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Rush - Permanent Waves CD (album) cover

PERMANENT WAVES

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

4.28 | 2123 ratings

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kaiofelipe
5 stars Rush is one of those bands that have improved with each album. First they cut the excesses of hard rock in favor of progressive rock structures (initially with Caress of Steel and definitely with 2112), and when this stage reached its limit in Hemispheres, they made a new stylistic adjustment: shorter songs and incorporation of elements of new wave and reggae. In other words, Rush started inspired by Led Zeppelin, then had a Yes phase and in the 1980s was influenced by The Police. By the way, although the peak of the band is with Moving Pictures (1981), the following albums from the 80s are quite pleasing to me, precisely because they have a sound more based on synthesizers (and I really like post-punk, new wave and synthpop). A fundamental point in this trajectory of constant change and improvement is the album Permanent Waves. It is on this record, among other things, that Geddy Lee's high-pitched vocal was softened, and he expanded his vocal range. In addition, as already mentioned, the tracks became more economical: what was previously expressed in 10 (or even 20) minutes is now done in 5 minutes. Not that it meant a technical or creative setback; quite the contrary, it reveals Rush's ability to more efficiently use every second of his songs. Even the epic "Natural Science" can play in various lyrical and musical territories in 9 minutes without becoming tiring. The economy is such that the record lasts only 35 minutes; some fans regret that there was room to lengthen the "Different Strings" guitar solo, which is shortened by a fade-out. The disc already starts with two classic songs. First, the nostalgic "The Spirit of Radio", an ode to a Canadian radio that still favored artistic value over commercial appeal despite the increasingly voracious music industry: "All this machinery / Making modern music / Can still be open-hearted / Not so coldly charted". The end of the track, in the midst of an unusual reggae rhythm, shows that this was less and less possible: "For the words of the profits / Were written on the studio wall (...) And echoes with the sound of salesmen" . The riff on this track (or rather, the three riffs that succeed each other in the first few seconds) is one of Rush's best. The second one is the libertarian "Freewill", who emphasizes freedom of conscience - and the responsibility that comes with it - instead of religion or any ideology that sacrifices our autonomy: "You can choose a ready guide / In some celestial voice / If you choose not to decide / You still have made a choice / You can choose from phantom fears / And kindness that can kill / I will choose a path that's clear / I will choose free will ". Although its rhythm variations are typically progressive, it is the hardest track in Permanent Waves; the final verse, with very high-pitched vocals, seems to be Lee's "farewell" to his singing style in the 70s. The dark "Jacob's Ladder", according to Peart, tries to musically create a heavy storm. "Entre Nous" is one of the rare lyrics written by Geddy Lee instead of Neil Peart, and has a romantic atmosphere that continues on the next track, "Different Strings". The expansive "Natural Science" starts out acoustic and becomes heavier. The chorus melody is unforgettable, and the final part contains verses marked by a poignant metalanguage that sound like a response to the cultural pessimism of "The Spirit of Radio": "Art as expression / Not as market campaigns / Will still capture our imaginations / Given the same / State of integrity / It will surely help us along". Permanent Waves is one of Rush's best records, and perhaps one of the most accessible to start listening to this band. Although it is tempting to treat it teleologically (that is, as the one who set the stage for Moving Pictures), this is an album that has a lot of value in itself.
kaiofelipe | 5/5 |

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