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Awesome Music / Rush

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This Canadian power-rock trio has 19 albums worth of proof that they're the best band from Canada, Eh?. But here are just a few examples:

  • Their self-titled debut album had a more standard hard rock sound, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have any highlights.
    • "Finding My Way", the opening track on the album. A great way to introduce the band, with its fade in intro setting the tone for a great rocker.
    • Live staple "In the Mood", thanks in no part to its chorus. "Hey baby it's a quarter to eight..."
    • "Here Again" has a nice bluesy melody, but Geddy's raw, passionate singing secures a place here.
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    • "Working Man", which brought Rush to mainstream attention. With its great heavy metal riff and awesome instrumental jamming, it's not hard to see why. The version played on the Time Machine tour is also great. It starts off as reggae, until Geddy realizes that he could live his life a lot better than he thinks he is. The ending is also fantastic. "They call me the working MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN..."
  • Their second album, Fly by Night, brought in new drummer Neil Peart, a more progressive sound, and awesomeness aplenty.
    • "Anthem" blasts right out of the gate with its heavy riff (Some even say it's the first Thrash Metal song!) and great vocals. "Wonders in the world they... WROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGHHHHHHHHHHHT!"
    • The title track, Rush's highest selling song, is another classic earworm.
    • And then we have "By-Tor and the Snow Dog", their first multi-part song. It has a similar structure to "Working Man" (brief vocal part, instrumental jam, another brief part) and works just as well.
  • Caress of Steel was poorly received, but still gave us some awesome tunes.
    • "Bastille Day", which proudly continues the tradition of opening with a hard rocker, and it really works.
    • The first of the band's 20-minute epics, "The Fountain of Lamneth", is also awesome, if a bit less well-known than the later epics.
  • 2112 is widely considered to be the point the band started Growing the Beard, and for good reason.
    • The legendary title track, particularly the "Overture/Temples of Syrinx" section, is nothing more than pure awesome, from its whooshing synth intro to the distorted vocals at the end.
    • "Something for Nothing", particularly due to that Epic Riff and catchy chorus.
  • From A Farewell to Kings: the epic "Xanadu", one of the band's most highly-regarded epics inspired by a legendarily unfinished poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the perennial rock radio staple "Closer to the Heart".
  • Hemispheres provides Rush's third 20-minute epic with the album's title track, which opens with "Cygnus X-1 Part 1: The Voyage" (from the previous album, A Farewell to Kings). As for the B-side of Hemispheres, it gives us the epic instrumental "La Villa Strangiato", which may be even more complicated than "YYZ" (whose difficulty to perform is a Running Gag in FX's animated comedy Archer).
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  • "The Spirit of Radio", from the album Permanent Waves, is an anthem for radio music in all of its glory, and all of its sellouts. It's both a criticism of rock music, and a celebration of how it makes us feel, wrapped between layers of prog rock guitar.
  • "Tom Sawyer". Think about every movie or TV show you've ever seen it in. It's always used to accompany some badass moment. In fact, the whole Moving Pictures album is a Moment of Awesome for rock music as a whole. (YouTube link of whole album).
  • The follow up Signals is just as amazing.
    • The '80s high school nerd anthem, "Subdivisions".
    • "New World Man", the band's only Top 40 hit in the US and number one hit in Canada.
    • "Digital Man". DAT BASS LINE.
    • The song "Countdown" would be cool by itself with wicked drums, a lot of cool synthesizer bits, and the lyrics themselves, not to mention the fact that it's about the flipping first ever space shuttle launch- but what makes it truly awesome is the pitch-perfect integration of the actual launch audio!
    • Losing It. A depressing song about breaking down, but contains an amazing violin piece.
  • Anyone wish to deride anything Rush did after Signals? Here, try "Mystic Rhythms" on for size. Yep, the thickest of the thick '80s, but still an awe-inspiring racket...
    • Distant Early Warning, anyone? If that song doesn't make you "air-keyboard", nothing will.
    • TERRITORIES. Especially the repeating slap bass solo at the end of the song.
    • Ignoring the cheesy '80s synths, "Emotion Detector" has some the best lyrics Neil Peart has ever written and contains one of Alex Lifeson's best guitar solos. Geddy Lee's singing on this song is really good as well.
    • The entire Power Windows album is 100% awesome from start to finish. The "Show of Hands" version of "Marathon" in particular is more epic than the studio recording.
    • "Red Sector A", a heartbreaking song inspired by the Holocaust (although with lyrics intentionally ambiguous enough to refer to any prison camp scenario), is one of Rush's finest songs of The '80s.
  • It may be the closest instance of the band making a pop album, but Hold Your Fire contains many hauntingly beautiful songs.
    • "Mission" is the zenith, with a massive synth pad filling out the choruses and a part in the interlude which appears to be a reference to the Mission: Impossible theme. And the lyrics aren't bad either.
    • "Time Stand Still" is pretty much a straight up pop-rock song, but the lyrics and the beautiful voice from collaborating singer Aimee Mann makes this one of their all time best songs. Even fans who hate on the "synth-era" material absolutely adore this song.
    • "Force Ten" is impossible not to sing along to. Tough times demand tough talk, indeed.
    • "Prime Mover" is easily one of their most uplifting songs ever. A Rush song that is guaranteed to make you dance.
    • "Lock and Key" is a dark track with a very catchy chorus. You also can't forget Alex Lifeson's absolutely wicked guitar solo.
    • "High Water" is the closing track for Hold Your Fire and it is definitely one of the more unique songs the band has done. Special mention goes out to the opening drum beat and how the guitars get heavier and heavier each verse. A perfect end to Rush's "synth era".
  • Off the very underrated Presto album:
    • "The Pass". If the lyrics don't give you chills after listening to this song, then you may not have a soul. The band themselves consider it one of their personal favorites and Neil Peart in the "The Boys in Brazil" documentary on the Rush in Rio DVD mentions that he can never play the song without getting emotional and calls the song "one of our better crafted ones".
    • "Chain Lightning". The opening guitar riff alone makes this song one of their most beautiful compositions and the lyrics are a real tear-jerker since Neil wrote it about watching a meteor shower alone with his late daughter.
    • The title track of that album is also severely underrated - it was not performed live for 21 years after the release of the album, but when it was brought in on the Time Machine tour, it was suitably epic.
    • Available Light can give someone chills, especially on that mournful high note Geddy hits every time he sings "in the available light."
    • "Scars". Neil playing BOTH drum kits on one song and a catchy as hell bassline that was done on a sequencer nonetheless.
    • "Show Don't Tell". For years, fans had been disappointed by how Alex was taking a backseat to the synthesizers. Well, the opening beings with a soft, quiet synth part before suddenly, Alex JUMPS right in with an epic riff. Taking it a step further, every instrument is playing the exact same riff!
    • "Superconductor". An upbeat pop song that is just plain fun to play over and over again.
  • Roll the Bones may be weak sounding from a production standpoint, but that doesn't stop it from having some amazing songs.
    • The awesome opener "Dreamline", the lyrical masterpiece "Bravado", the badass instrumental "Where's My Thing?", and the gorgeous "Ghost of a Chance" are the must-listens off this album.
    • Then there is the most controversial song in the band's career, the title track "Roll the Bones". The song is (in)famous for the rap verse and the video with the rapping skeleton. Love it or hate it, you can't deny it is very funky and catchy as well.
    • The R40 tour redeems the rapping skeleton video: the video played on tour had quite a few guest stars, including Jason Segel, Hugh Laurie, Peter Dinklage, and the Trailer Park Boys themselves: Ricky (Robb Wells), Julian (John Paul Tremblay), and Bubbles (Mike Smith), all lip-syncing to the rap.
    • Even Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys gets to make a vocal cameo in the R40 version with "Who's in a Rush song?"
  • From Counterparts:
  • Even though Test for Echo gets a lot of flak, there are some undeniable classics on it. Cases in point: the title track, the bass-coated "Driven" (featuring excellent bass solos on live versions) and the beautiful slow-burn "Resist", which again gets an excellent live makeover (this time as an acoustic number).
  • "YYZ" from Rush in Rio. This was the first time Rush ever played in Brazil and the screamingly eager 60,000 fans filling the soccer stadium are all joyously singing along — to an INSTRUMENTAL.
  • Pretty much all of Vapor Trails, especially in context with what happened before: Shortly after the release of the extremely weak Test for Echo, Neil Peart suffered two back-to-back tragedies, as his daughter died in a car accident, and then his wife died of cancer. For a few years, it seemed as though Rush was done, until they got back together, and recorded Vapor Trails, a comeback in every sense of the word, to the point of even being lampshaded by the song "Sweet Miracle".
  • Snakes & Arrows has a lot of good songs.
    • The strongest impression comes from opening track and lead single "Far Cry". Fans felt Vapor Trails was a bit all over the place with the songs and production. "Far Cry" opens with a massively catchy riff and some of Neil's best lyrics.
      Pariah dogs and wandering madmen
      Barking at strangers and speaking in tongues
      The ebb and flow of tidal fortune
      Electrical changes are charging up the young
    • Snakes & Arrows features the three distinct instrumentals, the most of any Rush album. "Hope" is a gentle solo acoustic piece by Alex and the Grammy-nominated "Malignant Narcissism" is a strong showcase for Geddy's bass work (complete with Team America: World Police samples, since the title is a reference to the movie). The best though is "The Main Monkey Business", an absolutely furious instrumental that would almost sound like Rush jamming if the changes weren't so intricate and precise.
  • The title track of Clockwork Angels is nothing short of amazing. The song is EXTREMELY dynamic, and if you've never heard the song, your mindset will change maybe once every 30 seconds or so. Then there's the live version, now with 100% more string ensemble. If you don't have goosebumps by the end of this, you're lying.


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