Rush
Permanent Waves


5.0
classic

Review

by smaugman USER (19 Reviews)
August 31st, 2016 | 48 replies


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "It's really just a question of your honesty, yeah your honesty"

After several years of progessive rock decline, Rush had enough. During most of the latter part of the 70s, punk was dominating the charts. Hemispheres didn't sell too well either, it was the only album together with Hold Your Fire that didn't enter the Billboard top 10. It ended up on No. 47. In addition to that, Rush stated that they had overdone themselves, and made the music too complex to play and really enjoy doing it. The 1980 release marked the strict "progressive" touch of Rush. Now, they were heading down the same road as many other fellow prog acts entering the 80s.

The stylistic changes are huge, and easily heard from the first second of their new LP. The well-known The Spirit of Radio is very different to their earlier work, especially in the guitar and vocal department. Alex Lifeson used to have a harder hitting edge to his guitar sound, similar to other hard rock guitarists of the 70s. It was rawer and had a more classic sound to it. However, Lifeson approached Permanent Waves differently. First of all, the guitar chords are more experimental, but strangely enough, catchier. Spirit of Radio is very upbeat and has that "sing along" vibe to it, making the song easier to sell. It entered at No. 13 in the british charts, making it their most successful single to date.

Geddy Lee's voice drastically changed on most of the songs as well. His typical very high pitched voice and shrieks displayed in most of their earlier work seemed to annoy many people (not me though), and it's likely that that's an important factor that led to he changing his style. The amount of these "shrieks" was toned down significantly, and it was now hard to find them throughout the record. Despite that, he still sings falsetto on most of the songs. Free Will's last chorus is sung in his highest vocal register.

In terms of songwriting, Permanent Waves is in no way a step down from Hemispheres. Some people might believe it is because the music has been simplified, but this is not the case. Natural Science and Jacob's Ladder are great examples of them not forgetting their past. Both go through several mood changes, tempo changes, time signature changes etc. In the making, they create a whole another type of prog, now delivered with a less wanky factor and more accessible (Jacob's Ladder not so much). Natural Science is in fact one of my favorite songs of theirs, ranking in the top 10 Rush songs. Entre Nous (Between us) and Spirit of Radio are examples of how Rush changed fast. Entre Nous isn't really prog or hard rock, it's just casual rock. But Rush are extremely talented at fusing different kinds of music together, even if that's not a very prominent feature in their discography just yet. Spirit of Radio briefly showcases some raggae near the end, while Entre Nous is more of a prog and pop rock crossover, but it's pulled off very well. Different Strings can be described as a ballad, considering the slow tempo, calm instruments, pianos and atmosphere. In every way, almost all songs are perfect.

Lee and co never lost the touch, especially not here. While not a prog masterpiece like their previous titles, it sure introduces a whole new face of Rush to the entire world, and a very good one with that. With only 35:35 minutes of playtime, it requires little effort to sit through, so I recommend this on a very high level to almost all music lovers out there.



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user ratings (1976)
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
smaugman
August 31st 2016


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwoTWBAbPCw - Natural Science

claygurnz
August 31st 2016


7582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like most Rush this is a great album. Have a pos for the review as well.

e210013
August 31st 2016


5199 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is really an amazing album. One of their best I think. To me, it's pratically at the same level of "A Farewell To Kings", "Hemispheres" and "Moving Pictures".

Great review smaugman. It's nice to see you back to reviews of Rush.

Cheers and keep going, man. Pos.



smaugman
August 31st 2016


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

thanks! just saw that typo in there

edit: whoops that wasn't a quote, that was you lol

Jethro42
September 1st 2016


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sometimes I feel that ''Entre Nous'' is out of place in this album. Not bad by any means, but another epic song would have been welcome instead. Also, ''Entre Nous'' would fit better in let say Grace Under Pressure imo. On the other hand, song forms a kind of pair with ''Different Strings''. Oh well...

Nice review, mate.

smaugman
September 1st 2016


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

thanks man. tbh, entre nous's sound is sort of similar to the other songs on here, especially when listening to that synth. while i like the song very much, it would've been nice to have a more proggy song as you said. i love the lyrics very much tho different strings is also very good, better than entre nous even. it might be an unpopular opinion, but to me, the spirit of radio is the weakest song here

Jethro42
September 1st 2016


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Offfffff Salesman

Too much airplay maybe. I personally enjoy the song very much. It brings the good humor.

smaugman
September 1st 2016


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

maybe, but the song never clicked like the others

claygurnz
September 1st 2016


7582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Spirit of Radio is like top 10 Rush imo.

smaugman
September 1st 2016


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

not close for me

Jethro42
September 1st 2016


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I really like its arrangements, the riff, the way all the instruments intertwine (but that's not a surprise, it's Rush), the vocals... It's a well crafted popish -hit- rock song.

smaugman
September 1st 2016


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

strangely enough, songs from grace under pressure and power windows top my fav rush songs for the time being

Mythodea
September 1st 2016


7457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Need to revisit those two LPs. For the cover of GUP alone, I should.

Titan
September 1st 2016


24929 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

both go hard myth

Jethro42
September 1st 2016


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Grace Under Pressure is nearly perfect yes.

Titan
September 1st 2016


24929 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

between the wheels man.....now thats perfection

Jethro42
September 1st 2016


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yes sir! The only song I don't really dig there is probably ''The Enemy Within''.

Titan
September 1st 2016


24929 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

jethro bro that song shows off your dance moves!

Jethro42
September 1st 2016


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The reggae riff is cool...I find Geddy's lines are rather ordinary.

Titan
September 1st 2016


24929 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

only rush tune that can get me moshin



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