Review Summary: Rush makes the big breakthrough, and soars to the top.
Rush didn’t make history right away. In fact, when they first started, they were just like any other rock band, performing covers of songs and doing ordinary gigs like most starting bands did. Then Mercury records started seeing the potential in Rush and asked them to produce their first album, Rush. It was a good start for the band, and they started to climb into the walk of fame. It only got better for them when they produced Fly by Night, and the band started to claim more success. They started touring more and becoming known.
But as the years went by, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, the band’s vocalist/bassist and guitarist started to grow interest in progressive rock and jazz fusion. John Rutsey, the band’s drummer wasn’t fond of the genre and then quit. About a few months to a year later, Rush finally had a new drummer, Neil Peart, the complex, storytelling mind. With their new ideas, they came out with Caress of Steel, which was expected to be successful. It was not heartfelt by fans and especially not by critics, in other words, it was immediately panned. This was due to the loss of commercial album feel and the rather cheesy execution of concept songs, The Necromancer and The Fountain of Lamneth.
In the midst of a rise of a punk age and the falling of progressive rock, Mercury was going to give the group one more chance to make it right. Their expectations were an even better commercial record than Fly by Night. But Rush would compromise the balance between concept of commercialism and put it together in a new, far more exciting album that would bring the group to high fame and a better name for themselves. This album would be seen as one of the greatest progressive rock albums in the late seventies. That album is 2112.
The title track, 2112, is the apex of the whole album, by far surpassing the power and positivity of Caress of Steel, because its story is fresh and new to the people. Starting with Overture, each movement of the whole piece is well introduced and already surpasses that of The Necromancer and The Fountain for one simple reason: it’s more exciting. But it’s only more of a story pitch when you enter part two, The Temples of Syrinx.
Part Two introduces the high, rough, and heavy vocals done by Geddy Lee, in a manner so positively executed. This is the movement were you begin to learn about a society in which the priest oversee and control everything. This is where the loss of individuality comes into the album, compliments of Neil Peart, the mind behind the idea. The idea came from a famous author, coincidently named Ayn Rand.
Part Three, Discovery, is really about the discovery of a guitar by an ordinary man. Not to mention, the song feels like it has been discovered. Take for example, Alex Lifeson tuning a guitar that hasn’t been touched in years. It only adds on to the authenticity of this part of the song. This is where the hero will attempt to be glorious and face off the priests in Part Four.
Part Four, Presentation, is the battle for the return of uniqueness. The song starts out calm and flowing as the hero attempts to bring the life into the priests. Once the priests come in, the heaviness and power vocals of the song represent the power that the priests still have. And that’s what Rush does really well in 2112. The musicianship is properly able to create the story so incredibly and almost steps into the realms of story making. The rest of the song is the ugly turn of the fight for individuality, as Lifeson’s guitar begins to roar, representing the humiliation our hero/man suffers.
Part Five, The Oracle, helps the hero trace back the origins of the “elder race” and the benefits of being unique. It helps open the mind of the listener a little more about the loss of individuality, which echoes throughout the whole album.
Soliloquy, or Part Six, is the climax of the song, as the supposed hero laments and commits suicide. The cold and heavy power of these parts helps to create the intensity of what could possibly happen next. The final cry for freedom is the highline lyrics.
“My lifeblood…spills over…”
Grand Finale brings all the work done together in one final battle to save individuality and stop the priests. The high intensity of the album in this part helps create the scene of the war and translates so well to the listener’s mind. Once again, think back to Neil Peart, the mind behind this song. How would it end? The ending of this song has left some listeners delirious, and others very satisfied with the final lines.
“ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION!!!
ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION!!!
WE HAVE ASSUMED CONTROL! WE HAVE ASSUMED CONTROL!
WE HAVE ASSUMED CONTROL!”
That is the power of the concept side of 2112. For one part, it’s more imaginative, creative, nostalgic, and way more adequately executed than that of The Necromancer and Lamneth. And it’s also the theme of the loss of individuality that makes the song even more brilliant. But what the record label wanted was a commercial side. What would that bring?
The commercial side of 2112 is more of a rest from the long self-titled track. And to put it lightly, it’s much more improved from Caress and Fly by Night, a very good sign. A Passage to Bangkok is a great way to start the new side. While it is about getting high, this song is a fun and catchy song and colors the sign of the times perfectly. It also brings out the fun side of Rush that was long omitted in the first song.
The second commercial track, The Twilight Zone is about…well the Twilight Zone. Another good story and good results in return. It certainly improves from boring, dry songs; such is I Think I’m Going Bald. That was an improvement that needed to happen and was done.
Lessons, is another great Rush track, making a great use of their talents. Geddy does a wonderful job making a creative bass line and fun lyrics. And of course the balance between that and the whole band is still in control, which is another improvement.
“Tears” is another great song. However, it is questionable whether Geddy Lee put actual feeling into song or not. It’s also better to get mellow with music sometimes, but how well they’d done it is also questionable.
Something for Nothing ends the album on a good note. For one thing, there’s nothing real bad about the song and it brings back the usual Rush spirit that makes an album great. Not much more to add to this song.
2112 is a powerful and highly influential album that would take a big effect on golden albums such as A Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres, and Moving Pictures. It also marked one the first successful concept/commercialist mixes in the prog rock age. This is about where the band couldn’t get much better and created a platinum hit that may be never forgotten through the ages.