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Rush - Chronicles CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.58 | 112 ratings

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3 stars It must be quite difficult to create a great compilation album. You have to keep mostly to album length (We aren't talking anthologies here) and pick out the treasures from what may be a wide body of work. This album was released in September of 1990 according the Rush's website. By that point, Rush had released 13 studio albums, 3 live albums and an anthology containing their first three albums. Needless to say Rush had already generated massive amount of music to select only 28 tracks from.

Chronicles does a fairly good job of choosing entertaining tracks from each of those first thirteen albums and a few selected tracks plucked from their live recordings. I think the live recordings are important to have because they show just how strong Rush is as a live act. The chosen tracks are mostly singles, but you certainly can do no wrong with Closer to the Heart, Spirit of the Radio and the triple headed beast of Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta and Limelight among several others. For these reasons I think Chronicles makes an excellent introduction to Rush. It does nothing to scare unwary listeners and lays down some serious Rock'n'Roll.

There are however some serious flaws with this album. Firstly, and most notably for veteran Rush fans is the near total lack of epics and instrumentals. There is of course the exception of La Villa Strangiato and the first and arguably best part of 2112. It would make for an overly bloated affair if many more were included; which isn't so much a weakness of the album I suppose as a weakness of compilation albums in general. Still, I started off with Chronicles and was totally blown away when I found out about stuff like Xanadu and Natural Science. One might argue that it's simply incentive to explore the catalogue as I did, but someone anticipating that sort of stuff might get the wrong impression. I'll also say, how do you make a Rush compilation without YYZ?

The second major flaw with Chronicles is its timing. What I mean is that nearly a third of Rush's prodigious career goes unrepresented here. Five albums including the later gems Counterparts and Snakes and Arrows are not present. This also leads to another issue, heavier representation for the 1980s portion of Rush's career. I think it's important to give the full retrospective as it was then in 1990, unfortunately for myself the post Signals period just isn't quite to my tastes.

Well there you have it; Chronicles is chocked full of the mostly harmless tracks from the first decade and a half of Rush. While lacking in some ways and over representative of others I can still point to no alternative to this album as a primer for the music of Rush. I think existing fans can by-pass this one though. You already know what you like. If I were to take Chronicles and review it as if it were a studio album just like any other I think it would probably score off the charts. Imagine if all those songs had been released on the same studio album, it might be the greatest album ever. That's just it, it isn't a studio album, it's a compilation and as a cross section of Rush's work I would say it probably comes in only as a 3/5.

R-A-N-M-A | 3/5 |


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