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Rush - Counterparts CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.76 | 859 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mr. Peart... You have a strange perception of love.

As proven by everything Rush has ever released since 1975, Neil Peart does not like to write love songs. While there is no exception with this album, it certainly does have a 'love' theme, the thing is... it's quite skewed. Not complaining of course, what kind of prog-fan likes love songs (and love songs only [nothing wrong with some Meatloaf now and then]) anyways. The cover of the album speaks volumes as to the theme of the album alone, with the nut and bolt connecting in an empty black and blue space. Other than the theme the album is characterized by all the tight playing and supreme musicianship that comes with any Rush album, and the songwriting is just as good as ever.

The album is also a lot heavier than the (then) recent outputs by the band. Gone are the rapping segments of Roll The Bones and the pop-ish-ness of Superconductor, in comes the heavy, mind blowing riffs of songs like STICK IT OUT and COLD FIRE. Clearly the band had chosen it's direction after being more commercially acceptable since the late 80s. The album starts with Neil saying very quietly in the background 'one, two, three, four', and as the count stops the drumming starts and the heavy machine that is ANIMATE starts to roll. Good use of synths over top of a wicked riff by Lifeson and a bass line rivaling that of Yes's 'Roundabout' makes this song a fantastic starting point.

The album doesn't let down either. As ANIMATE comes to a close the crunching riff of (the previously mentioned) STICK IT OUT starts. This song was the choice for a single and has a fairly good accompanying video to it, and while some may say that it's too simple, or too rock-ish and not enough prog, yes it is... but it's good enough rock to make up for it. CUT TO THE CHASE is a bit more complex, but still some good straightforward rock that doesn't let down, and NOBODY'S HERO is an emotional song with some very haunting lyrics regarding the AIDS pandemic.

Where the concept really starts to pick up, however is near the middle of the album. ALIEN SHORE, SPEED OF LOVE and COLD FIRE all being some kind of twisted love song. Each one is played tightly and has it's own charms with some true 'thinking man's' lyrics behind it. These are definitely the songs that show Peart's view on love as a human emotion that separates and divides people as opposed to something divine as it's often thought of (maybe inspired by Ghost of a Chance off their last album?).

The album winds down at the end with the spacey-bassy instrumental, LEAVE THAT THING ALONE, one of the most sad sounding pieces of work that Rush has ever composed that still manages to have an uplifting feel to it, and the coda EVERYDAY GLORY. Another depressing song following int he footsteps of NOBODY'S HERO in it's subjectional viewpoint of simply being human.

This album represents a side of Rush which is seldom seen - the heavy, angsty side. Definitely their finest work since Signals and a must have for any Rush fan. 4 stars on the PA, recommended to all but Rush-haters.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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