This is my first review. Feedback would be good.
Geddy Lee--Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
A Farewell to Kings was Rush's 5th album. It was released in 1977. This is one of my favourite albums, so here goes the review:
1. A Farewell to Kings -- This song starts off with a cool renessaince style acoustic guitar solo. Then a pause and BOOM, in comes the whole band. The song is great and a great start off the album. It's about kings with bad kingdoms, and how they'll be remembered after they're gone. There's an interesting part about 3 minutes in when the song gets quiet and theres a very cool guitar solo. Definitely a great song.
2. Xanadu -- Wow. Just wow. What an amazing song. It was, for lack of a better word, magical when I first heard this song. There's about a minute and a half of ambient sound effects that really give you a feeling of being whisked away to a new world. Then theres a slow build-up and, just like in A Farewell to Kings, BOOM, everyone comes in. Then we get a cool little guitar lick, with some great drum fills by Neil. This leads into a nearly western style riff, and then a more mellow moment. Then a nice high energy part, which leads into some cool guitar and keyboard stuff. Then we get some of the first parts of the song, but changed slightly with a wicked guitar solo near the end. The song is 11 minutes long, and is based on a poem called Kubla Kahn. Instant classic here.
3. Closer to the Heart -- This was the single for the album. Chances are that if you listen to classic rock radio stations, you've heard this song. Starts off with a nice acoustic solo which leads perfectly into the full band. Cool tune, and a guitar solo, then back to the acoustic part, and theres the song. It's the shortest on the album at about 2 minutes and 55 seconds, but it is quite good. While doing this live, they used to do a really cool little jamming thing at the end of the song, which they unfortunately don't do anymore. I'm not entirely sure what the lyrics are about, but they seem like they're about how people pour their hearts into their work, and express themselves through what they do.
4. Cinderella Man -- This is a very strange song. It's very hard to describe. The lyrics are based on the movie Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. The best part about this song is the cool solo section, which (I think) is notable because of how tight the rhythm section is here (Geddy and Neil are always tight, but this might be their best song together), and the guitar solo's great too.
5. Madrigal -- This is definitely the worst song on the album. It's about how everyone needs help from their loved ones at some point in their life. The song itself is pretty boring, mid-tempo stuff. Skippable
6. Cygnus X-1 -- Now here's a strange song. Like Xanadu, it's about 10 minutes long. It starts off with some space sound effects, and then a strange talking about the black hole of Cygnus. Then we can hear a soft, repetitive bassline, which gradually gets louder. Once it gets loud enough, drums come in with it too, and then Guitar. The build-up here has to be heard to be believed. This turns into a sinister guitar riff with some cool drum fills, then Geddy singing alone, which turns into an "explosive" section, and a slightly happier riff. Then we get back to the opening riff, and another cool build-up section. This song is about a black hole called Cygnus X-1, and how one guy gets sucked into it. We find out on the next Rush album, Hemispheres, what happens to him. The song is kind of like Xanadu's evil twin. A lot of people complain about Geddy's high voice. I quite like his voice actually, but near the end of this song it gets extremely screechy, so be prepared for it.
This is a great album, and highly recommended by me. If you want the more progressive side of Rush, this or Hemispheres are good places to start. However, for most people I'd suggest Moving Pictures or 2112 to start off on. Anyways, this album gets a 9/10 or a 4.5/5. Every song except for Madrigal is excellent, and Madrigal's short so it doesn't really matter that much.