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Rush - Permanent Waves CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.28 | 2123 ratings

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5 stars My favorite Rush album, and here's why: Through all of their previous albums, they had written many great hard rock songs, and many great progressive rock songs, some even on the same album, and their instrumental talents were continously improving with each album, but all of those elements are present and magnified on Permanent Waves. The hard rock songs here are just as good as those on Fly By Night and Side Two of 2112, but even better, with the band's ever developing prog approach woven into the songs ideally. What would "Freewill" be without the opening decending riff from Lifeson with Lee and Peart punctuating in time, and the awesome reverb applied to the chillingly expressive vocal line Lee contributes right after Lifeson's rhythm and lead alternating solo (one of his best), or "Entre Nous" without the majestic synth powered intro, with it's creatively catchy chord sequence contrasted by the "just between us" break to the chorus, or "Different Strings", a beautiful love song like none you would expect from Rush giving way to an introspective hi-hat and harmonics jam at the end, or "The Spirit of Radio" with it's ironic lyrics (I still can't believe that song gets airplay considering how cynical it is towards radio) and the mind-numbingly complex unison part right before the reggae/calypso section? Great songs, they would still be, actually. Then we have "Jacob's Ladder", a song that had to take a little time to grow on me, but I'm really glad it did - it's one of the most vision inducing musical poems (as many have called it) that I've heard, with Lee's sustained synth chords and Lifeson's distorted bursts creating just the atmosphere it's going for. "Natural Science" is right up there with the best of their prog epics, having an unorthodox structure, very original musical ideas, and great playing. The lyrics Peart contributes to the album are, while all great, more straightforward than usual this time around, but that only serves to make the album stand out even more in their discography. After Permanent Waves, they would start to get even more creative in terms of sound, but I would consider this to be their overall peak. A definitive album for Rush, and a great starting place if you're new to the band.
7headedchicken | 5/5 |


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