Geddy Lee
My Favourite Headache


3.0
good

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (109 Reviews)
April 11th, 2009 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Needs more Neil Peart.

Within the time of one year, prolific drummer Neil Peart, of the Canadian rock trio Rush, lost both his wife of 22 years and his only daughter to a car crash and cancer, respectively. At the funeral of his wife, he somberly requested to his bandmates, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, to "consider me retired." This series of unfortunate events, transpiring shortly after the 1997 Test for Echo tour, put the iconic band on hiatus for an indefinite period of time, and Rush fans held their breath as their nerdy rockstar heroes slowly faded into obscurity. However, bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee wasn't determined to stop playing music -- and we certainly shan't deny the man his rights. The result of this musical desire was the conglomeration of various musicians dedicated to forming Geddy Lee's 2000 solo project, My Favourite Headache.

Musically, My Favourite Headache is some sort of moody hybrid, as expected, between the two Rush albums it's spliced in between -- Test for Echo and Vapor Trails. Barenaked Ladies producer Ben Mink takes the role of guitaring and provides capable whirling riffs and sounds throughout the length of the record, alarmingly akin to the absent Alex Lifeson. Arguably the biggest concern about My Favourite Headache was the lack of Neil Peart, who just happens to be considered one of the most talented rock drummers in history -- well, unpredictably enough, Lee has round up Pearl Jam/Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron to emulate the "professor," and truly, if you close your eyes and tilt your head just right, you can convince yourself that this is Peart himself. In fact, if it weren't for the lack of libertarian lyrics and an abundance of filler tracks, you really could convince yourself that this is indeed a Rush album. This can be attributed, strangely enough, as both a strength and downfall of this record.

While a bundle of tracks can give the impression of "Rush-lite," when the band kicks it up and, for the lack of an appropriate word, rocks out, the results are as magical as they are enchanting. Songs like the soaring title track blaze through almost discordant riffs and kinetic bass lines, and skip effortlessly through comfortable dynamics before finally coming to a halt. When the acoustic arpeggios of 'The Present Tense' that suitably portray the folky verses are traded in for a faux-southern riff as the chorus comfortably slides in, it becomes increasingly clear that musically, none of the musicians are playing off their beat, clearly contributing masterfully to the overall sound. Not once do any of the members participate in over-indulgent wankery or technical "progressive" blather (which is kind of disappointing, to be honest).

At this point, you're likely curious how Geddy Lee performs as the main songwriter. Well, consider the fact that last time we heard Geddy Lee write lyrics was on Rush's 1974 Zeppelin-y debut, where his wordplay was laughably embarrassing and naive (Hey baby, it's a quarter to eight and I feel I'm in the mood!), one can only hope that Lee's lyricism "talent" has taken flight. Well, not only has it gotten itself off the ground, Lee has made leaps and bounds in his songwriting capabilities -- hanging out with Neil Peart for 30 years can do that to you. In the album's highlight, Working at Perfekt, Lee casually slips into his infamous higher range (or what's left of it) as he wails "success to failure, just a matter of degrees." Beyond his melodic construction, Lee performs as expected on the bass guitar, noodling charismatically and tastefully to the song structure while his once irritating vocals prove that, like fine wine, his screech has matured into a soothing croon.

Unfortunately, with all the leaps and bounds made regarding expectations for Lee, there are some definite gripes to be picked at on My Favourite Headache. First off, Lee cranks out, albeit forgivably, some stinker-tracks -- most noticeably in songs like Window to the World, Runaway Train and Still, all of which are songs that plod along melancholically at an unengaging pace, complimented by mutually unengaging melodies. Another misstep is the aforementioned bland musicianship -- while it's important to value beauty over brawn, we all know that these guys are capable of the shred, and it's disappointing to see Lee and his new team trudge inoffensively through riffs and chords.

While the material will unfortunately never be played at any Rush shows, nor will it likely ever surface in a debate about Lee's talent, it is a testament to his maturity as a songwriting and a example of his dependence on Rush. While the majority of the record is wholly enjoyable, it contains an inherent emptiness; a void that can be filled only by Lerxst and the Professor, respectively.



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KnowlesRyan (4)
It's not Rush. It's Geddy Lee and some other guys. After you stop expecting Rush, the album improv...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Waior
April 11th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I decided on a whim that I should write a review for a few reasons -- all I've been doing lately is posing as Pam Beesly, becoming alarmingly active and annoying other users.

So, tadaaa. This was my favorite album in grade 5.

Edit: Also, feel free to drop by and leave some advice. I need it. Gracias.


This Message Edited On 04.11.09

rasputin
April 11th 2009


14555 Comments


The review is good - you express yourself rather well. However, there were a few awkward sentences which came about from inappropriate use of commas. For example:

Barenaked Ladies producer, Ben Mink takes the role of guitaring, and provides capable whirling riffs and sounds, alarmingly akin to the absent Alex Lifeson, throughout the length of the record.


Just slowly read through it once more and the awkward parts should become more apparent.

Merkaba33
April 11th 2009


702 Comments


Glad to see this. I think I have this somewhere but have never listened to it.

Waior
April 11th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ Rasputin: Yeah, I read that over just now, it's pretty atrocious. I fixed that one up.

@ Markaba: You should listen to it. If just for Working at Perfekt. That is, if you like 90's Rush.

Merkaba33
April 11th 2009


702 Comments


Yeah I dig pretty much all of Rush with the exception of a few of their albums (Caress of Steel, Test for Echo, etc.) I'll eventually dig this up and give it a listen.

Waior
April 11th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha, drat. This is the most like Test for Echo.

Tendencies
January 29th 2010


9 Comments


Awesome review, but the last time Geddy actually wrote lyrics was for "Tears" on 2112.

BigHans
February 16th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Grace to Grace rules.

KILL
June 9th 2011


72131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

its good but

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

KILL
June 9th 2011


72131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

he just shouldnt have done it

rush is rush and can never change m/

BigHans
June 9th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Grace to Grace

KILL
July 6th 2011


72131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lol

TheNecromancer
August 5th 2011


55 Comments


IMMACULATE VISIONS OF WHATTTTTTTTTTTT COULD HAPPEN

FACE TO FACE

KILL
January 14th 2012


72131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ok album

peartnoy
August 21st 2012


1207 Comments


Good review but you got your facts mixed up in the intro. His daughter died of the car accident and his wife died of cancer after.

Titan
October 3rd 2012


5410 Comments


'he just shouldnt have done it'

damn Kill, im disappointed in you....

this was between TFE and VT......he wanted to continue

Workin at perfekt and grace to grace are AMAZING

KILL
October 3rd 2012


72131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i dont think its that great though sorry!

Titan
October 3rd 2012


5410 Comments


i can understand someone not wanting to listen to this.......since its missing the other 66.66666666666666666%

those 2 songs are great though

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 3rd 2012


16114 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

its not bad but it is sorta Rush-lite, lifesons solo one was much more interesting

Digging: H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft II

KILL
October 3rd 2012


72131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is prob better than victor though



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