Rush is probably most well known for their drummer, Neil Peart, which is understandable. However, to any knowledgable Rush fan, it is a lot more than that. Rush has a unique sound and over the years has influenced bands like Triumph, Primus, and even Metallica. The progressive rock band started in what is now part of Toronto with bassist, singer, and keyboardist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer John Rutsey. Rush released their first album in 1974 with limited popularity until "Working Man" began to get air play. After the debut of Rush, Rutsey left due to diabetes difficulties and was replaced with drum legend Neil Peart. Peart became basically the main lyricist of the band, simply because he enjoyed it and they didn't. Rush released Fly By Night in '75, and 2112 was released in Canada shortly after, going platinum. However it was never certified in the States until after the release of easily their most popular album, Moving Pictures featuring "Tom Sawyer", "YYZ", "Red Barchetta", "Limelight", and more. Prior to Moving Pictures, the band released albums that never quite measured up to expectations set by 2112. The band later released albums providing such fruitful songs as "Subdivisions" off of Signals, which proved to be some of the most dramatic and well done lyrical work of Rush, that era and this one. Rush released about 5 or 6 more albums after Signals, including one 2 disc compilation, Chronicles. Counterparts was released in 1993, as one of their lesser known albums, but in my opinion, one of their better ones.
Animate!- The album kicks off with a pretty traditional Rush sound. The song itself starts with a countoff and a measure or two of Peart's drumline throughout most of the song. The guitars in this song are pretty simple but flow with the song pretty well. The thing about Rush is that unlike most bands, they let the bass stand out, and Geddy is really complimented in this song. The lyrics to this song are well written, and the vocals themselves are pretty average, nothing special, but they go with the song pretty well. This song is actually one of the songs that make you realize Rush's slight change to less keyboards and more guitar-driven songs. Once you've heard the song, you'll learn that this song is, however, exclusive with drums. This song is a bit long, with the bridge being a little drawn out, but a pretty good way to start the album.
Stick It Out- This is about as heavy as Rush gets, at least on this album. The song starts off with a heavier riff, joined in later with some simple drums and bass in the verses. Rush's guitars aren't usually the most prominent things in a normal song, so this gives a nice chance for everyone who thinks Lifeson does nothing to be proven wrong. The song is in general, pretty simple (even, suprisingly, on Peart's part). The lyrics are pretty simple but well written, as usual. The bridge is really the only part that differs from any other in the song. It goes acoustic with little or no drums for about 20 seconds. The solo is pretty short, and toward the end, after the solo, it, like "Animate!", is a bit drawn out.
Cut To The Chase- This track is a little slow to start out, however it is still a pretty good tune to listen to. It starts with a clean guitar lick joined shortly by the bass. The drums are again, pretty simple for the most part, and are featured mainly in anything after the first verse. Geddy Lee's vocals in this aren't the greatest, but the lyrics are very well written, with very metaphoric messages in it, also very descriptive. The bass line pretty much follows the guitars in this song, except for in the solo, which is very nicely done, one of the best on the album. After the bridge, it goes into a short little pre-chorus with just lyrics and drums, and after that, it's pretty much a repetition of the song. Definitely one of the headbangers of the album.
Nobody's Hero- This is one of the only songs that really got a whole lot of attention off of the album. The good bit of air-play it did get was brought to a screeching halt after their were complaints of the song being too depressing. This is by far one of my favorite Rush songs for probably every reason people didn't take much of a liking to it. First, they high point of the song is definitely the lyrics, some of the greatest lyrical work I've heard from the band, and for the most part, anywhere else. Most of the song, aside from the chorus are acoustic, and a bit more mellow, with not much from the drum kit. The drums do, however, have a nice sound to them in the chorus, which also features a well-fitting symphony. Geddy's vocals on this song are one of the better performances on the album, and as for the bass, I believe he is on guitar for this song. The whole power ballad ordeal was bold but it seemed to have worked. The solo is simple but takes the song up to a nice level to end with, making it seem a little less drawn out. The overall high point still remains the lyrics.
Between The Sun And Moon- One of the more peppy tracks on the album, it is a pretty good tune, although I do tend to skip the song after about the first minute or two, as it does tend to become repetative and annoying after listening to it too much. The lyrics in the verse are actually pretty straight-forward, but the chorus is a bit strange, featuring not many different lyrics, and the whole lake between the sun and moon is a bit too metaphoric for me to comprehend. The drums in this song are pretty nicely down, except in the verses, where it is just hi-hat for the most part (kind of hard to mess that up). The guitar is overly repetative although the riff, at first, seems pretty cool. The keyboards are on an organ-like setting which is a bit too much in my opinion, as I don't see it to fit with this song too much. I was a bit disappointed on the Vapor Trails tour when this is the only song from Counterparts they performed.
Alien Shore- This is one of the other more fist-pumping songs. The intro is pretty heavy, featuring some pretty cool riffs, but it's a bit overshadowed by the drumming, if you are listening close enough. The drums have a nice, fast pace/beat to them through the verse, which is all clean, and featuring some of Geddy's better vocal work. The chorus is basically like a version of the intro with lyrics, and the verses are basically the same throughout the song. The lyrics are very well written, written adressing the issue of prejudice about sex, race etc. The second and third time through the chorus, there is added bits at the end. The bridge is kind of drawn out, like one solo kind of stretched out and made slow. The bass-line really stands out at the end, which is really the only thing that keeps me interested past 4:30, but still a good song.
Speed Of Love- I have very mixed feelings about this song. It's nicely done, but I find it to be pretty boring, and one of the only tracks I really skip on a regular basis. The drums are pretty simple again, and so are the guitar/bass. The only over average thing about this song are the lyrics, but that is actually pretty typical for Rush so there's really not much to say about this track. It is all really based around one sound that tends to get a bit overbearing after awhile. A good song to fall asleep to, I'll give it that much, but that's about it.
Double Agent- This is another very mellow song, but I think it's much better than "Speed", as this song actually has some change offs, so it's not the same thing the entire song. It starts off with bass and lyrics only, and goes into what seems like the chorus (it's kind of hard to distinguish), which features some pretty grungy riffs and complex but cool drums, with a man in the background speaking the lyrics. The song has so many change offs that the only constant about this song is really the chorus, and everything else tends to come at pretty random times. After the chorus, it goes into a slightly lighter sound, and then a full out power ballad sound, and although it's a bit long, the change-offs make it bearable. The solo in this song is one of my favorite Rush solos, as it is a bit more metal sounding. The vocals, like usual, are for the most part a little over average, but the lyrics are very well written, and impressed me almost to the extent of "Hero".
Leave That Thing Along- This is a lot like "Speed", as in I tend to skip it, and it is a little repetative. The bass line is the high point of the track, as it is actually pretty fitting, and a bit more on the 'funky' side if I may venture a strange statement. The drums are pretty average for Peart but the guitars a bit droning. As it is an instrumental, the same thing up until the end is not the best way to keep people hooked. The end is the only moderately interesting part, but one thing is for sure, it is no YYZ, and it is about 3 1/2 times as long.
Cold Fire- This track is in my opinion very underrated by those who do know it in the first place. The lyrics are actually pretty average, but the vocals are pretty good. The intro puts you into the mind set of a peppier song, but the verses are exclusively slow and clean, but it fits the song and I really have no complaints about it. The whole arrangement and progression of the song is respectable, but the chorus is the high point of the song, featuring a little of the intro mixed with the slower sound of the verses. It's actually a very simple song, but a great one.
Everyday Glory- My true belief is that on many albums, there is a song that just sounds so much like another on the record, but is so superior to it that the other song in question should just not be there. This song is the overshadowing song to "Speed". This song sounds actually a lot like "Speed", in the verses, however the chorus, turns acoustic, however a faster tempo and it is kind of a hard to describe sound, but it is the highest point of the song. After you think you've had enough of the song, the chorus kicks in and that's what you basically tend to listen to the song for. The solo is well done, and of course, the lyrics are great. The funny part is that the chorus barely fits the song at all really, but at the same time it does. Everything else besides the drumming is pretty average on this track. I WOULD however, switch this with "Cold Fire". Still, it was an OK way to end the album.
Rush, in total, released about 30 albums, including live albums, compilations, and studio albums. Not many bands have the energy, the fan base, the charisma, the overall momentum, or the creative talent or ability to last over 35 years. And on top of it, still put on great live performances, meet commercial expectations, and have the same line-up, except for the Peart-Rutsey switch (but that was still due to health problems). Rush was a definitive band in their genre, and many others, extending out to other styles of music besides progressive rock. Rush has shown no signs of stopping what they do best for many more years.
Counterparts, in my opinion, although it went Platinum (Gold according to the RIAA), is still one of Rush's most underrated albums.
OVERALL, COUNTERPARTS GETS: ~9/10~