A true fucking classic of the ages, Permanent Waves is another slice of goddamn perfection in the Rush discography. After pushing the prog epic as far as it could go with Hemispheres, the group decided to chill a bit on that sci-fi shit and soak in some newer influences. Whereas groups like Jethro Tull and Kansas were on their way out, Rush embraced the sounds of the oncoming decade and decided to keep fucking being crazy.
Combining the technicality, precision and heaviness of previous outings with catchy hooks and hummable melodies that had never before been heard on a Rush record, Permanent Waves is total goddamn genius. The Spirit of Radio is a radio staple to this day, far ahead of anything else that was going on in AOR at the time, with reggae influence, an uplifting tone that was earnest and sincere yet not a bit cheesy, and keeping the precision and professionalism that the group had achieved on Hemispheres. Freeewill is another radio classic, featuring truly affirming lyrics about our place in this world, one of the great solos of all time where Peart, Lee and Lifeson seem to solo around each other but keep in sync, and the song also features what Geddy claims is his highest note.
Jacob's Ladder finishes off side one, being one of the great overlooked epics in the Rush catalogue. Using repetition to its advantage, Jacob's Ladder is fucking doom. Having never been played live since the Permanent Waves tour in 1980, fans go crazy each tour hoping that the boys bust this cocksucker out, but they never fucking do. Let's cross our fingers for R40.
Flip this fucking bastard over and put the needle on Entre Nous. Neil first learned the phrase from The Fountainhead probably, or maybe he knew it since he's Canadian and a lot of those fucks speak French. This is a lighthearted number, featuring more thought-provoking and sincere lyrics which are firmly grounded in reality. Different Strings is the Madrigal of this one, or the Vital Signs, however you want to look at it. It's fantastic, moody, and Alex begins a beautiful solo but the goddamn song ends right as you want him to keep going.
The true epic of this album is Natural Science, which is nine minutes of some of the most technical and insane goddamn shit these guys have ever played. Featuring lyrics that I still don't understand to this day because Peart's so smart, this song lays the foundation for progressive metal that was to come later in the decade. You can tell Watchtower and Voivod listened to this shit.
Bottom line is, if you don't own this and love it, you're fucking stupid!