Rush
2112


3.5
great

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (109 Reviews)
March 30th, 2010 | 1292 replies


Release Date: 1976 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The most ubiquitous number in progressive music.

I’m going to say it as delicately as I can: Caress of Steel blew. Rush’s infamous third album was poorly received by music listeners and critics for its overblown ambition and poor, corny execution. Was it deplorable beyond all reason? Not entirely, no. It was, however, a misjudgment of the band’s capability to write good progressive music and a misjudgment of their fanbase’s desire to listen to progressive music - a classic case of a young band getting swept off their feet by their own ambition and releasing something that shouldn’t have left the blueprints without some heavy proofreading. The commercial failure of Caress of Steel inevitably led to the band’s label prompting them not to write any “prog-epics” for their new album. This, however, naturally led to Rush writing a 20-minute, 7-part-suite concept song set hundreds of years in the future and putting said song on an album that would ironically go platinum in only a matter of years. Awesome.

Yet I have to deliver some unfortunate news on the subject of the album in question, 2112: although it is by every mean a “classic” in terms of its influence on basically all progressive music, it is not a classic in the sense of flawlessness. Although there is no inherently bad track on 2112 (although ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Tears’ come dangerously close), the album suffers from extreme disjointedness between the 20 minute title track and the other 5 songs. 2112 has terrible continuity - something that, especially as a progressive band, you’d normally want to include in your albums. The track itself though - ‘2112’ - is basically the best song ever. Fishtailing its way through absolutely maniacal instrumental interludes (‘Overture’, ‘Grand Finale’), tranquil, moody pit stops (‘Discovery’, ‘Soliloquy’) and bat*** banshee screeching (‘The Temples of Syrinx’, ‘Presentation’), ‘2112’ is the audible embodiment of Rush’s finest hour (in the realm of progressive music, that is). The story is unfortunately typical Peart-blimey: in the year 2112, instruments have been banned - but a young boy discovers a guitar and shows it to the high council only to taste rejection and subsequently commit suicide. Yet in the context of the story, the band puts together music to match the concept quite beautifully. In ‘Presentation’, you can hear the conversation play out musically between the priests (shrieking banshee vocals) and the protagonist (soothing vocals). In ‘Discovery’, as the protagonist of the story literally discovers a guitar, you can hear Alex Lifeson’s guitar playing progress from one string noodling to complex chord patterns as the protagonist in the story teaches himself how to play. On top of that, in the final seconds of the protagonist’s life, Geddy’s concluding wretch “my life blood... Spills over...” in ‘Soliloquy’ is probably the best thing to ever come out of Mr. Lee’s mouth.

Unfortunately, the second half of 2112 (the album) does not live up to the first half. ‘Passage to Bangkok’ is an amusing and rather fun song that’s only slightly tainted by the band’s usage of “the asian riff” and ‘Lessons’ showcases some of Geddy Lee’s best bass playing ever. The sour patches that are the incredibly boring ‘The Twilight Zone’ and the stupendously cheesy ‘Tears’, however, bring the second half of the album down enough to forget whatever potential ‘Something for Nothing’ would end up having. ‘Tears’ starts out promisingly - subtle acoustic guitar and a relaxed, melancholic Geddy - but as the song devolves into unbearably bad string sections accompanied by AM jazz radio everyman-drumming (for shame, Neil Peart), ‘Tears’ turns into a lulling sapfest. ‘The Twilight Zone’ is much less offensive, as it sports a more than enjoyable, minimalist chorus and main riff/solo. Unfortunately, the disjointedness between the verses and chorus make the song a quizzically mismatched potpourri of different ideas.

As for 2112’s status as a revered classic prog album - it’s undeniable that Rush deserve every bit of praise they get for the monumental title track, but it’s equally obvious that 2112 as an album is missing the pieces needed to make it perfect. Despite being arguably one of the most influential albums of all time, it’s not an entirely complete work. But hey. Best to give praise where praise is due, and as I said (albeit colloquially, for me) - ‘2112’ is basically the best song ever.

Ever.



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user ratings (1899)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Waior
March 30th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

4/19 done

this is for nagrarok :/

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2010


17225 Comments


Temple of Syrinx having the bake sale of the year.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2010


15069 Comments


i'm liking the intentional balance between colloquial and formal

bungy
March 30th 2010


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice, pretty much agree with everything you say.

Zipzop5565
March 30th 2010


402 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

sweet album


Waior
March 30th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

agreed, bungie

alex, haha, intentional... i read a bunch of john hanson early today and i guess subconsciously
became more informal

Greggers
March 30th 2010


2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love the title track way too much to lower my rating

EVedder27
March 30th 2010


6088 Comments


Sweet review, although I like this quite a bit more than you. Kinda agree on the disjointedness though.

Waior
March 30th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

2112 = 4.5
rest of album = 2.5

4.5 + 2.5 = 7 ÷ 2 = 3.5 = my rating



ubermensch518
March 30th 2010


52 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Is 2112 really that influential of prog song? I mean by 1976, prog was on the out, and their are plenty of other epics from far earlier...
Your view in the review seems to shift a bit, unless this is sarcasm: "Best to give praise where praise is due, and as I said (albeit colloquially, for me) - ‘2112’ is basically the best song ever. " I mean even die-hard Rush fans are going to have hard times claiming this....
Great analysis of the B-side; it really doesn't bring anything to the album.

beefshoes
March 30th 2010


4314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Title track is good but I never listen to the others. Ok album, not their best.

Digging: Ne Obliviscaris - Citadel

Waior
March 30th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Is 2112 really that influential of prog song? I mean by 1976, prog was on the out, and their are plenty of other epics from far earlier...


2112 as an album is Rush's most revered progressive album, I'd say... (Moving Pictures is a fraction more renowned, but for different reasons). Although progressive was on the way out near the end of the 70's (I wouldn't say it really was gone by '76 though), progressive bands continued to exist throughout the 80's in 90's in relative and fortunate obscurity. Despite that, a lot of 80's metal bands (Iron Maiden, Metallica) cite mid-70's Rush as one of their biggest influences - so although it might've not been an influence strictly on progressive music, it nonetheless was an influence on music. Modern progressive bands always cite Rush (amongst Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, etc.) as one of their biggest influences and the song '2112' is the most brought up song amongst this 'circle of influence'. That's my inconsistent two cents on the matter, haha.

‘2112’ is basically the best song ever. " I mean even die-hard Rush fans are going to have hard times claiming this....


Hmm. I basically glorify the track '2112' throughout my entire review, I don't see why that comment would have to be sarcastic, as it is hardly oppositional or contradictory. It's a great song.


theacademy
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2010


28787 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

only a 3.5?? i thought u loved this lots.

pos'd obviously

Yazz_Flute
March 30th 2010


18855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pretty much exactly how I feel about this album.

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

HenchmanOfSanta
March 30th 2010


1902 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The first half of this review is pretty much spot-on, but I disagree in a few places. A Passage to Bangkok and Something For Nothing are both great songs, and The Twilight Zone is not bad by any means, although certainly not great. Lessons is utterly forgettable and Tears is just kind of dumb.

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2010


10545 Comments


who are you waior prince

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

Waior
March 30th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

be calm pelican
calbem pelican
caleb mcalpine

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2010


10545 Comments


OH ITS AN ANAGRAM

Fugue
March 30th 2010


7354 Comments


Good review, good album. Nice to see you reviewing again Caleb.

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

AnotherBrick1
March 30th 2010


712 Comments


"Unfortunately, the second half of 2112 (the album) does not live up to the first half."
agreed 100%



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