Rush
Permanent Waves


5.0
classic

Review

by Matty CONTRIBUTOR (59 Reviews)
November 3rd, 2022 | 29 replies


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All There Really Is: The Two of Us

Nostalgia is a hell of a drug. My grandmother had gotten diagnosed with kidney cancer, so a date was set to surgically remove the tumor. My father wanted to go down to Florida so that he could be there to support her and help her when she was discharged from the hospital. I was asked to go down with him and any excuse to get out of school was okay with me. My dad is afraid of airplanes, so we made the trek from western Massachusetts to West Palm Beach by car and in that trip, I discovered a love for Rush. This was before my family and I were acclimated to Bluetooth and smart phones, so our options were the radio and cd’s, the latter of which we only had ‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd and the acoustic record by Alice in Chains. Intermittently, we would switch to local classic rock stations, and I remember hearing the opening guitar riff to “The Spirit of Radio” and being entranced by the phaser effects that resonated with the hammer-ons and the sporadic drums that exploded before the main verse riff came in. It was unlike anything I had heard, being mostly familiar with country music, early 2000’s radio rock and 80’s glam metal at that point in time. Every time that song came on, I asked my dad to turn it up a bit because I loved every part about it, every drum-fill, every vocal melody, every quirky bit whether it was the ‘concert hall’ line followed by the roaring applause, or the reggae guitar riffs that came from nowhere. Following a successful surgery, we returned home and my exploration into Rush began.

For a long time, my familiarity with Rush was through music videos I found on YouTube and their most popular singles but as I grew a bit older and fell in love with physical CD’s and listening to albums front to back, I was given the thrills of a lifetime with records like ‘Moving Pictures,’ ‘Hemispheres,’ ‘Fly by Night,’ and most importantly ‘Permanent Waves.’ The virtuosic playing of Alex Lifeson made me envious for his skills and talent when it came to my own guitar playing. Geddy Lee’s soaring vocals, groovy yet technical bass work and synth melodies were integral into their dynamic ability to genre hop and experiment with various soundscapes and moods. Of course, Neil Peart’s insane ability transcends genres in terms of masterful technique and songwriting prowess but it’s the little things that he does, the nuanced creativity and love he put into these songs both with his drums but also his words that helped define the iconic Rush lore and sound.

“Freewill” being another single that plays on the radio frequently features some of Alex’s most frenetic and technical lead work to date ranging from the descending opening riff to the furiously paced guitar solo in the central part of the song. Rush’s knack for tempo and time signature changes plays a vital role in the ebbs and flows of this song going from that insane solo section into a slower melodically and methodically plucked section that slows down featuring an almost new wave vibe to it. The fan favorite “Jacob’s Ladder” explores their progressive leanings from previous records with it being broken up into a dark opening verse with ominous lyrics equating the clouds to soldiers getting ready for war, a long instrumental bridge drenched with synths and vibey riffs, and a build-up section that collapses into pure bombast with china-cymbal smashes, portentous leadwork and pulsating bass rhythms. Easily one of the most expansive and exciting songs in Rush’s lucrative discography.

Two lesser acclaimed songs “Different Strings” and “Entre Nous” follow with the former featuring lovely plucked acoustic melodies, sweeping string sections and a very touching and emotional vocal performance. The additions and constant building on the track culminate into a final gorgeous chorus, massive with every instrument vital to the emotional explosion. One of the most underrated Rush tracks, in my eyes. “Entre Nous” is equally beautiful with a more rock approach to its emotional weight. The chorus featuring a bit of a slow-down groove compared to its quicker paced verses. The theme of the record at this point is versatility with the band exploring new ways to expand their sound yet be more accessible to the average radio listener.

The ten minute closer “Natural Science” harkens back to work on albums like ‘A Farewell to Kings’ and ‘Hemispheres,’ exploring the progressive side of their music with long instrumental sections, weaving through various time signatures and styles and abandoning the desire for radio time. This song is simply gorgeous from the nature sounds that open the tune, to the big riffs and synth layers that weave through the runtime. With each massive Rush song, they find a way to create drama and suspense almost like watching a short film or a three-act play. The movements, the ebbs and flows are so natural yet can be a bit spontaneous at times. It’s masterful, it’s angelic, it’s perfection and I love it.

This record means a lot to me and I’m sure to many other Rush fanatics. It’s the beginning of Rush’s pursuit of radio affectation through shorter songs and more simplistic instrumental passages but still features dense, intricate songwriting. The combination of these two desires creates a unique piece of Rush’s illustrious career with some of their most recognizable singles and most interesting deep cuts. I could talk about this record endlessly but I’ll leave it as professionally as I can before I break into full on fanboy.



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user ratings (1971)
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
November 3rd 2022


1575 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I just wanted to take a bit of time to ponder my favorite record. I'm sure it's not very original to consider Rush as your favorite band, but they hold a special place in my heart, and I could listen to this particular record every day for the rest of my life.

Koris
Contributing Reviewer
November 3rd 2022


20809 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice review! Pos'd. I'm really glad that you highlighted Different Strings so much; one of my all time favorite Rush songs, and the lyrics really make me wish Geddy wrote more of them for the band

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2022


18791 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is a certified hood classic right here

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
November 3rd 2022


1575 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Absolutely perfect album. Different Strings is such a beautiful song, probably their best 'ballad' up there with The Garden.

e210013
November 4th 2022


5025 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Amazing classic of an amazing classic prog band. Nice review too. Pos.

peartnoy
November 4th 2022


2153 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love Different Strings but just when it seems like it's gonna develop into this huge epic song it just kinda ends.

SuzyC
November 5th 2022


197 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This was my first studio album (cassette) of theirs I bought when I was 13, already had Exit Stage Left. It still gets played at least twice a month 41 years later. Nicely written, very honest sounding review.

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2022


1575 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you! :D

Butkuiss
November 5th 2022


6549 Comments


Rush are kinda like Primus in that they suck, but with rush it’s unironic

peartnoy
November 5th 2022


2153 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Switch that with Primus sucking unironically and you got it 100%

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2022


1575 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Don't worry fellas, he 5'd a Deftones album...he knows what he's talking about.

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2022


1575 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Flat Earth vs. Earthshine... sounds about right

ChrimzonCanine
February 22nd 2023


2080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

After many listens I still can't see this as one of their best, even if it is solid

e210013
February 22nd 2023


5025 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yes, this is one of their best, definitely. it's also one of my favourites too.

Brabiz
March 20th 2023


2151 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Natural Science is the best Epic Rush ever did

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
March 20th 2023


1575 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hard to argue with that, my friend!

Koris
Contributing Reviewer
March 21st 2023


20809 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

best Rush

e210013
March 21st 2023


5025 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

One of best. I prefer Hemispheres and A Farewell To Kings, followed by this one and with Moving Pictures in the fourth place.

peartnoy
March 21st 2023


2153 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

For me these 4 probably go Moving Pictures, Permanent Waves, Hemispheres and Farewell to Kings last. So I guess in chronological order haha.

e210013
March 21st 2023


5025 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Almost the opposite of me. Lol.



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