Review Summary: Four of the best tracks in my record collection
Geddy Lee: Bass/Keyboards/Vocals
Alex Lifeson: Guitar
Neil Peart: Drums/Percussions
Now when I first really got into Rush, I was in a conversation with some friends at school. We are into a lot of older bands since most music out nowadays is absolute crap. And they were talking about Rush, and how they were coming to a place near us. The only Rush I ever really heard was a few songs from Moving Pictures off of the radio, which I thought were cool. So something in y 13-year-old mind told me to say “Really? I love Rush! They’re my favorite band!” and a bunch of that stuff. So we decided that we would see them over the summer.
So later that day, I decided I should learn my Rush better. I searched some of their music on iTunes, and picked out an album that I liked. I saw the album cover for Hemispheres and thought, “Wow! A naked dude on a brain!” Of course I listened to the thirty second snippets of the song and bought the album. And here are most of the thoughts that went through my head and what still go through it whenever I play this album a year later.
I press play, and the chords for the first song burst in. Back then, I thought that “Cygnus X-1 Book 2: Hemispheres” was a pretty damn long song (Imagine listening to “2112” after being used to listening to a bunch of 3-minute long 90’s rock songs). I listened throughout the song and was about to give up about 2 minutes in, but then the marching riff of Alex Lifeson’s guitar along the side of Geddy Lee’s booming baseline kept me hanging on. And I was glad that I did! The verses were very well written. The lyrics appealed greatly for someone with my slightly more modern taste. The acoustic outro at the end was beautiful.
After that nice eighteen minute listen there comes the next track, “Circumstances”. That riff in the beginning was very catchy for me. To be honest on this one though, I think these guys could have done a lot better on the verses. To play a five chord progression throughout a whole verse just doesn’t seem like the Rush that we know. The lick that Alex plays just before the chorus was a riff that would stick in my head for a very long time. Geddy’s vocals in the chorus are filled with emotion, which really does set the par for me. The guitar show put on by Alex in the bridge gave me the same feeling as Geddy Lee’s vocals in the choruses. This is another great song off of this album.
So next on this list comes “The Trees”. This probably is the stand-out song for the album. The guitars are soft and pretty, which match Geddy’s vocals. The introduction to this song slowly reels you deeper into it. Then after that the guitars burst out and Geddy starts to sing about was seems like war, only from a tree’s point of view. The vocals don’t seem to fit the song quite well. Maybe the marching riff heard in the beginning of “Cygnus X-1 Book 2: Hemispheres” might have been more suitable to be put in this song. The synthesizers and guitars sing together in the bridge, and create a fantastic sound-show which compensates for the rest of the song. Not that it was really all that bad, but the bridge just made it.
Now before our progressive king trio says goodbye, they want to make one more creation. This phenomenal work of art that closes the album is called “La Villa Strangiato”. It is an instrumental song where the only singing done here is the instruments. And their voices will suck you in. The musicianship displayed throughout this track is too amazing for words. And that is the reason why this paragraph is so short.
So after listening to this album, I sit there and go over what I have heard. The eighteen minute epic in the beginning was definitely a great opening for the album. “Circumstances” was a great song, with awesome riffs and licks put up by Alex. “The Trees” was an ok song. The acoustics in the beginning and the bridge were very good aspects of it. Though the lyrics didn’t seem to fit the song as well as it could have, it was a pretty good track on the album. And “La Villa Strangiato, well… wrapped it all up. So I think that I am going to give this album a 4/5. It had some things in it that weren’t quite 5/5 material. If maybe some more work on “The Trees” were done, and “Circumstances” too, the album might have kicked up to a 5/5. But for now, we will stick with 4.