Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review: "A Farewell To Kings"

After the success of 2112, Rush would return to the studio to make an album that was, if anything, even more prog-rock than its predecessor.  That album was A Farewell To Kings.

Even more so than 2112, this album is rife with fantasy and sci-fi imagery.  We start off with the title track, which condemns those who would demean truth and wisdom in service of tradition and hypocrisy, framed against a pseudo-medieval backdrop.  Following that is 'Xanadu', one of the two longer pieces on the album, inspired the Coleridge poem 'Kubla Khan'.  This is notable for being one of the first Rush songs where synthesizers are used as an integral part of the piece.

Next up is one of the band's most famous songs, 'Closer To The Heart'.  Peart had co-written the lyrics with his friend Peter Talbot, and this was the first Rush song to become a hit in the UK.  After that we have 'Cinderella Man', with lyrics written by Geddy Lee (inspired by the film Mr. Deeds Goes To Town), and then the ballad 'Madrigal', one of the softest (and shortest) songs in the band's history.

The album concludes with Cygnus X-1 Book 1: The Voyage.  The other longer piece on the album, it starts off with multiple shifts in time-signature, and also has the distinction of having the highest note ever sung by Lee on a studio album.  The song concerns a space traveler who is drawn in by a black hole.  But his story is not over...

This is another extremely strong album, with no weak pieces to pull it down.  'Xanadu' and 'Closer to the Heart' are the two best known songs on the album, but the other songs are equally entertaining.  The music is wonderful, and very multi-layered at times, while the lyrics are sharp and engaging.  In short, A Farewell To Kings is well worth picking up.


  1. Just as an aside, you forgot to put any labels/tags on this entry.