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Rush - Moving Pictures CD (album) cover




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4.39 | 2932 ratings

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4 stars "So light, yet endless, from a leaden sky."

A long time ago, in a classroom far far away I was sitting there bored as usual waiting for class to begin. This older kid Matt walks in and takes his seat in front of me and turns around to talk music. The conversation goes something like this: [Matt]> I'm really bummed out. [Me] Why, what's up? [Matt] I got the new Rush album and it just totally sucks, total sell-out radio crap. [Me] Really? (Playing dumb because I also just got the album and loved it but Matt was a huge Rush devotee and I was a newbie.)

The subject of Matt's venomous wrath was indeed Moving Pictures. He explained that Permanent Waves had started the collapse and that Moving Pics proved the band was just another lame FM radio band. Eventually I got up the nerve to defend the cassette tape that took so much of my hard earned cash from washing dishes at the Mall pizza place. That was sometime around '81 and all these years later I still like Moving Pictures a whole lot. It has a certain wholeness and personality that some of the others lack.

I think it's Rush at the peak of their artistic integrity and creativity, melding together the excitement of the exploration of previous years with the more succinct songwriting of the future. But unlike some of the boring albums that would follow, Moving Pictures is still Rush as a kickass rock band. They are firing on all cylinders here, from songwriting to exectution, lyrics to even the album cover. Geddy sounds natural and relaxed vocally, Neil's playing is reaching new heights, and Alex has not yet been neutered.

I still feel this batch of songs are some of the best Rush ever did, the difference between then and now for me is that I used to prefer side 1, and now I think side 2 is even better and more interesting. I used to think Tom Sawyer was the best song, now I think it may be the weakest on the album (though still good.) "The Camera Eye" is the masterpiece for me here with its very satisfying development and mood. "Witch Hunt" would work perfectly as a Sabbath tune, imagine Ozzy singing these lyrics with Bill Ward on the drums and more ominous Tony guitar sound. And then "Vital Signs" which sounds like it could have been on Signals and in fact the word Signals pops up in the song. It sounded like Rush was prepping the fan base for what was coming: "everybody got mixed feelings about the function and the form, everybody got to deviate from the norm." Goodbye to 2112 and Hemispheres, hello Signals, Grace, and Power Windows. Rush had every right to shake things up of course but eventually by PW they ended up boring lots of fans, myself included. Change is good? Sometimes. Frankly it's an overstated euphemism. Change for the sake of change, or for being hip or commercial, can be dreadful just as often. That's a lesson we would learn over and over in the 80s. Being true to yourself and your art should eclipse commercial concerns and mugging for MTV, lessons lost on 80s Yes and Genesis. Rush would have their own difficulties keeping older fans pumped.

But not here. Moving Pictures is an essential Rush album and belongs in any respectable rock collection, sorry Matt. Arguably, they would never make another album this fine. 4.6 stars.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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