Friday, March 3, 2017
Throwback Thursday: 2112, by Rush
In 1976 famed Canadian prog rock band Rush achieved what is arguably the highest pinnacle of their entire career: writing, recording, and releasing the epic album 2112. This science fiction themed story told through one long 20+ minute song was a milestone not just for them, but for the prog rock/metal genre in general. After this countless musicians and bands began to follow Rush's example and tread into the newly discovered territory that had been opened up (as no one had done anything like this before and honestly since).
2112 is a seven part suite that tells the story of a man who lives in a future dystopian society controlled by the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx after a war that ravaged the entire galaxy discovers a guitar and believes it will be a great gift to humanity. However, the priests tell him it's just a silly whim and such a thing caused the collapse of the previous society. After that the man falls into despair and kills himself. The other half of the album is other songs that are not related to the story.
The way 2112 flows is rather seamless in its progression. It has multiple distinct parts, yet somehow they all manage to fit together just right. You feel like you're standing on the face of a barren planet at night staring at a futuristic pyramid or something the whole time you're listening to it. Even without the lyrics the music paints quite an amazing mental image for you. Everything is futuristic and wild sounding. The players are going nuts on their instruments and yet everything is still structured and tight. That is probably what impresses me more than anything.
Lyrically you can tell it is some of drummer and band lyricist Neil Peart's most inspired work. He put all of these profound political and philosophical concepts into such a grand, extravagant story and compacted it into only 20 minutes. You feel the emotions of the main character through every step of the journey. You feel like you're really there in the futuristic society. It makes you kind of think of how important individual self-expression really is and how bad things would be if it were taken away from us.
Honestly, you could probably make a movie out of this song. I'd actually LOVE to see such a thing if it were to be done right. It's definitely considered a classic and a masterpiece for a reason. This isn't the album I would start people on if they were interested in getting into Rush for the first time, but it's definitely what I would build them up toward. Everything in Rush's catalog is kind of the appetizer with 2112 being the grand feast itself. I would definitely recommend it for those who love a good story and also music that goes beyond the typical pop song structure.
2112, by Rush receives 4.5 out of 5 stars.
2. A Passage to Bangkok
3. The Twilight Zone
6. Something for Nothing
Buy the album on Amazon: