Friday, April 1, 2011

Rush's 2112 turns 35

 Rush - 2112
Rating: ****

In 1976, Rush were a Canadian progressive rock power trio just trying to find an audience. The band, formed around 1968, consisted of bassist/singer Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart (who joined in 1974, replacing original drummer John Rustey). The band had three studio albums under their belt: Rush, Fly By Night, and Caress of Steel. The band only had a minor hit with "Working Man" from their debut album and were touring with Kiss. The record label told the band that this album had to sell or else Rush was done. On April 1 1976, Rush released 2112

2112 opens with the self-titled 20 minute epic track. Back then, the song took up the entire first side of the vinyl record. It was a very risky move to make on Rush's part but they must've been confident there! The band really worked on this song. "2112" is almost like an mini-opera of sorts. It was written mainly by Neil Peart, who was inspired by author Ayn Rand (who gets credit as "the genius of Ayn Rand"). The song takes place in the future, where the planets are under the rule of the Red Star of the Solar Federation. The world is controlled by the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx, who determine whether things get out or not like readings or pictures. Somewhere, a man finds a strange instrument in a cave: a guitar. He starts to pluck the strings and turn the knobs. He decides to present the guitar to the Priests. The Priests, however, don't accept the instrument saying "It doesn't fit the plan". The man then returns to the cave and is led by an oracle and learns of the Elder Race and how they've had to hide from the priests. In the end, the man becomes depressed and decides he can't live in this world anymore. So he kills himself and as he dies, another war breaks out. The song ends with the message "Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control". If you find yourself confused by any of this, I don't blame you! Still, this is a great song and the musicianship in this song is incredible. 

The second side of the album is not related to the self-titled track. They are five different songs. The first of them, "A Passage to Bangkok", is a wonderful song. One may think the song is about going to Bangkok but they are totally wrong. The song is about traveling around the world while smoking marijuana. How can you not like this song?! "Twilight Zone" actually is based off the TV show of the same name. It's based off of two episodes from the show (go and look up the names). The thing that sticks out on this song is Alex Lifeson's guitar playing and how it sounds. I love that echo going on there. "Lessons" is a nice song with great vocals from Geddy Lee. "Tears" is the slowest song off the album but still, it's good. The album does however end the album off rocking. 

2112 was Rush's first successful album. Now 35 years after its release, the band is still together with the same line-up in place. Without 2112, I don't think Rush would've survived any longer. 2112 is significant for two reasons: it allowed the band to continue making music and the music on it is fantastic, especially the epic self-titled track. It should be celebrated, fore sure.

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