Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Rush - Moving Pictures (1981)

The instrumental "YYZ" is the reason I began listening to Rush in the first place -- with its bloated bass blurblings, chunky guitar noodling and tenacious technical drumming -- is Neil Peart a robot, or what? I had heard "Tom Sawyer" on the radio, but I never seemed convinced enough to lend my ears to these guys. I'm sure glad that I did. Now what I didn't do was purchase a greatest hits compilation; what I did do, however, was purchase Moving Pictures first, arguably Rush's best album, if not its most popular, for those very reasons.

The album begins with the now-ubiquitous "Tom Sawyer," a song featuring a hybrid of vintage rock and new wave melodies. Everyone is on point as usual: Neal Peart is not content with just keeping the beat; Geddy Lee wants to spank his bass until he gets arrested for it and Alex Lifeson decides he's in it to win it. Remarkable stuff, really -- that such a trio can create such clean yet powerful music with each instrument easily heard. The torrid "Red Barchetta," the autobiographical "Limelight" and the aforementioned "YYZ" make up the whole of side one, and it's a complete doozy of a side, for sure. I can listen to it over and over for hours. As for side two, I don't care much for "Witch Hunt" and while I like the epic quality of "The Camera Eye" and the meaty "Vital Signs," the second side is simply not as powerful or musically adept. (This actually occurs on most albums I listen to -- the last few songs are always weaker than the first several -- any theories?) Unfortunately, whether you're ready to lay down you first-born for this album, or you prefer Permanent Waves or A Farewell To Kings, this is where it more or less ends for me as these fellows progress towards heavy synthesized new wave. You probably have this album anyway, but still. B+

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