After 1975's Caress of Steel, if there were any Rush fans left, they must have been getting queasy. The band had been showing great potential since their start, because that singer had such a goofy voice, and they all could play their instruments so well, but until this point, they had yet to make a truly great album. And then they were trying prog rock, and wasn't that *** about dead? Not to Rush it wasn't. Enter 1976's 2112
Beginning with the title track, in just twenty minutes we have everything that anybody loves (or hates) about Rush. First off, it's twenty minutes long, so most people tune out there, but for the blessed few of us who are awesome, we just turn up the volume. And immediately we are treated with mysticism, and trademark progressive "weirdness" which Rush have come to master at this point. The concept of the song is loosely based around "the genius of Ayn Rand", making it all the more over-the-top and slightly ridiculous, and the song is complete with Geddy's chipmunk-esque shrieks that only the true goofball music listeners like myself will love, and the galloping riffs and bass, and the tempo changes - it's all just ridiculous prog rock, but the amazing thing is, they know it's ridiculous. It's perfectly aware of the fact that a twenty minute song based around Ayn Rand's Fountainhead will be laughed at by any music listener that takes him or herself too seriously, but it simply doesn't care. This song is borderline heavy metal, laying the groundwork for future epics such as Metallica's Master of Puppets and Iron Maiden's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and hints of many other bands can all be heard here, showing the true influence Rush has had on rock n' roll. But everything that can be said about this song (or rather, journey) has already been said. It is futuristic, over-the-top, and pure musical bliss, and among the best that 1970's rock music has to offer.
But what about the rest of the album?
A Passage To Bangkok makes me laugh every time, with the stereotypical Chinese riff that gets played all the time, but it sounds so great. It's another hard rock masterpiece, signifying Rush as a true force to be reckoned with. But what we have in the middle of the album isn't quite as mindblowing...
The Twilight Zone is a decent song, but Lessons and Tears are just simply boring and unforgettable, causing the album to suffer for the very reasons that the band's previous outing, Caress of Steel, did. Even as I listen to the album as I type, I cannot remember a single note from these songs.
Luckily, Something For Nothing closes the album very well with one of the band's most memorable choruses, and some great lyrics to boot.
So overall, 2112 is a classic - the song, that is. Overall, the album is fairly consistent, and it's good to see the band finally realize their potential and come into their own, but the fact that three of the six songs are pretty forgettable, makes the fact that Rush had net to create a truly perfect album. Nevertheless, what is good here is exceptionally excellent, and the title track is a song that nearly every music listener is aware of, and it proves that prog rock wankery was still alive even though Yes and King Crimson were nearly forgotten at this point in time. 2112 is an essential album for both fans of the band and not, but it is not their finest release. That would come later down the road...