Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review: "Rush"

(This is the first in a series of reviews covering the various albums by the band Rush. Why? Because I feel like it, that's why.)

If a band has a large enough body of work, it's almost inevitable that one of their album will be regarded as the proverbial red-headed stepchild. For the band Rush, that would be their first album, the 1974 self-titled Rush.

It's not that the music is necessarily bad – even at this early stage, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson are excellent musicians, and John Rutsey is a decent drummer. However, while most of the music is solid enough, it's also for the most part rather uninspired. The band had been heavily influenced by such groups as Cream and Led Zeppelin, and most of the album comes off as somewhat generic hard rock. In addition, the lyrics for the most part simply aren't that interesting.

There are a few pieces of note, here and there. 'Finding My Way' is a fairly solid rock piece with some good riffs to it. 'In The Mood' has some amusing lyrics (“well you're makin' me crazy/the way you roll them eyes/won't you come and sit with me/I'll tell you all my lies”). 'Before and After' has a nice little acoustic intro piece, before transitioning into a different tempo, foreshadowing some of the musical time-shifts that the band would later become (in)famous for.

But the standout piece of the album is 'Working Man', a seven-minute piece that would showcase a excellent guitar solo by Lifeson in the middle of the song. The song got attention on a Cleveland radio station; the city's hard rock fans embraced the song's blue-collar ethic, and due to its length the DJ's found it a useful 'bathroom' song. Of all the songs on the album, 'Working Man' is the one that still holds up well today.

Had the band continued on in a more traditional musical style, this would probably be considered a solid-if-uninspired first effort. As is, it's more of a curiosity, not at all reflective of what the band would later become.

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