YoYoMancuso
Jack Mancuso
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12.19.21 YoYo’s 15K AMA 12.12.21 YoYo's Top 25 of 2021
11.27.21 YoYo's Revolutionary Rush Ranking05.13.21 YoYo's Excellent Every Time I Die Ranki
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07.20.20 YoYo Releases a Song07.10.20 Favorite Songs of the 2000s
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YoYo's Revolutionary Rush Ranking

Did a Rush discog run for November, remarkably consistent band with only a few missteps across NINETEEN dang albums. Here are my thoughts on each of them. Time to piss everybody off, which is how you know a ranking is based.
19Rush
Rush


2.5/5. "Working Man" is obviously a classic, and "Finding My Way" ain’t bad either. Every song in between just sounds like a Zeppelin tribute band, plus no Neil. Comfortably their worst in my opinion, but it’s not even the same lineup as the rest of their albums so it’s whatever. BEST TRACK: “Working Man”
18Rush
Roll the Bones


2.7/5. Some bangers scattered throughout, particularly "Bravado". But let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I don’t know if it’s some sort of meme among the Rush community, but the title track is easily my least favorite Rush song. Whoever decided to insert the rap verse should never be allowed any creative control over anything ever again. The album-wide lyrical theme of gambling and fate is also kind of lame and overdone, I can just listen to Freewill on repeat if I want that kind of thing. BEST TRACK: “Bravado”
17Rush
Caress of Steel


3/5. Rush took a bit of time to really get off the ground, and their growing pains are more apparent on CoS than anywhere else. Bastille Day and Lakeside Park are two of the best examples of their hard rock sound, while I Think I’m Going Bald gets a bit too much hate and is fun for what it is. The last two songs, especially The Fountain of Lamneth, are incredibly messy and, while full of good ideas, the execution is subpar. BEST TRACK: “Bastille Day”
16Rush
Presto


3/5. Now that Vapor Trails has received a pristine remix, Presto has taken the crown as Rush’s worst produced album and it’s not really close. There are some good ideas and songs here, mostly on the front half (the first 3 tracks come to mind). However, there’s also “Scars”, Rush’s second worst song that features incredibly dated MIDI drum sounds, and the cringe lyrical gimmick of “Anagram for Mongo”. BEST TRACK: “Show Don’t Tell”
15Rush
Power Windows


3/5. Speaking of dated MIDI drum sounds...I know this one is a fan favorite, but I can’t help but feel like it’s aged so poorly. It’s cool how unapologetically Rush committed to the synth-led sound on here, but it feels more like a relic of its time now than a piece of art that holds up 36 years later. Despite this, there are some fantastic cuts here. BEST TRACK: “Middletown Dreams”
14Rush
Hold Your Fire


3.5/5. Like I said, Rush is remarkably consistent. We’ve got fourteen albums left and we’re already getting into the pretty good stuff. Hold Your Fire has a lot of songs that suffer from being dragged out a bit too long, but it hits the mix of synth and guitar sounds where Power Windows and Presto veered too far in either direction to negative effect. Also how about that Aimee Mann feature? BEST TRACK: “Mission”
13Rush
Vapor Trails


3.5/5. The fact that this is all the way down at 13 should tell you everything you need to know about how incredible Rush’s discography is. The remix is the only version available on Spotify, so I was thankfully able to evaluate this album solely based on the quality of the songs. Most of them are very good, and Geddy and Neil both give some of their best performances on this album since the band’s classic era. However, it’s a bit too long and many songs overstay their welcome. BEST TRACK: “Secret Touch”
12Rush
Snakes & Arrows


3.5/5. Fantastic production, Peart’s drums sound unusually crisp here. This one is mostly solid 3.5 quality all the way through with a couple of all timers thrown in. Lifeson getting back on the classical guitar is a nice touch. I don’t know wtf Geddy is doing with his voice on “Good News First” though. BEST TRACK: “The Main Monkey Business”
11Rush
Fly by Night


3.6/5. Neil Peart arrives onto the scene in unforgettable fashion as “Anthem” crashes through the speakers and lets the listener know that Rush have reinvented themselves forever. It doesn’t keep this quality up throughout, but it’s an insane improvement over the self-titled and features some of their most enduring classics (Anthem, By-Tor, title track). BEST TRACK: “Anthem”
10Rush
Grace Under Pressure


3.7/5. Signals, for lack of a better term, signaled the arrival of a new sound for Rush, and Grace Under Pressure is the full pivot into that synth-driven ethos that would define the rest of their 1980s output. Geddy’s keys are the driving force of every song here, but make no mistake about it; Lifeson’s guitar tone on here is otherworldly, and he rips some amazing solos too. Peart is Peart as per usual, and he doesn’t use too many annoying MIDI pads here. I remember this had a 3.6 average when I joined Sput, so to see it rocket up to a 3.9 is awesome. BEST TRACK: “Red Sector A”
9Rush
2112


3.8/5. Time to ruffle some feathers. 2112 (the song) is one of Rush’s greatest achievements, a titanic prog suite that has come to define everything about the band from their lyrics to their logo and merch. 2112 (the album) is one of the band’s best songs, followed by five 3-minute numbers of wildly varying quality. The fact that the first song alone almost gets this to a 4 is a testament to its greatness. BEST TRACK: “2112”
8Rush
Test for Echo


4/5. Are your feathers ruffled yet? The fact that this is often considered the band’s worst album on Sputnik is shocking to me for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it’s pretty similar to Counterparts, which is a fan favorite of their later work. Second, the boys are simply on fire here. Yeah, the lyrics to Virtuality didn’t age well. So what? Every riff kicks ass, the production is fantastic, Lifeson’s guitar tone is top notch, and Driven might just be one of their best songs period. And it’s one spot better than 2112. You’re welcome. BEST TRACK: “Driven”
7Rush
Counterparts


4/5. After suffering through Presto and Roll the Bones back to back, “Animate” kicked in and finally shook me back to my senses. Then “Stick It Out” began and WOW I forgot how damn good this album is. Rush haven’t rocked this hard since Moving Pictures, and the different production style makes them sound even more ferocious than before. Neil and Alex both turn in their best performances since Grace Under Pressure here, with Lifeson’s guitar in particular carrying this album comfortably into the top 10. BEST TRACK: “Stick It Out”
6Rush
Signals


4.2/5. The last of Rush’s “classic” albums is a strange beast. One part ‘70s Rush and one part ‘80s Rush, Signals blends the best of both decades to create a chameleon of an album that jumps from one sound to another almost effortlessly. You’ve got synth-driven bangers in “Subdivisions” and “New World Man”, something new entirely in “Losing It”, and even some reggae in “Digital Man”. As we enter the top 6, we find ourselves examining all the Rush albums that have absolutely no duds. “Subdivisions” is the one everybody remembers (and for good reason, it SLAPS) but every single song here is worth checking out. BEST TRACK: “The Analog Kid”
5Rush
Clockwork Angels


4.2/5. Rush’s final album is a perfect swan song, a grab bag of everything that made them great over the course of their career rolled into one frenetic package. The sci-fi conceptual lyricism of 2112, the progressive song structures of AFTK and Hemispheres, the catchiness of Moving Pictures, and the responsible synth usage of Signals; you name it, it’s here. What a fantastic album to go out on. BEST TRACK: “Headlong Flight”
4Rush
Moving Pictures


4.5/5. Often considered their best, which I have no problem with. Moving Pictures is apex Rush, containing their most popular song in “Tom Sawyer”, which is also one of their best. Hey wait, “Red Barchetta” is one of their best too. And so is “YYZ”. Hmm, I’m starting to notice a trend here. The first 4 songs are quite a bit stronger than the last 3, and the last 3 are still incredible. Some of Peart’s all time great drumming performances are on display here, and “YYZ” gives everyone a chance to show off just how freakishly talented they are at their instruments. Moving Pictures rules. BEST TRACK: “Red Barchetta”
3Rush
A Farewell to Kings


4.7/5. Rush’s first true masterpiece, and the beginning of an absolutely untouchable run of albums. The two epics from this record, “Xanadu” and “Cygnus X-1” often get the majority of the attention, but that shouldn’t distract from how insanely good the other songs are. For starters, there’s the title track, which houses an all-time great Lifeson solo AND an all-time great Geddy vocal performance. Then there’s “Closer to the Heart”, one of their most enduring hits. “Cinderella Man” and “Madrigal” remain heavily underrated 45 years later, showcasing the best of Rush’s softer side. Add the two epics, both top 10 Rush songs in their own right, onto that tracklist, and you’re looking at our third place finisher. BEST TRACK: “Xanadu”
2Rush
Permanent Waves


5/5. I never cared all that much about music. Then I heard the opening riff to “The Spirit of Radio”, and the rest is history. I didn’t know it was possible to cause that much chaos in five minutes. I didn’t know you could end a song that propulsive and anthemic with a damn reggae breakdown. I didn’t know guitars could make sounds like the riff in “Jacob’s Ladder” at 1:34, still the best riff of all time for my money. I didn’t know a drum kit could sound that way. I didn’t know music could be this awesome, and then I did, and I’ve never been the same. And this isn’t even their best album, what? BEST TRACK: “Jacob’s Ladder”
1Rush
Hemispheres


5/5. Hemispheres is cheesy, overindulgent, pretentious, and nerdy. And I fkn love it. Here we have the rightful heir to the “Best 20 minute Rush opener” throne in “Cygnus X-1 Book II”, a labyrinthine musical journey that features some of Peart’s best lyrics and some of the most jaw-dropping musicianship that the trio ever put to record. Follow that with two of your best rockers in “Circumstances” and “The Trees”, and you’re sure to have yourself at least a top 3 Rush album. But closing it with “La Villa Strangiato”? Now you have yourself one of the best albums ever made. In my opinion, “La Villa” is this band’s crowning achievement, a song they never topped, and a song very few bands have ever come close to matching. Every member of the band catches fire for 9 consecutive minutes to produce pure instrumental magic and cap off the best album of their career in flawless fashion. That’s just what Hemispheres is; flawless, which makes it #1. BEST TRACK: “La Villa Strangiato"
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