Review Summary: Thus, they got on track.
Even with the release of really good albums like Fly by Night
and Caress of Steel
, it took Rush a good number of years to really catch on. That much is evident, and Rush was pretty much considered a trio of hippies who take their shirts to the dry cleaners, take hesitant sips of $7 beer, and who hid themselves in their mothers' basements to watch Rocky
for the thirteenth time. (Obviously, this was far from true) But these players wielded their instruments of choice and on a rainy February morning made the album that finally got them back on track in the public's eye: 2112.
Their debut record, Rush
, was a practice run; Fly by Night
showed some passing gleams of potential - and to a lesser extent, Caress of Steel
- and finally, 2112
gives a great amount of light to Rush discovering their spot. Based loosely on objectivst Ayn Rand's small little novella Anthem
(though it's hard to say whether this was deliberate or not), it tells a story about a paranoid little citizen from a fake world named Megadon, another of those cautionary brave new worlds, controlled by its politico-religious leaders, the Priests of Syrinx. Life kind of sucks for everyone there watching templevision or reading Temple Daily - WAY before the Templora or Templana spread. The hero then finds a six-string instrument that will bring peace - however, he has the instrument pretty much shoved up his ass and he drowned his sorrows in... killing himself.
Truth be told, it's a very dopey story, one that sounds a little too
much like the very real story of Joseph Smith finding The Book of Mormon... but the music makes up for it. First of all, Rush has definitely topped their progressive style here in the album. They've got a crafty use of time signatures that would throw Oceansize
a little off balance, an excellent use of instrumental passages, and accompanied by the correct mixture of instruments: the guitars, bass, organs, acoustics, pathos, they even threw in a mellotron that everyone started to abuse. 2112
is Rush using their potential well; right down to the rockin' fury in the second part of 2112 (Temple of Syrinx
) and the use of synths in the Twilight Zone knockoff track. Who else could stand up and shriek "Weeee are the Preeests... of the Tinpolzzzz of Seereeenks!" with a voice humans can't even reach? Indeed, even with all the silly sci-fi references and the Geddyshriek, everything just feels right
...But beyond the title track, the rest of the album more or less just comes in. It's not bad, per se... but it's more rough around the edges. After all of the "beer before liquor
" phrases, A Passage to Bangkok
just roars in unannounced, dragging in its dusty trail a couple of Zep knockoff riffs and almost silly lyrics about "golden acapulco nights" that Tool stole. The song "Tears" is more or less average, with Geddy doing the unthinkable - singing in probably a voice that you'd be able to reach without your nerves being violently tugged on. Perhaps the best parts on the other side of the album are the Lifeson-led track Lessons
and the random Twilight Zone
; it would probably take Rush a while after this to learn how to keep an idea of the difference between 'dragging on too much' and 'just right'. Thankfully, the flaws mentioned are easy to forgive; more or less.
All in all, 2112 is a very good record. It got Rush right on track, and paved the way for greater things to come. Sure, the other short songs are nothing compared to the massive 20-minute ballad on here, and maybe they tried too
hard to be complete nerds on this, but they finally climbed the ranks a little; 2112 is an album that's hard to forget. And don't forget the star.