Over Fist
    Dreamline
    Ghost Of A Chance
    Leave That Thing Alone
    Cold Fire
    Virtuality
    Malignant Narcissism
    Headlong Flight
    The Garden

    Some of these tracks have been dismissed as lacking/unworthy/trivial/<insert descriptor here> in the past and will no doubt continue to be dismissed in the future.
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    I am always conflicted about whether Yes or Rush are my favourite band. Yes produced (for me) the most astounding ground breaking prog in the 70's but Rush had a longer run and made more great albums.

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