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Rush - Moving Pictures CD (album) cover

MOVING PICTURES

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

4.41 | 2002 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Rush stepped into the 1980s with no small measure of grace. Where the band had failed commercially in the 1970s, they achieved superstardom and managed to reach audiences well beyond the horizons of their established fan base. No less than two of the eight tracks here remain present-day radio hits; with few exceptions, I find all of the music here completely satisfying.

"Tom Sawyer" A powerful opener if there ever was one (and even more so live), this song is perhaps Rush's most commercially recognizable tracks. The lyrics are well-written and catchy at the same time, describing a "modern-day warrior," that of a determined individualist. It introduces that iconic synthesizer lead (a melody Lee made up to test his synthesizers) before Lee takes over on bass, paving the way for one of Alex Lifeson's greatest guitar solos. The synthesizer reappears in the end of the song, which features Neil Peart in one of his best moments.

"Red Barchetta" An energetic track about a young man and his uncle's well-preserved Italian sports car, it was inspired by the fictional short story, "A Nice Morning Drive" by Richard Foster. As is the case with most Rush, the music is accessibly progressive- it maintains a respectable and more complex structure but is charismatic and widely appealing. Lifeson again displays his creativity with six strings, both in his role as a rhythm and lead guitarist. Perhaps the only flaw in the entire song is Geddy Lee's mispronunciation of the second word of the title (which, by the way, means "little boat" in Italian). The song remains exciting even as it fades out.

"YYZ" By far Rush's greatest instrumental, it spells out the title (which is the airport identification code for Toronto Pearson International Airport) in Morse code. The main section of the song is impossibly electrifying. It features Lee at his absolute best, pumping out dozens of notes and indulging in spurts of insanely taut solos, trading moments in the spotlight with Peart, who is always exceptional. After that call-and-response workout from the rhythm section, Lifeson plays a fantastic solo, driving the piece back to the main riff.

"Limelight" Another of Rush's radio successes, "Limelight" stands as one of my favorites from the Canadian trio, featuring some well-written lyrics and a thrilling introductory riff. Structurally, it is probably the simplest thing on the record. As usual for this album, Lifeson is stellar in the driver seat as lead guitarist.

"The Camera Eye" By this point, Rush was giving up on the extended pieces of yesteryear, focusing instead on shorter, more radio-accessible tracks. Electronic noises dominate this track, which has a steady buildup. An upbeat song, the main riff maintains long notes relative to the tempo. The vocals don't come in until over three-and-a-half minutes have expired. Far more reliant on synthetic sound than any other track here, this song gives a good idea of the direction Rush would be taking on future albums, particularly during the acoustic-based sections. This track really doesn't deserve the length it consumes, since mostly it rehashes the same musical movements (especially the main riff). It would have been stronger if it had been cut down in length.

"Witch Hunt" Utilizing more electronic sounds before moving into the vocal section with a distant guitar and accents from the bass and drums, this is one song that admittedly takes time to appreciate. Thick pads of synthesizer dominate the last moments of the song.

"Vital Signs" With a spurts of clean guitar and a spunky bass riff, the slight reggae approach makes this song sound incredibly out of place; take away Lee's vocals, and I would be fooled into believing The Police wrote and recorded this. Along with "The Camera Eye," the last song on the album gives the listener an idea of the style Rush would adopt later on in the decade.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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