what's the best Rush album?

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I haven't listened to Rush since I was a teenager, and don't remember one record from another. Which is the one with the 'be cool or be cast out' line? Which is the best album of the 'best' albums? I'm having a weird desire to hear Rush. Must be the fever.

Roger Fidelity (Roger Fidelity), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

chronicles

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Since I despise prog, I'd go with their '80s stuff, like "Moving Pictures" and "Signals," whose songs fuse New Wave synths and pseudo reggae basslines and rhythms much better than those Police albums ever did.

As for their lyrics - well.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

My fave is probably A Farewell to Kings, conventional wisdom says it's Moving Pictures. I like A Farewell to Kings because of "Xanadu" and "Cygnus X-1" and the title track, but it also contains the one about "the men who hold high places" that everybody holds their lighters aloft and sings along to. Signals has "be cool or be cast out."

Stormy Davis (diamond), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, the Devo/Police-style new wave period is the peak, like Alfred says. Though their first album might be the hardest they ever rocked.

chuck, Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Xanadu and Cygnus X-1 are definitely two of their finest moments.

Its a 6-way tie though - everything from 2112 through Signals. I think 2112 is worth all the praise it gets. I was air-drumming to "Passage To Bangkok" the other night. Hemispheres is really good. Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures are probably the most solid. And the production is pretty damn smooth from Hemispheres on through Signals. I think Signals is a really cool, dark album. My Rush knowledge pretty much ends there. Except for that one album Test For Echo from the late 90's - that one actually had some cool shit on it too.

Johnny Badlees (crispssssss), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Man when Geddy Lee does that crazy scream near the end of Cygnus X-1.... how great is that??

Johnny Badlees (crispssssss), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:22 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, the Devo/Police-style new wave period is the peak, like Alfred says. Though their first album might be the hardest they ever rocked.

Actually, that could ignite a purist fight. The last EP went back to old first alb style for one song, "Summertime Blues." I used to play "2112" and "Caress of Steel" to death, mostly for youth reasons. At the time, "Bastille Day" was THE riff. "Working Man" from the Rutsey album, a close second. "Tom Sawyer," "Red Barchetta," "Limelight," whatever albums they were on.

George Smith, Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i like farewell to kings the best too, probably. it was a fave of mine as a kid. i like all of them up until moving pictures. i was just listening to all the world's a stage the other nite. buy that one too. one of my favorite live albums. i wish i had a copy of hemispheres. i haven't heard that in a zillion years.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Actually, that could ignite a purist fight."

But that's what ILX is all about!

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Red Barchetta is one of the all-time great driving songs. When it kicks into the solo.... all the way through the solo..... up until that great unmistakeably Peart drum roll.... back into the main riff.... "I strip away the old debris".... that always makes me wanna drive like 140 MPH.

Johnny Badlees (crispssssss), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:27 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

all the world's a stage has a killer track-listing too:

1. Bastille Day
2. Anthem
3. Fly By Night / In The Mood
4. Something For Nothing
5. Lakeside Park
6. 2112
(I.) Overture
(II.) The Temples Of Syrinx
(III.) Presentation
(IV.) Solioquy
(V.) Grand Finale
7. By-Tor & The Snow Dog
8. In The End
9. Working Man / Finding My Way

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:27 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Another vote for 2112.

darin (darin), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Man I haven't listened to All the World's A Stage in probably close to 20 years. I do remember enjoying it, I love the first four records. I've been wanting to hear it again as Sundar always raves about the version of "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" on there, says it's a real feedback blowout.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

it's great from first to last. all the world's a stage, that is. it really brings me back too!

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

By-Tor and the Snow Dog" on there, says it's a real feedback blowout.

I recall it being better than the studio version. 'Course, it was probably the second studio whack, overdubbed with new parts on the concert masters except for the crowd noise. It's what everybody did. And that's a good sounding set.

George Smith, Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'd probably rate the best as Moving Pictures (1981), Hemispheres (1978) and Farewell To Kings (1977) roughly in that order, but I have a strange affection for Hold Your Fire (1987) even though I haven't heard it in years. 1987 was the year I moved to Boston as a 13 yr old and got heavily into Pink Floyd and classic rock radio (WBCN i think it was). Hold Your Fire was hammered pretty constantly and something about the tracks, "Force Ten" "Time Stand Still" and "Turn The Page" have lodged in my memory alongside "Tom Sawyer" which was played as often. I wouldn't say it's the BEST album, but a solid afterthought for sure.

PiersT, Thursday, 3 February 2005 02:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

2112 hands down. You will love it.

mcd (mcd), Thursday, 3 February 2005 02:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I was always partial to "Signals," "Grace Under Pressure" and "Power Windows," all of which are pretty dark, especially the first two. Great listening for alienated teens. And drummers.

Josh in Chicago (Josh in Chicago), Thursday, 3 February 2005 03:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Moving Pictures without question. Absolultely without question. Any other response has been dipped in an overflowing toilet of WRONG!

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 3 February 2005 03:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Farewell to Kings is the 'Rush'-est, Permanent Waves probably the best, 2112 the unintentionally funniest

dave q (listerine), Thursday, 3 February 2005 03:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I love seeing the love for Grace Under Pressure. Man, that is an unsung record. This is the period where the lyrics get really overwrought.

mcd (mcd), Thursday, 3 February 2005 03:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

actually side 1 of 2112 is good, it should've been a 20-minute record

dave q (listerine), Thursday, 3 February 2005 03:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Bah.

Frame your answers in a haiku...l

Rush: Classic or Dud?

Edward Bax (EdBax), Thursday, 3 February 2005 04:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The new one of garage covers.

Brian Turner (btwfmu), Thursday, 3 February 2005 06:07 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I've never felt comfortable going any further back than Permanent Waves or any more recent than Hold Your Fire, but I still carry a torch for Power Windows. Next in line would be Moving Pictures & Signals. Grace Under Pressure always seems to sound better when I actually play it than the way I remember it. Just doesn't seem like it's dated particularly well.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Thursday, 3 February 2005 06:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Here's another vote for All the World's a Stage. It's the first Rush album I bought, and I fucking loathed it at first. Then, one day, everything fell into place and it became one of those daily experiences when you're an obsessive adolescent (as opposed to a compulsive adult).

Their first album is also very good, in that it straight out rocks. Nothing proggy there. But I like most of their stuff up to and including Moving Pictures.

David A. (Davant), Thursday, 3 February 2005 07:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Exit Stage Left

mentalist (mentalist), Thursday, 3 February 2005 07:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Gonna have to go with Alex on Moving Pictures.

They've had (nearly?) 20 some odd records, several style and sound shifts and that record still stands out as a high-water mark in their output.

Edward Bax (EdBax), Thursday, 3 February 2005 13:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Its a 6-way tie though - everything from 2112 through Signals.

This is probably the most OTM thing I've read on this thread.

The Ghost of Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Thursday, 3 February 2005 14:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Hemispheres is far and away the best thing they've done. Not that Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures don't rule. Hemispheres though goes so far over the top in the title-suite (title-suite?!?) that no other band has ever been near the distant sonic galaxy being charted. People can talk about Can or AMM or whoever but come on. "I see the gods in battle rage on high. . . ." Side Two is a planet the Robinson family visited. Plus c'est la meme chose. "The Trees" is one song underrated as hell. It is difficult to name another rock instrumental to match the power and beauty of "La Villa Strangiato."
Yes, Hemispheres it is. The closest they ever got to Yes.

#1 rush fan, Thursday, 3 February 2005 14:19 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I can only narrow it down to 3 - Moving Pictures, Signals and Farewell to Kings.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 3 February 2005 14:21 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I really need to purchase a bunch of these albums (my brother owns them all on vinyl).

The Ghost of Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Thursday, 3 February 2005 14:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Listening to Farewell to Kings on my brothers record player with my best friend, air guitaring and screaming "Closer to the Heart" is one of my favorite memories ever.

(This was like 2 months ago by the way)

David Allen (David Allen), Thursday, 3 February 2005 14:25 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't think any of the 3 rekkids I mentioned are total classic, but there's very little material worth skippage on any of them. The bit where this huge oberheim synth chord comes on on "the witch hunt" is one of my favourite musical moments. I've liked Rush for years, and even though I've heard their music so often I'd be over familiar w/it if it was just about any other band, it just keeps on giving - I like the tunes, the overall sound of the band, the feel of the playing, even the lyrics. Plus, there are so many clever bits in their tracks, little details and fills that you listen out for & get a thrill off even when you've heard them 100 times or whatever - Like, listen to "subdivisions" and notice how the bassline switches between synthesiser and fender bass, really really fucking effective, but not grandstanding in any way. Also, notice that way that Geddy Lee's keyboard/synth skills, obviously fairly minimal for a while at least, got milked to maximum effect - the opening bass note on "Tom Sawyer" is like "wow, listen to this fucking awesome noise" abobve all else, but he managed to make it an integral part of the track, not just an add-on.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 3 February 2005 14:32 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

if you take Ayn Rand seriously, think songs about trees make compelling listening, and care more ability than enthusiasm, then Rush is for you.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 3 February 2005 14:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Exit Stage Left

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 3 February 2005 15:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Those who don't like Rush don't like rock.

my city was gone, Thursday, 3 February 2005 15:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Those who don't like Rush don't like rock.

Yeah! TESTIFY!

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 3 February 2005 15:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Permanent Waves is my favroite studio album, because Spirit of Radio is the best Rush song, hands down. But if you're only going to buy one album, seems to me it's got to be Exit Stage Left. That was my introduction in high school and I think it's still the best.

Scott CE (Scott CE), Thursday, 3 February 2005 15:58 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

(x-post) The Trees is a metaphor. Pleasing the vocal minority leads to greater restriction for all and a lower common denominator. It's still pertinent. Knocking them for "songs about trees" is like knocking Kansas for writing about dust and wind. I mean, dust!? In the wind? What's up with that? If you're going to knock Peart's metaphors, aim for "Dog Years". That one was a bit ripe.

As far as a recommendation, would have to go with Moving Pictures. YYZ's drums, Tom Sawyer, Limelight, Red Barchetta, etc. But Signals comes a very close second with Subdivisions. Those two are classics in my stacks. That mid-period stretch from MP to Power Windows brings back a lot of good memories.

terrible style, Thursday, 3 February 2005 16:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

For Canadian male adolescents born between the late '50s and late '60s, some degree of Rush fanship (or at least awareness) was assured. Rush's decline (free-fall, actually) was near-simultaneous with the election of Brian Mulroney. Chronicles has the greatest abundance of prime Rush you can find in a single package, and is what I throw on when I need a Rush fix (which ain't too often, these days. Not because of embarrassment, just over-familiarity.) Far as "real" albums go, Fly By Night, 2112 and Moving Pictures all have excellent first sides, OK second sides. The weaker approximate-equivalents of those three are Rush, Caress Of Steel, and Permanent Waves. Their full-blown prog-peak was on Farewell To Kings (which I always liked) and Hemispheres (which I always despised, but for the amazing "La Villa Strangiato", a self-proclaimed "Exercise in Self-Indulgence" which is simultaneously their most pompous AND funniest recording. INTENTIONALLY funny, in fact! Incidentally, Rush always had an EXTREMELY subtle sense of humour, long overlooked, but this isn't the place.) And Signals and Grace Under Pressure are both highly polished post-Police/pre-U2 new-wave/prog hybrids and better than I remember them. Well-made and impressive, solid efforts, irrespective of the fact that I never enjoyed 'em much, and still don't.

For all that windy rambling, I'll still take Chronicles, for the big picture. (Another admirable aspect of Chronicles, for both casual and fanatical Rush fans: It contains NOTHING that isn't on any of their other LPs, i.e. nothing to entice superfans into buying all that stuff they already have just for a single new song or two. Ya gotta respect that, even if it is a moot point in these days of file-sharing.)

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Thursday, 3 February 2005 17:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

if you take Ayn Rand seriously, think songs about trees make compelling listening, and care more ability than enthusiasm, then Rush is for you.
-- Alfred Soto (sotoal...) (webmail), February 3rd, 2005 2:42 PM. (Alfred Soto) (link)

it is entirely possible to not take ayn rand seriously and still adore rush (with qualifications perhaps).

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Thursday, 3 February 2005 17:32 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Do they have more than one song that has anything to do with Ayn Rand?

Also, how do you see Rush as unenthusiastic? They seem pretty ecstatic to me most of the time. (questions for A. Soto, obv.)

Scott CE (Scott CE), Thursday, 3 February 2005 17:49 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Blame too busy fingers, Scott CE, for mangling the sentence. Sorry. I meant to write, Rush fans "care more for instrumental ability than enthusiasm." It's an argument I can't win with friends who are Rush friends. They'll say Neil Peart is a great drummer, Alex Lifeson can do this or that pyrotechnic on his guitar, and I say, "Who gives a shit?" Gimme Moe Tucker and Paul Cook anytime.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 3 February 2005 17:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

oh Alfred, you big iconoclast you!

Another admirable aspect of Chronicles, for both casual and fanatical Rush fans: It contains NOTHING that isn't on any of their other LPs, i.e. nothing to entice superfans into buying all that stuff they already have just for a single new song or two. Ya gotta respect that, even if it is a moot point in these days of file-sharing.)

Haha -- you know what, this isn't exactly entirely true! When they first coverted the Rush catalog to Compact Disc, they left off a song from each of the first two live double LPs, All the World's A Stage ("What You're Doing") and Exit Stage Left ("A Passage to Bangkok"), in order to fit each of them onto a single CD. Then when Chronicles came out they put those two songs on there.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Thursday, 3 February 2005 18:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I like Neil Peart and I like Mo Tucker. I don't think Paul Cook was that great, to be honest. Liking one doesn't have to mean you can't like the other.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 3 February 2005 18:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

...(afterthought)...Exit Stage Left shoulda been a great live showcase for the 1977-81 era (and maybe it is), but my recollection is of a mix too muddy and bass-dominated to be of much enjoyment, altho maybe that was just the cassette I owned. And as for All The World's A Stage, my cousin's husband attended that concert, and swears that he & his friends can be heard yelling something during "Lakeside Park". (Their neighbourhood being in the vicinity of the actual park itself.)

And even though I can still get some enjoyment out of (old) Rush, I empathize with Alfred 100%: Rush fans who play instruments can be some of the most obnoxious fans of any band you'll ever meet.

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Thursday, 3 February 2005 18:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I like Hemispheres the best but not because of the naked man pointing to the Magritte guy. But that album cover certainly contributed to my father's "wtf" attitude towards Rush, and me.

I was among the young rockers who thought they sold out a little with "Tom Sawyer" and stuff like that. I thought the same about Styx too when they started getting played on KISS-FM. I was such a purist then, I'm younger than that now.

The Obligatory Sourpuss (Begs2Differ), Thursday, 3 February 2005 18:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Rush fans who play instruments" surely = the members of Dream Theater?

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 3 February 2005 18:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I hear ya, Alfred and MVB, you will get many a Rush fan going on and on about the ability of Neil Peart, etc, and I agree it's tiresome. But I don't think that all that takes away from the band's enthusiasm. Rush sounds very enthusiastic and honest to me. You're telling me Geddy Lee doesn't have enthusiasm when he screams "OF SALESMEN!"?

Hell, Exit Stage Left is one of the most enthusiastic live albums I have ever heard. And I don't just mean that it's loud or fast or anything like that. I mean it sure sounds like the band is really BEHIND what they're doing, that it means something to them and they are having a fucking blast.

(compare this enthusiasm to, say, some Steve Vai records or Killroy Was Here, and I think you can see the stark contrast).

I sat next to a hardcore rush fan at a brekafast counter a couple of months ago. Dude had a huge 2112 tatoo on his upper arm. I had never met anyone like him; he was willing to explain, in great detail, why every Rush album was great, IN ITS ENTIRETY. He even defended the rapping on Roll the Bones. It was awesome. He was also really nice about it and not obnoxious at all.

Scott CE (Scott CE), Thursday, 3 February 2005 18:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

'Working Man' is a fucking slab of Rock. Where are you now, John Rutsey?

mookieproof (mookieproof), Thursday, 3 February 2005 18:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

As a rule, compilations really shouldn't count — nor should live albums. But I'm going to go with Exit...Stage Left (and let's note the ellipsis, okay?) primarily because we're talking about a group that, for all its crimes against taste, sequenced this record brilliantly. Plus, the versions of "Jacob's Ladder" and the "Trees"-"Xanadu" seriously improve on the originals. Of course, I haven't heard it in at least a decade, so...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Thursday, 3 February 2005 19:45 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

This thread has given me an urge to listen to A LOT of Rush. Something I wasn't expecting, almost wtf, why am i playing all these albums! The strangest thing is nothing else will suffice. My conclusion: Rush are untouchably great, questionable taste and lyrics and all.

Oh and Moving Pictures still sounds like the BEST. But Signals is the surprise album I thought I didn't really like, but is now kicking my arse. And a friend is bringing over Power Windows on the wkend. It's a good week.

PiersT, Friday, 4 February 2005 01:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

For those about to Rush, we salute you?

Bimble... (Bimble...), Friday, 4 February 2005 05:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Okay, okay, Rush and Roll etc. Don't want to derail the thread, here.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Friday, 4 February 2005 05:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

thirteen years pass...

presto may not be the best RUSH album but i'd swear it's the most underrated

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 14 May 2018 18:31 (one week ago) Permalink

I like Presto, but for me the answer to this is all the albums from 1976 to 1985.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Monday, 14 May 2018 18:42 (one week ago) Permalink

I said it on one of the other threads, but I think it may have the band's best songwriting, with the playing supporting the song, as opposed to the playing/sound/arrangements being the focus. It's almost an experiment, how pared down it is.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 14 May 2018 18:42 (one week ago) Permalink

Presto is my favorite Rush album. Their best is Rush In Rio.

EZ Snappin, Monday, 14 May 2018 18:46 (one week ago) Permalink

Not sure I agree with that: 'Fly by Night', 'Beneath, Between and Behind', 'Lessons', 'Something For Nothing', 'Closer to the Heart', 'The Spirit of Radio', 'New World Man' etc. are all fine examples of the playing supporting the song.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Monday, 14 May 2018 18:48 (one week ago) Permalink

(x-post)

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Monday, 14 May 2018 18:48 (one week ago) Permalink

In fact, even on stuff like 'Red Barchetta' and 'The Analog Kid', the song is pretty much the focus.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Monday, 14 May 2018 18:49 (one week ago) Permalink

We're talking about an album, goofball. Not individual tracks. I think start to finish, as an album, that Presto sounds very songwriter-y, emphasized even more by the sound of the record being so relatively spare and subdued.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 14 May 2018 19:10 (one week ago) Permalink

You said - and the post is above - that you think Presto may have the bands best songwriting. I disagree, as there are examples of better songwriting from them elsewhere.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Monday, 14 May 2018 19:20 (one week ago) Permalink

I meant Presto the album. Start to finish. Not that Presto particularly features songs that exemplify the band's best songwriting - plenty of Rush albums have songs that exemplify good songwriting (in the guy in a coffee shop with guitar sense) - but that stylistically the album, as a whole, of a piece, feels very much like this. Just very straight forward. Nothing else they've done is this stripped down and subdued. Even Show Don't Tell, the busiest track on here, is kind of chill.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 14 May 2018 20:03 (one week ago) Permalink

"Grace Under Pressure" (along with Yes's "Drama") makes me wish that Disco-Prog (or, at least Post Punk Prog) would have become a real genre instead of a Kohoutek-like musical comet, arriving and departing without leaving a trace of influence. Then again, I could be wrong, and there might be hundreds of bands who build awesome songs upon the foundations provided by "Tempus Fugit" and "Between the Wheels".

Prefecture, Tuesday, 15 May 2018 01:05 (one week ago) Permalink

Does that voice at the end of 2112 completely scare the piss out of anyone else? It's always given me chills ever since I was a kid and still does.

MaresNest, Tuesday, 15 May 2018 13:27 (one week ago) Permalink


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