Rush
Permanent Waves


4.0
excellent

Review

by sonictheplumber STAFF USER (107 Reviews)
October 5th, 2010 | 522 replies


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist


After the beast that was 1978's Hemispheres, there wasn't any way Rush could take progressive rock any further. That album was the pinnacle of their progressive era, and being the best of the lot, it was naturally the last. With the late 70's, prog was no longer the top genre. Things like punk and new wave were taking over the world, and Rush could either catch on and adapt, or become the next Foreigner. For the Canadian trio, the choice was clear.

Neil Peart loved The Police, and Geddy and Alex loved the Talking Heads. So what happens when a prog rock band listens to new wave bands?

Enter Permanent Waves.

Opening with one of the band's most iconic and most recognized songs, The Spirit of Radio, already from the getgo we can see change in the band's style. The musicianship is still tip-top; they are not the Buzzcocks, but they aren't Emerson, Lake, and Palmer either. It's like some sort of new wave/progressive combo, much like King Crimson's 1981 album Discipline. The riffs are layered and upbeat, like many other Rush songs, but it sounds more machine-made, more produced, but it still has that Rush spirit that we have come to love. It is simply the sound of a great band coming into a new decade nicely and taking advantage of the wide array of technology that was available to them. Any fan of Rush welcomes this change.

Coming up with Freewill after that, we have another of Rush's "radio" songs. You can hear this song on your local classic rock station right now, just turn it on. Despite its massive airplay, it does not make it any less of a classic. The song is, without a doubt, the musical showcase on the album. Alex's guitar and Geddy's bass compliment one another quite nicely, and while they are both just as complex as the playing on previous records, it is a different type of complexity; it's, dare I say, complex with mainstream sensibilities? Despite mainstream and pop musictypically being simple in nature, the song is catchy enough to be a top 40 hit. The chorus is one that even those not familiar with Rush know, and it's just an all-around classic song. It also contain's Geddy Lee's highest note, which can bring a smile to anybody.

After these two seemingly pop-ish songs, the progginess picks a bit back up, but throughout the entire album, there is still the change: Synths lie in the background of many of the songs, and the musicianship, while excellent, sounds more studio-ized and robotic than on previous albums like Fly By Night. Songs like Jacob's Ladder and Natural Science are a great mixture of late 70's Rush and this new sound that they employ on 1980's Permanent Waves, making for a great transition into the synth-driven mid-80's.

Permanent Waves is Rush at their most technologically advanced...for the time being. Many Rush fans in 1980 were undoubtedly expecting Hemispheres 2: Electric Boogaloo, and what they got was an album nearly as excellent and far more unique. While the synth-sound would not be perfected on this album, it is still an essential release containing some of Rush's finest tunes.



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user ratings (1218)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jethro42
October 5th 2010


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

in 1980 I was covering Different Strings on drums with my band, and practicing the rest of the songs at home.

pizzamachine
October 5th 2010


12572 Comments


A few errors:

"Despite mainstream and pop musictypically"
"progginess"
"synth-sound"

Otherwise review is good, pos!


XulOnerom
October 5th 2010


1818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, sonic. Maybe you should put the song titles between quotation marks. Otherwise it reads kind of awkward.

KILL
October 5th 2010


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

great review as usual but you should have talked more about how amazingly awesome natural science is! but yea as usual album is amazing etc

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

KILL
October 9th 2010


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

a companion unobtrusive

SCREAM!
October 9th 2010


10391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

plays that song that's so elusive

Digging: Svartidau?i - Flesh Cathedral

KILL
October 9th 2010


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

and the magic music makes your morning mood


SCREAM!
October 9th 2010


10391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dun du deeee duuh

KILL
October 9th 2010


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

dun du deee duh dun du dee duh dun du dun dun yea cbf to do the rest song makes me so happy

Megadeth
November 30th 2010


935 Comments


different hearts beat on different strings

KILL3
December 1st 2010


601 Comments


jacobs ladder my god so good almost as good as natural science

KILL
December 10th 2010


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Begin the day with a friendly voice
A companion unobtrusive
Plays that song that's so elusive
And the magic music makes your morning mood

its like they knew it would be played on the radio!

KILL
January 28th 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

blame is better to give than receive

Waior
January 28th 2011


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

when the ebbing tide retreats along the rocky shoreline

KILL
January 28th 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

beautiful

TheNecromancer
August 5th 2011


55 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

O THIS MACHINERY MAKING MODERN MUSIC CAN STILL BE OPEN HEARTED

KILL
August 5th 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

haha johnnys review

KILL
August 5th 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

dude raven is goin crazy right now

TheNecromancer
August 5th 2011


55 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude Im not Raven

KILL
August 5th 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

dude it must be hans

rock on m/



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