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3 stars In my opinion, this was the last good "new" material that Rush made before they started their slide. It seems that Alex played with some emotion at times -- such as in Stick It Out and Everyday Glory, which is good. What keeps this album from being "great" is that some of the melodies kind of drag. Nobody's Hero sounds kind of preachy, Between Sun and Moon needs sharper edges like ZZ Top's guitaring in Gimme all your Lovin' ". Animate, Alien Shore, Speed of Love and Cold Fire all have potential and start out well, but each one drags into mediocrity because the guitar chords have no nuances and are repetitious. Also, the lead guitar solos are short and sanitized, rather than moving. The riffs need sharper edges that evoke emotion. Instead, you feel like they are just going through the motions. The lyrics are great, as usual. This album is at least upbeat, but it definitely is not their best work.
Report this review (#21082)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite of the '90's albums, just a good solid album. Highlights for me are, Double Agent, Stick It Out, and Cut to the Chase. This one redeemed my faith in them after Presto and RTB. Great songs, the guitar is back, classic drumming from Neil, solid, thick production. I think it was the best they had done since Signals.
Report this review (#21066)
Posted Friday, January 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hardly a RUSH song that got me like Animate did. After RtB, they were kinda dead. And then they came back with a vengeance. Unfortunately, the album doesn't offer a second Animate. Some commercial tracks on this one, indeed. Yet, this is RUSH's best issue in the 90's. Compared to awful RtB and dead boring T4E, there's some real, decent songwriting in it. Yust take Between Sun and Moon or Cut to the Chase. Double Agent, too. It may lack depth (Cold Fire), it certainly is too Geddy-ish (not the worst if you like his solo album as well), but it rocks. Rush re-animated!
Report this review (#21067)
Posted Friday, February 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars You could say that some things here are still in the prog line but it is mainly an excellent 90's Heavy Rock album, maybe their best effort of the 90s - 00s era. All songs are a must-listen with the exception of "Speed of Love", which is OK.
Report this review (#21068)
Posted Sunday, February 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars heavier sound but fortunatelly great melodies are still present. Music played with nerve and passion, new era for the band. I believe it was big risk to sharpen the sound but they did it and they did it great.
Report this review (#21070)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my seventh, and final, entry for the greatest Rush album ever. A tremendous record from start to finish. The production is excellent. No weak tracks here. The opener, Animate, is a fine start to the album. A wonderful bass line drives the song on and shows the band at their powerful best. Between Sun and Moon, Cut to the Chase, Leave that thing Alone and Alien Shore are the other highlights. If I had to choose a weakest track, it would be Everyday Glory or Speed of Love, but both of these are more than adequate in themselves! Alex is again in fine form here, and Neil is his usual world class self. A must have for Rush fans, and for fans of good music everywhere.
Report this review (#21061)
Posted Sunday, March 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Starlog 040310.0736: "Counterparts" goes dingo. Tape malfunction, and the anticipated RUSH reverts to Primus (choppy, warped). Engineering will requisition a better counterpart on disc, but until then a little emptiness dogs me, whispers from the corridors "Counterparts", fills the spaces between my footsteps as it speaks its name in a fabric's friction. The review from yesterday was terrible. A band that puts so much energy into a work of art should fuel ambition, and trouble in Cazetistan left me underfueled yesterday. Not just me, of course. RUSH is a machine, and the smooth hum of their parts has lulled others into a sleepiness that finds the quaternity pre-charted: great, good, fair, alright already. Then rinse it out with a live show and repeat. At least that's the hidden rhythm heard chugging in the machine since "Signals". "Presto" clearly found them recharged, "Roll The Bones" not so much, and "Counterparts" should have been running on half a tank by previous estimates. No. This is a better album than "Presto". This is a better album than I've heard from RUSH in a long time. Maybe it's because I saw the live show (thank you Johnny B. for dragging me). Maybe it's because I owned this on tape, and played it constantly (familiarity breeds fanatical devotion, transferring the notes from the magnetic strip and coding them into your brain). Again, no. It's the songs. "Cold Fire", "Alien Shore", "Between Sun & Moon", "Stick It Out", "Animate." Any one of them could have rolled around on the radio as the new single from the RUSH album, and fans would have snatched up "Counterparts" with gusto. The honor instead fell to "Nobody's Hero", which got under my skin like few songs do (actually, for me the reference point is probably Big Country's "Come Back To Me"). Thematically, "Counterparts" speaks to the relationships between man and woman (in case the nut-and-bolt illustration wasn't obvious enough), the role that sex plays in life and death, searching for a balance between masculine and feminine, and an instrumental ("Leave That Thing Alone!") that might be better left to the imagination.

NEIL PEART's lyrics and GEDDY LEE's bass have sounded better on past efforts, ALEX LIFESON's guitar hasn't sounded this good in a while, but it's the melodies that stick out. To my ears, this is probably as close as RUSH has come to making a KING'S X album (though I'm reversing the formula), another band that just seems to get better with age. In other words, some of the most intelligent metal this side of DR. THEOPOLIS (which kinda ends where we started).

Report this review (#21081)
Posted Monday, May 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rush went trough some hard times. A dark period was over them after Hold Your Fire. They didn't split up but that was a close call. Rush was heading for strange FM directions. Some like this period, I personnaly could live without it. Instead of taking risks, pushing limits forward, investing in new sounds and re-inventing the band over and over, they just wanted a piece of the commercial cake that is rock n' roll. And it failed. Rush stayed a great rock band, but a poor post-pogressive band. The spark is definitly gone, the sound is du- jour (heavy and rude). But the artwork is awesome, to say the least. The concept of Counterparts is an amazing bonanza of eye-candy pictures and cool logos. The cover art is by far one of the coolest ever. Simple, provocative (hey, obvious dude!), and reflects the theme of the vs. woman. So Peart is a human after all! But, despite the lack of creativity and the disappointing song filling hides a couple of great songs. 'Leave that Thing Alone' is by far one of the greatest songs Rush ever produced. It's a rather sad piece of music, but strong in emotion and musicianship. Catchiest 4 minute song in a long time! 'Stick it out' kicks some serious butt and has a great videoclip on top of that. In one word like in a hundred ones Counterparts stands out in rock heavyness and FM material. Not the most essential record, but the best of what came out in the 1991-2002 period. It's like a Betty Crocker cake. Not very nutricious...but the icing is divine.
Report this review (#21072)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a musical masterpiece! Not only are the lyrics full of expressive human emotion, but the music is the greatest, most colorful that RUSH have ever delivered. Recorded at a time when grunge music was starting to dominate the airwaves and new music from synthetic boy bands were just beginning, RUSH made this effort a "showoff" recording by telling the world, "HEY! Let us show you what ROCK music is suppose to be about! Check this [&*!#] out!"

And show-off they did!

Alex was never more colorful! One song that really stands out is "Alien Shore" because it is one of the few times that RUSH has explored the relationships between woman and man. It is a very powerful song that smells of Nitro-Methane pure raw power exploding onto a blistering drag strip from beginning to end. Alex delivers one of his most creative and visual solos and Geddy's bass playing left my jaw dropped.

Cold Fire is an unbelieveable love song that can relate to anyone who has experienced the ups and downs of being in love and having your heart broken.

Everyday Glory should be the new National Anthem of The USA! This song bleeds with the sounds of patriotism and I can feel my chest puffing out everytime I listen to this song.

The whole recording is exceptional. It ranks amoung the greatest of all time.

[email protected]

Report this review (#21075)
Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Probably their best nineties album and showing a much more 'slimline' Rush.Although there's none of the pomp of earlier days, the band's playing is still as strong as ever while the songs provide a compelling soundtrack to the world we live in.'Animate' is my favourite here but there are no bad songs.
Report this review (#21076)
Posted Sunday, July 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Cheesy lyrics, great music. Stick it out, and leave that thing alone are great songs. I think the lyrics on this album were something eart just pulled out of nowhere just to goof off or something though. Stick it out: "net boy, net girl. send your signals around the world" Now you CANNOT tell me that's not cheesy. But hey, The song is in open D and its heavy as hell. Making me love it anyways. Cold fire is also a pretty decent song. As for the, their ok. Nothing too great though. Not an essential album to have. But for those of you who love rush, pick a copy up when you have time.
Report this review (#21077)
Posted Sunday, August 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rush is probably one of the bands who made my younger years so memorable, think of moving pictures and signals as two perfect records for the eighties but listening in perspective they are not by any means prog rock. So this perfect cd from the nineties is another good one but is very far away from ELP and Genesis so I am giving it only 3 stars. Sorry folks try some Triunvirat instead.
Report this review (#21080)
Posted Thursday, January 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars The return to their heavier roots. The production is thicker than the one on 'Roll The Bones', which makes this record really rock out. Alex Lifeson rediscovers his guitar chords from the earlier years, thus playing a leading role. Peart's drumming is top notch as always, performing some great fills on the instrumental 'Leave that thing alone'. His rhythm section with Lee seems built out of flexible iron. And yet, the song writing isn't always convincing. 'The Speed of Love' and 'Everyday Glory' sound cheesy, leaving no lasting impression. On the other hand, 'Animate', 'Nobody's Hero' and 'Double Agent' are instant classics. For any other heavy rock band, this would be their masterpiece. Still it's a fine Rush album.
Report this review (#21087)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Counterparts is certainly the best Rush effort of the 1990s. Animate is a poetic yet rock- tageous opener. The beat is actually based on a rhythm drummer Neil Peart used to play in his formative years. Stick It Out is rebellious and anthemic. It is definitely the heaviest track on the album with the overdriven guitar and bass playing the opening riff in unison. Also of note are Nobody's Hero and Alien Shore. Nobody's Hero is a ballad about the heros of everyday life that are not recognized as they should be. The first verse is based on Neil Peart's gay friend, Ellis, who died of AIDS. Alien Shore is great. The music and vocals are great. Finally, the instrumental, Leave That Thing Alone, is one of Rush's best. If your opinion is that Rush passed their prime with Moving Pictures, this album should renew your faith in the creativity and talent of the Canadian trio. You will never regret buying this album.
Report this review (#21088)
Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Definetly a masterpiece from Rush, one of their best albums, and it's incredible, because it is rounded by bad (or not so good) studio albums (PRESTO, RTB, TFE and VT).

My favourite songs: Animate Me, Stick It Out, Cut To The Chase, Nobody's Hero, Between Sun And Moon, Double Agent and Leave That Thing Alone. About this last, I thoght that Rush couldn't make any other marvellous instrumental song.

The three members play exceptional in this album, but Neil Peart makes his best, like in MOVING PICTURES. I like to listen to these songs and play my imaginary drums in the air while I drive my car. People would say that I'm crazy, but I'm actually flying in the clouds when I listen to COUNTERPARTS album.

Report this review (#21091)
Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Though this album's music sounds quite market-oriented, "Counterparts" stands still as one of the great albums of Rush for me. Songs burst with excellent musicianship, good songs and feeling of power. The CD's volume level is very high, which underlines its energetic qualities. The dynamic opener "Animate" has quite straight rhythm in it, but Neil can get a good kicks out of such beats too. The melodic lines and harmonies are also very pleasant. "Cut to The Chase" has some hard-rock elements, but surprisingly I have found myself liking this quite much. Really good chefs can make a good dish even from the ingredients one isn't so much fond of. "Alien Shore" is also a wonderful track, having good twists in the rhythm section. "Double Agent" is a bit more adventurous song, having parts with spoken lyrics and mysterious feeling. "Leave That Thing Alone" continues the series of instrumental songs started in their previous album, and "Cold Fire" a nice song with even hit-potential. The fans of the early Rush aren't maybe very pleased of this album, but I would recommend it. I think that this is one of those albums which you and your non-prog listening friends can listen together.
Report this review (#21092)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another and ultimate masterpiece by Rush. It was in fact the first album I heard from them. Stunning from start to finish. Of course lyrics are little cheesy, but the music is fresh, rocking and simply marvellous. This is also for me the last Rush album worth mentioning (excluding live albums released later). "Counterparts" encouraged me to buy most of their previous albums, and revealed the beauty of Rush to me. The sad thing is that later album "Test For Echo" was a huge disappointment, and both "Vapor Trails" and "Feedback" are disastrous. Nevertheless their prolific activity gave us plenty of great and good music.
Report this review (#21093)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars The album is well played and sung, with some good sounds. That's about all I can say for it. The songs are some of Rush's crappiest, and the lyrics are abominable. The best track is probably the instrumental "Leave that thing alone". It seems that Rush took a new and heavier direction with this one, influenced by Soundgarden who Neil was quite fond of. However Neil's lyrical style is at odds with the music here. All of you people who rated this album with 5 stars need to go back and take a better listen. To foist this mediocre selection upon us as an essential masterpiece, an accolade which should be reserved for only the highest pantheon of progressive rock music, is laughable. Go listen to Hemispheres again.
Report this review (#21095)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rush's music seems to be constantly changing and switching. To me, ever since Moving Pictures, their music started lying somewhere between popular rock and progressive. Counterparts marks a transition from heavily synthesized and echoey sounds (Roll the Bones) to more raw guitar-centric music. My favorite tracks are 1, 2, 4, 8, 9 and 11.
Report this review (#21097)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars First, general words: Rush are a unique band. They have been playing in trio since years, yet sounds like a superb orchestra. They became famous as a young ensemble; however they became not stale, still exploring new lands of music and spirit. Their themes are serious; nevertheless their music is bright, melodic, never dark and depressive. Their music develops together with them and thus with listeners too. There is still something to find in it, never boring. And their instrumental skills are phenomenal. The music they produce does fill the space completely, but not more, no useless ornamentations to hear. Second, specific words: Every thing mentioned above is the case here again. The album theme is the relationships. The music is hard and heavy, sad and jolly, quiet and loud, sweet and bitter, as relationships sometimes use to be. I appreciate very much those counterparts like Rush (and also e.g. Yes) still keep in touch and provide us with the musical and spiritual themes which are free of superficial and vulgar threads, so typical for the contemporary days.
Report this review (#21098)
Posted Saturday, May 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is more like it! Rush has clawed their way back up from the synth era! Every thing theyve done from 1987 to this point comes to a peak with this album.I didnt hear this when it came out but was very pleased with it when I did get around to it.Not a classic but very very good and an improvment over the past few albums for sure.But Rush is not done with this Album!! Check out Test for Echo which follows this release! A very underated GEM!
Report this review (#21099)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars For starters, I can't say 5 stars...there's too much missing. Alex's guitar sounds like he's trying to do battle with the grunge bands that were selling like hotcakes at the time(thank GOD that's over!!!) Ged's voice, while warm and full, isn't as soulful as on previous efforts, where it is my belief that he used his "emotional" vocals to cover up the oftentime GOOEY synths.

The production, while sometimes clear-sounding, is a bit (O.K....VERY!) muddy, obliterating what could have been a 5-star effort. Maybe it's a fault of mixing, or maybe it's simply that the band AND their co-chair wanted it that way. We may never know. For another, Alex treats his guitar as a textural object, often using it to provide rhythm. That's what GEDDY'S job should be! TO PROVIDE A RHYTMIC FOUNDATION!

BUT...what leads he DOES play are nothing short of outstanding, as short as they may be. Many of the songs themselves, while often great, are not awesome...not like ROLL THE BONES or PRESTO. One thing the mixing did get right was the sound of the drums. They are nothing short of a knockout. Listen to any one of his mid-song drum rolls, like that rhythmic run midway through LEAVE THAT THING ALONE!, and feel 1 inch tall. a drummer, I tell you...I'M NOT WORTHY!!!! Geddy's bass is full and fat, allowing him to take more of a melodic run. Wish it were the other way around, though. But enough of my prattle. Buy this album for what it is; heavy, melodic music from the minds, hearts and hands of one of rock's all-time legends.

Report this review (#38874)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album was the beginning of the early revival for Rush. Long gone were the heavy synth lines, now they were being used as a background instrument again, and the guitar was taking the main stage again. Lifeson uses a rougher tone on this album, giving it a slightly grungy feel. Geddy's bass was now becoming as it once was, intricate and yet it hadd the power it used to. Peart was back writing thoughtful lyrics, but still was writing some mediocre stuff, and his drumming became more hard rock oriented.

Noteworthy tracks are the opener, Animate, which features a great Lifeson riff, and a very catchy chorus. Neil drums on this one are superb, especially the opening drum solo (so to speak). The heavier Stick it Out features one of Lifeson's rare tuning changes (Other examples are Between the Wheels, Resist, and most recently 2112). It has a slightly darker feel than the rest of the album, and yet still has a catchy chorus. Nobody's Hero, a song concerning the AIDS epidemic, features an orchestra, great acoustic work from Lifeson, emotional vocals from Lee, and some of the best lyrics Peart has ever written. And last, the instrumental Leave That Thing Alone! (which was nominated for a Grammy), featuring a funky bass groove from Geddy, a searing guitar solo from Lifeson, and some precision drumming from Peart. One of the best Rush instrumentals available.

Overall, this album, while not better than Roll the Bones, was good in its own right. It marked a new era for Rush, and it was a breath of fresh air for the aged rockers. 3.5/5.

Report this review (#39766)
Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I´m not the kind of guy who is giving stars becouse of the name. I didn´t enjoy t4e nor hold your fire. I am also not very fond of presto. Ok i don´t belive that this deservs 5 stars but it is definitly a 4 star album. Do not expect another afttk or a new mp. These days are gone and now rush are a differrnt band. The important thing is that they are still progressive (in a more straight forward hard rock way though) and the sill inspire and get inspired. Here you can find amazing tracks with catchy but complex arangements. You can also find some of lee´s best basslines, some of pearts greatest lyrics and most dynamic drumming and finaly heavier guitar sound than before. What i´m saying is you should ignore the one or two star reviews unless you are one of those who think that rush died after signals or even worse moving pictures. Overall a great album.


Report this review (#39978)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
el böthy
2 stars You know...I really dont like this one...I tried, oh the Lord knows I have cant, I cant like it! ITS NOT A GOOD ALBUM!!!...At least not a good prog album, r a good Rush album. The songs are all too...simple?...Yes, but dont get me wrong, simplicity can be great...but this time it sucks...big time! Enourmus time! The only song that I can say its good is Leave that thing alone...the rest...oh, I dont want to say it...but crap!!!...And the lyrics?...Among Pearts worst...among? No, Pearts worst! Alien shore?...Oh, my ears hurt! You and I are strangers by one chromosome?...C´mon, what are we? 15 year old boy who want to put the firast thing we heard in biologie class?...and the rest...well, if theres one lyric which doesnt fact its quite good, Nobodys Hero...good lyric, the only one... But...Everyday glory? oh Maria, mother of Jesus...(Im to spiritual today...right?) it sound like if the Backstreat boys learned to play descent instruments...the result? Mega CRAP!!!

I really dont like this album...but I love this band, so this, talking so bad about this album doesnt feels right...but I had to do it!

Report this review (#50325)
Posted Thursday, October 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I wil keep this brief. The lyrical theme on this album is about relationships. It is some of Peart's more profound exercises. Sure for many it will seem mawkish and well pretty damn awful. But for me its great. I love this album for many reasons and it stands up there amongst there finest works. Heavy at times, profound and sometimes even awful in parts. A Rush album. I have never been overly fond of Peart's standing as some kind of urban philosopher as it ends up being pretty shallow and well the guy likes Ayn Rand. But here he achieves a nice balance in his tales of love and conflict. Fantastic playing by Lee as usual. The instrumental is rightly mentioned as one of there best concise slabs of musicality ever recorded. Sublime in its non-chops stance but atmosphere rules on this one. There are certain tracks that deal with relationships that just speak to me on this album. Timing is everything they say, and for me this album suited a time.
Report this review (#50329)
Posted Thursday, October 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars As my nickname shows, I'm proud of being a Rush fan, and this is definitely my favourite album of theirs from the '90s. It is quite different from their '70s 'proggier' efforts, but it strikes a chord with me all the same. As a matter of fact, I've just finished listening to it, so I thought it would be a good idea to write a review immediately afterwards. It is an album I play very often, one that never tires or bores me, contrarily to other records I own.

"Counterparts" might be very loosely termed a concept album, as it is mainly centred on the relationship between the sexes. As such it boasts some of the best-ever lyrics by the inimitable Neil Peart, or at least some that have touched me in a special way, like "Nobody's Hero" or "Alien Shore". I know Peart's lyrics are not everyone's cup of tea, but I've always found them to be emotionally moving as well as intelligent and well-written. However, the real strength of the album is the music, not to mention Geddy's singing. The bassist gets quite a lot of flak from critics and fans alike for his distinctive vocal style, and I for one must admit to not being extremely keen on his high-pitched wailing in the '70s. When he started singing in a lower register, though,I really fell in love with his voice. Last year, on the R30 tour, he sounded absolutely great!

There is hardly any filler on the album, the only somewhat weaker tracks being the last two, "Cold Fire" and "Everyday Glory". Everything else ranges from the excellent (the opening "Animate", driven by Lifeson's furious riffing, "Cut to the Chase" with its intricate drumming patterns, the instrumental "Leave That Thing Alone" and the already- mentioned "Alien Shore") to the very good (all the other tracks).

In short, one of the all-time great albums by the Canadian trio - a pity that its follow-up (1996's "Test for Echo") was not on the same level. But then, tragedy was waiting to strike the band, and it is nothing short of a miracle that they managed to pull it through.

Report this review (#53687)
Posted Friday, October 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now that the nineties are well over, I have reflected on Rush's output from this decade and come to the conclusion that, of the three albums released in this era, Counterparts is the best. It is the most consistent, the best produced and finally and most importantly, the biggest statement of departure from a previous sound since Signals. On this album, the band focuses much more on the three piece nature of the band; putting extra emphasis on guitar, bass and drums rather than keyboards; the latter of which remained quite prominent since the release of Signals in 1982.

Counterparts is the culmination of years of weening away from keyboards into a heavier sound; harkening back to the classic late 70's - early 80's period of progressive Rush music. However, the music itself still retains the concision of the post-Moving Pictures era Rush. The songs are still all under seven minutes but this does not take away from the great music on this album. Rather the songs are highly listenable rock tunes with progressive tendencies. Let's face it: Rush's songwriting abilities are, at the very core, unorthodox. They simply have a certain idiosyncratic approach to songwriting that will forever give them a unique sound in whatever style of music they choose to explore. Counterparts sees the band flirting with the Grunge sound that was peaking in 1993; 'Stick it Out', with its dropped D tuning, succeeds as the most obvious example of this genre. But there are many progressive moments on this record as well; including the atmospheric and ethereal moments in 'Animate' and 'Alien Shore'; the borderline metallic mini-opus of 'Double Agent'; and finally the now classic instrumental, 'Leave That Thing Alone'.

Other standout features include Geddy Lee's powerfully fresh vocals and his impressively kinetic bass work; the latter of which can be heard on 'Alien Shore', 'The Speed of Love' and 'Leave That Thing Alone'. Alex's guitar work is especially prominent and heavy on this album, however his atmospheric texturing and unique arpeggiating skills are as equally present on songs like 'Animate', 'Alien Shore' and 'The Speed of Love'. He also delivers a now classic solo in 'Cut to the Chase', making Lifeson's performance on Counterparts one of his best. Peart is as smooth, solid and dynamic as ever; and his enigmatic lyrics are perfectly complemented by the equally cold and moody music. Overall, Counterparts is a heavy and mysterious album - with an atmosphere evocative of a steely cold winter landscape - and yet it rocks hard and is very kinetic with many great rock songs featuring solid melodies and choruses. Highly recommended to progressive rock fans who also have an appreciation for well written, fresh hard rock.

Report this review (#70262)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can understand why some might not like this CD, simply because it's not one of Rush's 'proggiest' releases. That does not, however, bring it down very much at all, in my opinion. It's hard 90's Prog-Rock at it's best, showing that Rush is not only not slowing down, but getting sharper, more intellectual and more proficient. They know what makes a catchy song. They know how to craft a moving guitar solo, a foot-stomping drum beat, a hefty, speedy bass-line. They know how to wite good lyrics, without making them too deep or hard-to-grasp. In my opinion, this CD just marks the maturation of what was already an amazing "Art-Rock" band. There isn't a single throw-away song on this album (although the Speed of Love could've used a little more "oomf" if that makes any sense). Some might say that Counterparts is more Pop than Prog, and to some extent, they may be right -- but that's only because the songs are so catchy.
Report this review (#72995)
Posted Friday, March 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Polarize me. Sensitize Me. Criticize Me. Civilize Me"

The above lyrics were my favorite yell when this album came out the first time. It's an opening part of "Animate" the album opener.

When this album was released I thought it was not a good album but I always bought every album of Rush. So I decided to buy the cassette version. It's cheaper. But, when I played my cassette, the opening track "Animate" blew me away at first time. I kept rewinding the cassette to play this opening track. I usually did not go any further with this opening track until sometime my classic rock friend told me that there is another good track coming from this album, i.e. "Nobody's Hero". So I did try to "fast forward" the cassette to find this track. Yes, he's right, it's another good track. So I got two favorites coming from this album. But that's not the end of my story about this album. AT one occasion I played the cassette in full album, side A and B, all of them. Then I found something like "tagline" or "theme" that sprang over the album. Yes, each song is different but I find that all of individual songs form a good theme of the album and make a cohesive whole. Boom! Then I realized that this album is an excellent one. Of course, I could only do that because I kind like forgetting their past glories. I knew that since "Signals" the band has taken a new direction with their music. But musically, the new direction of Rush is at the same quality. So, my appreciation towards this album grew significantly. The second track "Stick It Out" and the third one "Cut To The Case" are also excellent compositions. Oh by the way, there is a great instrumental piece "Leave That Thing Alone" which did not attract me the first time I listened to it. But, hey come on . this is modern world, "Yyz" or "La Villa Strangiato" were the past, live today! So I started appreciating this track and I really enjoy it very much.

It's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#75863)
Posted Saturday, April 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The thing about Counterparts is that to listen to it (along with any of the post- "golden age" albums) one has to lose the 70's-prog-epic mindset and get a feel for the simpler, heavier rock 'n' roll featured here. Only "Animate", the opener, reaches the 6 minute mark. Several songs may get repetitive after a while, and throughout the album the vocals follow a similar pattern. But the good news is that the album doesn't have to be heard as a whole; the songs do well enough by themselves, which works to the album's benefit. Once one gets the feel for it, some good material can be found here. There's the rocking openers "Animate" and "Stick It Out", the rock-ballad "Nobody's Hero", the slower- tempo "The Speed of Love". Of course, my favorites are "Alien Shore", "Cold Fire", and the instrumental "Leave That Thing Alone", which in my opinion falls just short of "YYZ" greatness. Overall, despite some repetitive elements here and there, Counterparts is a solid release from the band that proves they could still rock, shifting their sound with the times but still sounding like Rush.
Report this review (#79910)
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Without a doubt Rush's best album in the 90's. After two over produced albums, Rush returned with a hard-rock riff driven album. Almost gone are the keyboards, and this makes for a much more "organic" album, focusing on the power-trio approach of the late 70's but definitely with a 90's hard alternative rock feel to it. Lifeson's guitar work is not as textural as in the 80's, Geddy's bass rediscovered the joys of bottom end (thank God for that Fender Jazz Bass) and Neil's drumming is rock hard and solid.

A great rock album, that's what it is.

Only two songs are filler here in my opinion (The Speed of Love and Everyday Glory), the rest is just amazingly good and memorable.

Too bad they didn't keep it up for Test For Echo. Their best 90's album followed by their worst 90's album...

Anyways, my favorites are : Animate, Stick it Out, Cut to the Chase, and my two huge favorites "Double Agent" and the amazing instrumental "Leave that Thing Alone". I like all the rest, except the two fillers I mentionned earlier.

Not a masterpiece, but an excellent addition to any music collection.

Report this review (#82453)
Posted Sunday, July 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the last decent album from Rush. I'm a huge fan of 70's and 80's Rush and would rate pretty much everything from A Farewell To Kings to Presto as 5 star albums. After the rather inconsistent Roll The Bones (not all songs reach the standard of Dreamline, Bravado and Roll The Bones), Counterparts was a more solid effort. It's not overly progressive and while the odd track can be somewhat bland (Between Sun And Moon, Alien Shore & At The Speed Of Love) there are some stand out classics (Animate & Leave That Thing Alone) plus the heavier production from Peter Collins is excellent. The playing is superb and Rush are still crafting well written songs. Geddy's vocals are on excellent form and there's some great melodies. Overall 3.5 stars.

For me that was the end of new output from Rush - Test For Echo was by and large awful and Vapor Trails was simply dire and as for that covers album....

I'm not holding my breath for the new one. At least there's still the fantastic live shows. Rush have lost nothing as performers, just keep the material pre '96. NB.

Report this review (#90674)
Posted Wednesday, September 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Counterparts is one of my favourite Rush albums of all time. It is a lot more personal than other Rush albums, with songs like Nobody's Hero, which I find to be a very good quality in this album. It is undoubtedly in my 5 for sure and has some of my favourite songs from Rush. It's not very proggy per-say, but its still a great album, especially if you're just getting into Rush. A few songs that stick out for me are Animate, Stick it Out, Nobody's Hero, Between Sun and Moon, and Leave That Thing Alone, which is one of my favourite songs. There are a few weak points on the album though (Alien Shore and The Speed of Love for me), although that is a common occurance in many Rush albums. All in all, I would suggest that you pick it up, definately if you like Rush. If you are new to Rush, it's a good starting point for them but I would suggest something more like Moving Pictures or Permanent Waves before tryingthis one out.
Report this review (#115842)
Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars A welcome change of sound and energy when compared to their past 3 (!) albums. Rush ditches most of their synthesizers and Geddy remembers how good of a bass player he is; "Counterparts" is a return to form.

Showing off everything that made their iconic albums great but in a more adult and cerebral way, "Counterparts" almost picks up where the band left off in the mid-'80's. All of the songs are close to 5-minutes and feature thematic lyrics focusing on relationships and individuality. The opener, "Animate" is a catchy and smart example, with "Alien Shore", "Speed of Love" and "Cold Fire" showing that the band has grown up a lot, and have some new stories to tell. Also new, is the emotional "Nobody's Hero", which shows a new level of sensitivity to Peart's lyrics.

As a whole, the group sounds tight and on their game, with Alex's guitar and Geddy's bass resurfacing after a long absence. Great, meaningful songs from start to finish.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Report this review (#116655)
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars Not since "Signals" have I heard such a good RUSH record. As the title and cover art (Hugh Syme) suggests, this has the theme of "relationships" throughout it. Peter Collins produced this one and he also produced "Hold Your Fire" and "Power Windows". Alex is all over this one, seemingly overjoyed at his new found freedom.They thank PRIMUS and Eric Johnson as well as Peter Zezel and The LEAFS !! And Mark Langston & The Angels. They have to get the Baseball and Hockey thankyous in don't they.

"Animate" is an uptempo tune and check out the rhythm section ! This is one of my favourites on this album." Stick It Out" is on the heavier side. Nice bass."Cut To The Chase" features a guitar solo from Alex that doesn't sound like anything he's done in the past. "Nobody's Hero" has strummed guitar and meaningful lyrics.There is some orchestration on this one. I love the line "I felt a shadow cross my heart" when dealing with death. Can't help but think of Neil though.

"Between Sun & Moon" is a catchy song with great vocals. I remember at one of their concerts Geddy dedicating this song to the memory of John Entwhistle who at the time had just passed away. "Alien Shore" has such an incredible instrumental section before 4 minutes in. "The Speed Of Love" has some cool sounding drumming 3 minutes in. "Double Agent" is the best song as far as I am concerned. Amazing lyrics and great bass. "Leave That Thing Alone" is one of my top 3 on this record. An instrumental that was nominated for a Grammy in 1995. This song makes me feel so good. "Cold Fire" is all about the lyrics. "Everyday Glory" is an uplifting song.

This is the first 4 star rating I have given a RUSH record since "Signals". Highly recommended.

Report this review (#121458)
Posted Wednesday, May 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Superb songwriting throughout make CP one of Rush's best records. Standout tracks include every tune of the ablum. This is not an album; however, for Rush/prog purists. Prog masterpieces are nowhere to found on this recording. Tight little hard rock/prog twist songs make up the matter of this album and it is only with repeated listening that the true brilliance of what they are going is finally achieved in the intricacies of the intenste musicianship and sound that goes into making this one of the most underrated recordings in the Rush pantheon. CP is an excellent album release by a band that continues to shatter general expectations from a bunch of "fans" who want them to record Fly by Night and 2112 over and over until they croak.
Report this review (#121791)
Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Presto was a return to form for the band, but Counterparts is their true comeback album. Released in the the classic rock-unfriendly alternative explosion, Counterparts seemed doomed to fail. Presto was good, Roll the Bones was a step backwards, so why should this have been any good? Though Peart uses themes in nearly all of Rush's albums, this is the first- and only- concept album by the band. It deals with relantionships and romance, and it features the band's best melodies in a long while. After half a decade of sitting in the background, Alex gets back to the front for their most guitar-driven album since Hemispheres. Lee has picked up some new tricks and Peart never fails to dazzle.

There are quite a few gems on this album, especially the opener "Animate," which is driven by a great bassline. "Stick It Out" is one of Rush's heaviest songs, and it truly heralds the return of Alex. "Leave That Thing Alone" is a fun instrumental and one of the band's best. "Cut to the Chase" shows off Peart's amazing drum skills. "Cold Fire" and "Alien Shore" show how the band has matured from the sci-fi freakouts of yore. The true highlight of this album, however, is "Nobody's Hero," which is Peart's plea for HIV awareness. It's one of the Peart's most moving songs (maybe even more so thatn Different Strings). It features an orchestra, wondeful vocals, and beautiful acoustic guitar from Alex.

Some criticize the album for sounding alternative. I always defined alternative as alternative to what was dominant on the radio. Now, the term has been twisted into a certain sound, which I think defeats the purpose of being alternative if everyone sounds like each other. True, this almost sounds like a collaboration with King's X. However, you'll be hard pressed to find a concept album in the grunge revolution. The band would follow this powerful album with the flawed but decent Test For Echo, but it would be nearly another decade before they made an album worthy of following this.

Grade: B

Report this review (#127119)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a great Rush album. It's solid, progressive, but still has that Rush sound. Personally, I like all the songs, but I can't listen to the whole thing straight through or replay it in a short period of time. Other than that, these guys make their music flow as all of them do a good part in their musicianship. Neil Pert is very commendable in this album. All in all, an excellent addition to any prog music collection, but it's so repetitive with that Rush sound which make the replay value for me slim to none. If your a Rush fan it's a must have.
Report this review (#128886)
Posted Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4 stars really... but a personal 4.5!

THE BEST of the 1990's+ RUSH. This album does exactly what it set out to do, express what the band knows about love and make sweet prog rock music while doing it. If there is one thing I can say about RUSH's effort in this album is that it is consistent and focused. The intrumental, Leave that Thing alone, is easily in the top three for my favorite Rush intrumentals of all time. Although it is not exactly a concept album, the concept is heard loud and clear. From the opening gem to the very end the lyrics and music all stick to the same page and just work. Speaking of lyrics, Peart sounds like a love doctor, like Hitch or something, because he sure has wisdom when it comes to relationship's. The lyrics are well thought and easily some of his very best ever. You may even smile and think about a special someone after listening to Counterparts.

This is one of my top Rush albums of all time, and I would consider myself a die hard Rush fan as well. An album that just never grows dull no matter how many times you spin it. Although probably not essential, as it's not the most progressive Rush album out there, it is absolutely excellent.

Report this review (#130003)
Posted Monday, July 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
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.

Report this review (#161600)
Posted Monday, February 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a very strong Rush release. I agree with the reviewers that said this is Rush's best work of the 1990's. I totally agree. While Test For Echo is a good Rush release with some great tracks, Counterparts overall is heavier, stronger, and tighter. It is my opinion that Counterparts is likely that last great Rush CD. This release is gritty, energetic, and super focused both lyrically and on song execution. Highlights would be Animate, Stick It Out, Cut To The Chase, Leave That Thing Alone, Double Agent and Cold Fire. Weak songs are Nobody's Hero and Everyday Glory. Rush really were focused on all aspects of writing and recording this release. The production is strong with great basslines, heavy guitars, and precise drumming. Rush did a incredible job on this. Tour was great too. Rush rocked Reunion in Dallas.
Report this review (#163269)
Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Okay, I couldn't believe Counterparts rated a 3.99 on the Prog Archives.....I'd give it a 2.5, maybe a 3. So I went back and listened to it in its entirety, just to be sure. And now I'm convinced it's more like a 2 or 2.5. I mean. there's just no good songs here. Animate and Stick It Out rank as mediocre late-era Rush songs...the rest are just crap. Even the instrumental, Don't Touch That Thing, is probably the worst Rush instrumental ever.

I understand why people cheered the decision to de-emphasize the synths, return to a more streamlined sound and generally rock out more. But, man, the songs are just terrible. I just don't find anything redeemable in any of the songs after the first two. I don't get it. After just now (painfully) finishing the entire album, no question...a 2.

Report this review (#174725)
Posted Saturday, June 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars And here we have my favorite band's most highly rated album since Signals... wait, what?

Counterparts is an important mark in Rush's development of their current sound, and starts off their trend of their irritating alternative-ish sound and somewhat disappointing lyrics. But wait! There is definitely quality song writing here (I don't see much reason to mention the musicianship - I mean, it's Rush) and I would say it is probably the last Rush album really worth a chunk of the progger's paycheck, though certainly not too big of a chunk. Overall this album does not disappoint (much) on musical terms, which has a more angst sort of mood to it. I still don't see how it tops Roll the Bones, which is much more varied in sound, inspired, and energetic, and had more keyboard work, but Counterparts is still a very decent album in its own right. The atmospheric quality achieved with the vocal harmonies, slower chord based guitar, really helps lift the album to its feet, and the song writing is what gets it going. Not the most progressive thing out there, but as good as it gets for alternative sounding Rush.

The lyrical content, however, does disappoint me quite a bit, considering we're talking about Neil Peart's capabilities. Back in the golden age of the band's music, we had lyrics dealing with government, poetry, and science fiction. Even the previous album, Roll the Bones, had lyrics dealing with the rolls of chance in our lives that worked well the the music. And now they have been watered down to not stereotyping people and being accepting. Wow. But don't fret, they are all better than the lyrics of the upcoming albums.

The album is mostly composed of decent (though for Rush, slightly above average) songs, the best ones in my mind being both starter song Animate, one of the best songs they had released in a long time, and Leave that Thing Alone, as good as any instrumental the band has written since YYZ. Alien Shore, Double Agent, and Everyday Glory are all great songs as well, and certainly help make this album worth that chunk of the paycheck, mainly for the heavy progger, and especially for the Rush fan.

Report this review (#178760)
Posted Sunday, August 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars RUSH is a band that has been around now for over 30 years, and has gone though many musical phases. I consider the bands 1990 releases as their "Contemporary period". Albums included are Presto (1989), Roll the Bones (1991), Counterparts (1993), Test for Echo (1996), and Different Stages "Live" (1998).

Counterparts is my favorite modern Rush album. It tends to be over-shadowed by other fan favorites such as Roll the Bones and Signals, but is definitely one of the best post-Moving Picture albums. Counterparts is not very "progressive" by any stretch of the imagination, so why do I like it so much? It really rocks pretty hard in places, with the band ditching the keyboards and getting back to a more basic guitar/bass/drum style of music. Basically, it reminded me of the old days.

There are definitely two (maybe three) camps of Rush fans. You've got the ones who grew up on 2112 and knew A Farewell to Kings when it was NEW, like me. Then there are the rock radio fans that were brought in by Moving Pictures and don't really know much about the early, much more progressive Rush. And then you have kids that are only familiar with "contemporary Rush" from the 90's and beyond.

I saw the Counterparts tour with Candlebox opening the show. It was great. I was a little disappointed with the crowd that night, because none of them seem to know the Counterparts material? I had the cd for weeks before the show. Anyway, I also had a laugh when the guy from work that I went with was bored during Xanadu because he had never heard the song! (NOT a true Rush Fan)

If your favorite Rush albums tend to come from the Mid-Era Progressive Phase of the late 70's to early 80's, you will probably like this. It sits well with people whose favorite Rush albums are Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres, Permanent Waves or Moving Pictures, instead of the synth-driven albums of the late 80's.

Best Tracks: Leave that Thing Alone (instrumental) and Cold Fire

Report this review (#182016)
Posted Monday, September 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Counterparts' - Rush (9/10)

Boy, was this a suprise... Generally bands that are out and active as long as Rush are pretty much hopeless in terms of making an album that matches up to the phantasm of their classic works. Well, this is what 'Counterparts' is. A fantastic work that could rival most of their traditionally considered 'essential' works, and a fair contender for my favourite Rush album (possibly losing only to Moving Pictures.)

What makes this album so amazing? It's definately not a highly progressive album by any measure. There aren't any epics here; just regular songs, with pretty conventional songwriting. There aren't any virtuoso guitar solos, or some concept behind the music that ties it together as a masterpiece. It's simply for the MUSIC. While it's pretty modern rock for Rush, it's still not something that I would quickly simply want to characterize. It's just music, and very honest music at that. Instead of trying to go all epic and ahead of the times, Rush has composed an album that's sincere.

The flow and songwriting are both great, and compliment each other very nicely. The music is beautiful without losing it's teeth, and the lyrics don't try to be all cryptic. They simply tell stories. And to add to the mix, there's an occasional prog section to liven things up.

'Counterparts' is fantastic. The band is in top form here. It works together both as a single work of music and as individual strong songs. Uncompromised, honest enjoyment.

Report this review (#205993)
Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Counterparts is the fifteenth full-length studio album by Canadian progressive rock act Rush. The album was produced by Peter Collins who had also worked with the band on Power Windows (1985) and Hold Your Fire (1987). Counterparts was released through Atlantic Records on the 19th of October 1993.

The music on Counterparts is a departure from the keyboard laden style of eighties Rush and boasts a much more guitar and bass heavy production and songwriting style. The keyboards are very sparse on the album and Alex Lifeson´s heavy guitar riffs really dominate. The production by Peter Collins is excellent and gives the music a much needed warmth. The songs are still rather simple rock tunes with only hints at progressive rock. The instrumental Leave that thing alone is one of the highlights of the album but I also enjoy Animate, Stick it Out and Everyday Glory but there are no weak songs on the album which comes of rather coherent. The musicianship is as always excellent.

While Counterparts is not my favorite album by Rush I think it´s a good album and another transition in sound for the band. One they would develop further on subsequent releases. 3 stars are deserved.

Report this review (#221527)
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars After the 1970s, Rush essentially gave up progressive rock and became something far more accessible. Well, this is one of the most accessible Rush records ever. Nearly every track is a well-crafted pop-rock song, but that by no means stops me from viewing this as an amazing album.

"Animate" After a quick count off, the band begins a straightforward but powerful song, led mainly by Geddy Lee's chugging bass.

"Stick it Out" A heavy and dark riff underlies a message about dealing with the obstacles of life. It practically stays heavy throughout, and doesn't offer much variety until the very end.

"Cut to the Chase" One of my favorites on the album (there will be a few of these), has Alex Lifeson dealing out clean guitar notes with Lee's vocals and steady bass around it. The chorus, however, is as heavy as everything that has come before. The guitar solo Lifeson provides is one of my favorites from him.

"Nobody's Hero" This is the more acoustic number, with thought-provoking lyrics and a powerful chorus. It's one of my favorite songs on the album (yes, another one). "Between Sun & Moon" This is one of the less memorable tracks on the album. It has some great guitar bits, but nothing spectacular. Somehow it sounds like a leftover from Presto. I love the chorus, however, even though the song took a long time for me to like.

"Alien Shore" This is a good song, but is one of the more lackluster tracks on the album. It describes the differences between the sexes (in a slightly different way than "Cold Fire" will do). It's a solid song, but not amazing.

"Speed of Love" While this song runs a bit bland, I still enjoy it quite a bit. Lee jumps in the middle with some funky bass bits, but again, nothing better than anything he's done before. "Double Agent" Over his thudding bass, Lee sings the lyrics to what I feel is the worst song on the album. The spoken word is irritating, almost corny. Honestly, this album would have been better without this mess.

"Leave That Thing Alone" One of Rush's best instrumentals is this one. It has Lee's growling bass riff, Lifeson's steady guitar in the back, and Neil Peart's varied percussion. The lead guitar is well-written, and soon launches into the hard rock attack.

"Cold Fire" Yet another favorite from this album (perhaps I'm a bit of a fan?), has Lifeson chucking out heavy chords that soon become soft, delicate sounds. He also has a soulful guitar solo. The fast-paced chorus is a highlight of the whole album.

"Everyday Glory" One more favorite here (just one more- I promise), has an inspiriting opening, with some hard-to-hear lyrics that give way to even an more inspiring chorus.

Report this review (#221725)
Posted Thursday, June 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Following on the heels of the moderately successful Roll the Bones, Rush released Counterparts in 1993. The band practically eliminated synthesizers from the overall sound, here and there being used as backdrops. The music on Counterparts is highly guitar-oriented and much heavier sounding than previous efforts, hearkening back to their 1970s sound in some ways (but not in style). I also sense a clear 1990s alternative rock influence throughout the album.

The formula is again shorter pieces of music, primarily radio-friendly. From time to time the album feels kind of harsh in sound. It kicks off with a great start with the song Animate, but quickly loses my attention as the album progresses, with some notable exceptions being Nobody's Hero, Alien Shore, and the instrumental Leave That Thing Alone.

I'm not so sure I'm fond of the direction Rush took with this album. Over the years I have noticed their incorporation of styles from other genres that were making it big at the time, like reggae and ska in the 1980s, then African tribal percussion in the late 1980s, and now alternative rock from the early 1990s. One could say Rush was evolving, but after more than a decade they've stuck to a formula while adding in little nuggets. Were they trying to expand their sound or market themselves towards the next "in" thing. That would make an interesting debate. I think their experiments with reggae influences was interesting, but I was never fond of the 1990s alternative rock scene and thus, this leaves a sour feeling to my ears when I listen to some of this album.

I still think the good songs on here outweigh the poorer tracks, so a three-star rating seems suitable to me. Good, but not really essential. Rush has many more much better albums in their discography than this one and by 1993 prog was starting to make an underground comeback and there were much better releases than this one that year.

Report this review (#221799)
Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Why do so many reproach this band for changing their style and sound (and on this occasion happily their looks as well) every so often? Not only does Rush continue to provide us with the very best song writing and performance, they also try to redefine themselves constantly. For me this is exactly what makes them stand out above so many other bands. Counterparts is no exception, be it in a more accessible format then before. Except from a few weaker tracks like The Speed of Love and Everyday Glory, this album delivers everything that I appreciate about this band. Everyone who claims to love Moving Pictures should dig this album as well.
Report this review (#236654)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This has to be Rush's best effort of the 1990's. Some hard rocking riffs and some of the best basslines ever! The drums are so good, well, thats because of Peart of course. This also has to be among one of the best sounding Rush records ever too. Unlike the two overly produced albums before, which both were lacking in bottom end endlessly, maybe due to the wal bass, this is a much more natural sounding recording. Its got plenty of bottom end, good mix, and very good high end. The vocals are really nice, Geddy singing his best on this record. There are only a few faults which I will get to.

The opening track is pretty much perfection. "Animate" starts off with some guy saying "1, 2, 3, 4" and Neil starts a great drum part, and it gets cranking with one of Geddy's best basslines. He is using his flamenco style really well here. Oh, and I did forget to mention that Geddy started using a different bass now, his good old 1972 Fender Jazz Bass, in which he installed a Badass II Bridge. It sounds awesome and totally stronger than the wal bass. The guitar solo on this song is definatly something to get excited about too, even though its pretty short, its very nice. The lyrics are alright, though maybe not my favorite of Neils, they are definatly alright. "Stick It Out" is the next track, much darker, and slightly worse lyrics. They are not bad lyrics, they are just slightly boring and tedious. The music is much like what you might hear from Metallica doing a slow ballad, which is to say, a very good ballad. The bass lines are pretty tight, and the guitar is scary and spooky enough. The druming of course is a standout, from any point of view, Neil is just one of the best drummers there is to know. "Cut to the Chase" is a good rocker, worse lyrics, now it's starting to get bad. The music is pretty good though throughout the song. "Nobody's Hero" is a very good ballad. The guitar solo is a little different than other Alex solos that I have heard, but its still Alex playing his guitar. It starts with a really good acoustic section and then Geddy starts to sing. The lyrics are actually pretty good on this song, unlike the last track. "Between Sun & Moon" is an all time favorite of mine, even though it is definatly not popular by any means. This is a really good rocker song for me, but not progressive enough for me. The lyrics are alright in this song, though not up to par with other songs from this album, or even songs in the past. The music is all that matters for this song, and I love it. Geddys vocals are exceptionally strong on that track. "Alien Shore" is where it starts to get bad in the album. The music isn't that challenging to me, and its very boring for me. The lyrics are not very good. I'll be honestly, its the worst of the album right here, at least the lyrics. I just wish that Neil didn't write this song, but I do think the music is alright, but not up to par with the rest of the album. "The Speed of Love" is boring too, but not as bad as the last track. The lyrics are pretty bad though, I would never introduce some to Rush with this song, thats for sure. The music is better than the last track, fortunatly. "Double Agent" is another good track from the album. It starts with some of the darkest talking that I have ever heard Geddy say in my life. It's not that Geddy is going lower than ever, it's just what he is saying and how he is saying it, its so scary. The music is pretty good and the lyrics are not too bad on the song, though not as good as "Animate." "Leave that Thing Alone" could be Rush's all time best instrumental. It might not be as exciting in places as "YYZ" is but its really good. The bass solo is pretty good considering, and the guitar part is just beautiful. The drums are to die for on this track too, it makes me feel really good that there are at least a few more instrumentals coming our way in the next couple of years. "Cold Fire" is another favorite from the album. Its got some of the best vocals on the album. Soothing bass, laid back drums, and really floating guitars, this whole song is just so atmospheric. It really knows how to love and how to rock harder than anything else. The lyrics are excellent, considering the rest of the album being a let down lyrically. "Everyday Glory" is alright, but not a very good closer. Its not challenging or beautiful like the last track was.

The album is definatly worth a 4 stars, close to a 5 stars because of the excellent music throughout, but falls short because of the less than welcoming lyrics.

Report this review (#245408)
Posted Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Since their 1981 classic, "Moving Pictures," the height of the band's career, Rush has gone in many different directions and alienated a fair share of fans, but grabbed just as many new ones. It would have been easy to keep churning out their unique blend of hard rock and progressive rock year after year and milking it for all it was worth, but Rush has always been about trying new things and doing the unexpected. As a result, they have produced quite a few more great albums since 1981..."Grace Under Pressure," "Power Windows," "Roll the Bones" and, lastly, "Counterparts," my choice for best Rush album of the last 25 years. On the surface, it is just a good old hard rock album, but it really is much more than that.

The lyrics are some of the best Neil Peart has ever penned. That is a bold statement considering the lyrical jewels he has composed over the past 30 plus years, but I find the ones on this record to be of the highest quality. "Cold Fire" and "Everyday Glory" are shining examples and are two of my favorite Rush songs, lyrically and musically.

The production is tremendous. The previous two albums, "Presto" and "Roll the Bones," suffered a bit from the polite sound of producer Rupert Hine, but Peter Collins took the reigns on this one and the result was a CD that sounds as good as any other Rush album. I have never heard Alex Lifeson's guitar have this much bite before, Neil Peart's drums sound dynamic and crisp, and to say Geddy Lee's bass has major punch to it on this record would be an understatement.

One of the strongest elements on this CD are Geddy Lee's vocals. They have never sounded better. Granted, they are a far cry from his shriek-happy days of the 70's, but he has matured into a very good singer and this is his finest work to date. Check out the verses to "Nobody's Hero," for example.

And it goes without saying that none of this would matter without having good songs and "Counterparts" is loaded with them. In fact, every song is at least very good, even the oft-maligned "The Speed of Love." My personal favorites are "Animate," "Double Agent," "Everyday Glory," "Cold Fire" and "Leave That Thing Alone." However, ask twenty different Rush fans what their favorites are and you will get many different answers, which is the mark of a good album. Most of the songs are someone's favorite instead of being a disc with three or four great songs and a bunch of throwaways.

When it is all said and done, this is probably the Rush cd I listen to the most. It is still sounds as good as the day I bought it back in November 1993.

Report this review (#266938)
Posted Thursday, February 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is a fan-only dark secret that Rush really do take parts of other popular music styles and frankenstein them into their own.

The anger that fans directed toward this wonderful three-piece, yelling "The Police!!!" during the Grace Under Pressure days, must have had an effect.

After the very nice and tidy "Hold Your Fire" and the equally inoffensive "Presto", the trio thought back to the things that their fans wanted, rather than the charts.

"Roll The Bones" was an admirable attempt, it must be said.

But "Counterparts" is probably where they started getting it right. It's an excellent listen. Like "Caress Of Steel" before it, this album doesn't get much love amongst the fickle fans.

"Dog Years" is pure Rush, the best non-single for many, many years.

And as a gay man, I cringe every time I listen to "Nobody's Hero", but the sentiment is

Report this review (#271170)
Posted Thursday, March 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well I thought Rush was all washed up after Power Windows and arrogantly dismissed their later works as mediocre only returning to this section of their music in the last three years or so. What a blessing and a relief, to not only have not been in the 'moment' for each subsequent release after Power Windows but have the indulgent pleasure of immersing myself into all their back catalogue up to Snakes and Arrows with even a revisit on the errant Test For Echo. Nice to be proven wrong!!

Counterparts released in 1993 is definitely one of their best album releases. Conceptually an album based on the yin yang of relationships, partnerships irrespective of sexual preference. The aids inspired ' Nobody's Hero' a perfect case in point. Great plaintiff vocals by Geddy Lee and lyrics speak for themselves. The album commences with the dizzy ' Animate' followed by the thumping ' Stick it Out', musicianship as tight as ever with an excellent chorus. The album has the appeal of having more layers of synth and keyboards courtesy of John Webster assisting Geddy Lee on keyboards . The highlight of the album is the instrumental " Leave that Thing Alone' where Lifeson, Lee and Peart mesmerize with complete skill and artist wizardry. The bass in particular gives even that fellow Chris Squire a run for his money. This is an excellent album, indicative that Rush did change with the times, they did plunder new territories and their main ingredients never got diluted as perhaps some ( indeed this reviewer) at the time suggested. A worthy minimum four stars.

Report this review (#295820)
Posted Sunday, August 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars On this album, Rush went heavier. In fact, this might be the heaviest of all of their albums. I enjoyed it more than the previous few album, but nowhere near as much as the earlier, more progressive albums.

The performances are spectacular. Neil Peart's drums are powerful and complex at the same time (How doe he do that?). Alex Lifeson's guitar playing is more aggressive than usual. And Geddy Lee's bass playing is , as always, superb. Even his voice is less annoying than usual throughout the album.

The songwriting stays mostly within the straight ahead hard rock to metal range, but the performances on the album are so good, it transcends the genre.

The closest they get to prog is on Leave That Thing Alone, which isn't as good as instrumentals like YYZ or La Villa Strangiato, but it suffices.

4 stars. With this effort, and better songs, it could have been a masterpiece.

Report this review (#397390)
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'll be upfront and say that this is my favorite RUSH album of all time. GRACE UNDER PRESSURE and PERMANENT WAVES are close for me, achingly so, but this is the one that I keep coming back to. I've had it in my car now for several years and listen to it at least once a month, which is quite a lot as some of you with large record collections know (I figure most of us have fairly large collections in the prog world; it seems to come with the territory).

Why is this my favorite? Several reasons, actually. For once, while guitars had been making a comeback since HOLD YOUR FIRE in some capacity, they are back big-time here. This is guitar-driven music, every last one of them, and I love me some guitars. I'm a drummer, sure, but that's what I play; my drumming influences tend to be non-drummers. But what about the drums, talking about them? Well, they are deeper in grooves than they have been since the '70s, doing technical things (playing along to this album is VERY hard), but focusing on creating a deep sense of groove first and foremost. The bass does the same, focusing on deep, heavy grooves.

A brief aside: Where did these sounds come from? To me, it sounds like their time with two bands who took huge influence from them, PRIMUS and KING'S X, started to rub off on our boys. I figure they saw in those two bands the heavy metal and hard rock sounds and the groove they once had but had moved away from (not to ill effect, mind you) and decided to relive some past glory. Which I love.

Secondly, the lyrics here strike a beautiful poetic level that I last recall on HEMISPHERES. The lyrics here are rather indulgent and somewhat abstract at times while, at others, touching on very personal subjects, like "Nobody's Hero". Another brief aside: Bravo, Rush, for tackling gay rights and AIDS awareness on a popular rock track. They've always been pegged as a big conservative band due to their flirtation with Ayn Rand, but this puts those views in their place, while also being a very moving song.

Thirdly, they start touching on a couple genre notes that are very refreshing, like a country feel in "Cold Fire". It's a little hard to hear, but the way the chord progression goes feels very much like a country song married into some sort of heavy rock tune with prog acting as the glue. This album feels vital again, which ROLL YOUR BONES didn't to me, and I've found over time a personal connection with every single song here. This is a modern masterpiece and is where I recommend people enter in on Rush due to the way that it is not just hard rock, not just prog, not just pop rock, not just eclectic influences, but does all of those points and does them well to boot.

A masterpiece. Five stars.

Report this review (#409672)
Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars It took a long time to hear a really good Rush album. The last one that gave me enthusiasm when hearing it was Grace Underpressure; and between them we have three average ones and a miss, which is Presto.

Animate is not only an opener, it is a killer one. It is better than Dreamline and Force Ten, two good ones, and pairs with Distant Early Warning as a terrific way of opening a heavy prog album. All over the album, many other songs presents themselves as as very good compositions; best of them can be identified in Nobody´s Hero, Double Agent and the instrumental Leave That Thing Alone, which is even better than the very good Where Is My Thing from previous album.

Other songs are just good, exceptions made to Stick It Out and Cold Fire, which sounds to me like being removed from a second line heavy band´s album to be put here decrease overall value. They would prevent me from giving a high rating for Counterparts, but the good ones here and the clear advance related to prior albums makes my three and a half stars to be rounded to four stars.

Report this review (#437418)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars A great Rush album released during the early 90s. The excellent production quality brings out the clanging guitars of Lifeson, the pulsating bass and high falsetto of Lee, and of course Peart's pounding percussion. Not every track is an instant classic but there is enough here to satiate the Rush appetite, namely the first 4 songs.

Animate is a brilliant memorable rocker with innovative lyrics and killer riffing as good as it gets. Stick It Out is driven by a hard rock guitar riff, one of Lifeson's most inspirational moments, and very powerful vocals. Cut To The Chase is a melodic gem that is well sung and performed by the group. Nobody's Hero is a terrific single with very strong melody and unforgettable chorus. Another highlight is the ground pounding Leave That Thing Alone instrumental with great lead breaks and keyboard work.

Each track features the trademark resounding echoing phased guitar sound, and Lee's accomplished high octave treatment of the vocals. He is in fine voice throughout and the songs became favourites for MTV boasting promo clips for the first few songs. The songs have also been played live many times through the years and are fan favourites.

Overall this album is one of the best among the Rush 90s years, when Prog was coming back to the forefront of the industry. Rush are certainly one of the most important acts to keep prog flourishing, and this album is one of their best in this troublesome period.

Report this review (#452177)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now with this album Rush got it right. I'm serious this album is absolutely great and is their best album at the time since Grace Under Pressure. This was Rush's take of an "alternative" sounding album and boy did they deliver. This album really gets the sound right again with each member right where they should be and equal in the mix of this album. Each song is memorable in my opinion and I can't name a bad song off this album but I'll say that Everyday Glory I don't really listen to that much but is still a pretty good song. The lead off song Animate is a brilliant written and performed song that still persists to this very day. Stick it Out is a very hard and heavy song that is just amazing. Cut to the Chase is just a flawless track IMO and might be the best song off this one. Nobody's Hero is a saddening song that speaks volumes about how the world glorify's the celebrity as a real hero when they are not. Between the Sun & Moon is another flawless track that just goes at a great pace and doesn't let up. Alien Shore was tough to get into at first but really did for me after a while. The Speed of Love could be a spiritual successor to Ghost of a Chance from Roll the Bones but isn't as good. Double Agent is a great song that has Geddy speak most of the lyric instead of singing which is very interesting. Leave That Thing Alone another Rush Instrumental which all of them are fantastic. Cold Fire another great song about man and woman (the idea of this album the ultimate counterpart) and Everyday Glory a so-so track to end on. Overall, a great sounding Rush album that defined them as a band in the 90s. 5 stars. Highlights: Animate, Stick it Out, Cut to the Chase, Between Sun & Moon, Alien Shore, Double Agent, Leave That Thing Alone and Cold Fire.
Report this review (#463569)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
1 stars I tried to "stick it out" but soon realised that it's better for me to leave that thing alone!

Allow me to speculate a little: is it possible that the reason why (most of) Rush's 90's and 00's albums have so high average ratings is that only the band's most devoted fans have probed as deeply as this into the band's discography? It could be one relevant factor, perhaps. Something like this was at least true of this particular reviewer for quite some time, anyway. I have reviewed all of the band's 70's albums and most of their 80's albums years ago, but never got on to the 90's releases until now. I have heard some of these albums before, but always found it hard to sit through them in their entirety. Needless to add, I'm not a big fan of Counterparts.

As I pointed out in my review of the previous Rush album, 1991's Roll The Bones, that album fits better into the same category as the band's 80's albums and that the present album was the real beginning of the 90's-era Rush. The sound of Counterparts is very different from anything they ever did before. While the 80's albums from Signals onward adjusted to their time and drifted towards New Wave and Synth Pop with a more polished production, Counterparts was adjusted to its time and drifted towards Grunge and Alternative Rock. The keyboards and synthesisers were ditched completely and the guitars and bass became heavier and, dare I say, a bit muddled. Other bands made similar moves around the time. One example is Black Sabbath with Dehumanizer (an album I dislike for similar reasons I dislike Counterparts). This kind of "dirty" sound was very much of its time (the early 90's) and, in my opinion, it doesn't fit a classic Rock band like Rush at all. It is blatantly obvious that they were trying to be contemporary and adjust to new trends. This is not always a bad thing though, and Rush perhaps deserves respect for trying. But the end result is just not to my liking.

However, even if the sound and production were very different from previous Rush albums, the band's songwriting remained pretty much the same and the compositions are still based on the same tired formula as on, say, Grace Under Pressure. And, as I've pointed out in several previous reviews, Prog was clearly a thing of the past for Rush ever since Moving Pictures. Many Rush fans like Counterparts and consider it to be a return to form for the band and though I can agree that several of the songs are more energetic and powerful than on the lacklustre Roll The Bones, I have a hard time understanding the love this album gets on this site. I even get a bit bored while listening to these dull compositions and I have really given this album several chances over a period of several years. It is sad that a band once so great can fall as deep as they did in the early 90's.

Counterparts is thus a rather sad affair to these ears that I can recommend only to those hard core Rush fans that would follow the band wherever they chose to go no matter how far away from their classic sound. Thankfully, the next album would be an improvement.

Report this review (#487236)
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Counterparts is a very solid album from Rush with very good production, instrumentation and lyrics that grows with each listen. It can be played in the background as an interesting set of songs or played loud to appreciate the power drumming, bass and chords.

Certainly not the most progressive of efforts, and at times perhaps more AOR (Adult Orientated Rock) but with a harder edge. There are no weak tracks and one that non-rush fans would enjoy. Of course I am rating the quality of the effort as I hear it and without reference to the early Rush years.

Not essential but won't disappoint.

3.8 stars

Report this review (#539194)
Posted Saturday, October 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow, is this the same band as did the 2112 and the Signals albums ?

Rush really knows how to renew themselves. From prog on 2112 to synth rock at Signal to becoming a guitar driven power trio at Counterparts. All this with the same members. I find that really impressive. For me, that is why I so admire these three guys. I wish I could be as vital as these three guys are.

It has been some years since I have been listening to this album before I dusted off this CD at the weekend and put it in the CD player for some spins. My memories of this album, which for me is one of their most obscure albums, was a bit hazy so a refresher was needed.

Animate and Stick It Out is well known from the live albums. Nobody's Hero is one of my alltime least favorite Rush songs. I fully sympathise with the lyrics. But the melody is sickening sugar sweet and the change from singing about him to singing about her midway in the song does not sound smart to me. Yes, AIDS does hit both gays and lesbians. But I think we would had got the message loud and clear if we had stucked to him without repeating the same song with "her" replacing "him" halfway through. Not a great move, Mr Peart. I use fast forward on my CD player and bypasses this sugar sweet overload song altogether.

The rest of the album, with the exception of the instrumental Leave That Thing Alone is something I have forgotten since I last listened to this album. A refreshing of my memories was needed and that many times over.

What hits me most about this album is how fresh and vital it sounds. Alex guitars is really the backbone of the album here and I cannot remember I have heard him better than on this album. There are some not so great songs on this album. But I have to admit I find this a surprisingly great album. An album I will listen to a lot more in the future.

This album is a rather obscure Rush album, yes. But it is still a great Rush album. It has risen very considerably in my estimations this weekend.

4 stars

Report this review (#581786)
Posted Sunday, December 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Counterparts isn't an album I'd put in the front rank of Rush's discography, but it's still something of a return to form, firmly reversing the trend towards irrelevance and self- plagiarism that the band had been drifting into since Grace Under Pressure. This time around, the band's experiments in incorporating modern alt-rock ideas into their sound from Roll the Bones are brought to fruition, accomplishing the blend in a much more graceful and natural way than that album ever did.

The opening number, Animate, finds Rush sounding more energetic and forceful than they had since Signals, and I have to give Neil Peart credit for Nobody's Hero - a slice-of-life song which expresses Peart's shock both at the AIDS-related death of a friend and a murder that took place in his home town. (I particularly like how the opening lines take the position that straight people shouldn't be embarrassed of socialising with and supporting their LGBT friends.) However, whilst the album has a more or less strong opening, I find the material here isn't quite polished enough to sustain it for the entire 54 minute runtime.

It might be tempting to blame CDs for this, and I do believe the expanded time constraints compared to vinyl offered by CDs have prompted some bands to include poor tracks on their albums for the sake of filling out the running time, and there are plenty of albums out there which could be improved if their creators stuck to a 40 minute running time and trimmed the fat. But I don't think that's the case this time around; the fact is, Rush were coming out of a creative slump here which preceded the shift from vinyl to CDs, and whilst the better songs on here are entertaining enough, the band's classic songs blow this material out of the water. Rush were moving in the right direction at this point, but they hadn't recovered fully yet.

Report this review (#612432)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars A strange and inconsistant album, Counterparts is not without its rewards. It's difficult to define the sound of the album, because it begins with 3 songs that have a decidedly heavier than usual sound, with Alex Lifeson's guitars having a deeper tone to them (that happen to sound great on these songs, by the way), with Neil Peart and Geddy Lee providing an energizing and lively, pummelling and kinda metally rhythm section, ("Animate" and "Cut to the Chase" in particular are both very memorable and entertaining), then diverting to a mellow mooded yet mid-tempo ballad in "Nobody's Hero", a very deep song with an unusual melody that is likely to get stuck in your head for hours/days. The album then reverts back to the sound of the previous two albums for most of the remaining time, with the exception of a great instrumental, which would be fine, except that the songwriting quality of those of songs is a lot closer to Presto than that of Roll the Bones, having interesting moments, but just as many uninteresting ones resulting in a pretty mediocre feel overall. Neil Peart's lyrics this time around take on a scientific approach to romantic relationships, and that results in some witty, original lines, some that don't translate as well from ideas or statements into effectively sung lines, plenty of headscratchers that would probably make sense if we knew Neil Peart personally, and a fair share of profound revelations. The lyrics that I'm most moved by are in the songs "Nobody's Hero" and "Everyday Glory." I think some of the songs have potential that could have been developed more lyrically and musically. So the album starts out promisingly but soon turns into a slight dissapointment that's nevertheless illuminated by "Leave That Thing Alone", which improves on the already good style of "Where's My Thing?", with a great funky bass line, with atmospheric keyboards and guitars, and I have to say the song would stand out even among better songs. Not the best place to start with Rush, but still recommended to those who have already aquired the bulk of their discography, since the good stuff is not to be overlooked.
Report this review (#637995)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars With Rush's second 90's album, Counterparts, almost all of the synth and 80's cheesiness has been stripped away for a return to the more hard rock style of the 70's. Clearly this is a positive thing for Lifeson, whose role in the sound since Moving Pictures had diminished in favor of the keyboards.

Besides the harder rocking sound, the album also takes an slightly alternative approach, as seen in songs like 'Animate,' 'Stick It Out,' and 'Cut to the Chase.'

'Nobody's Hero' is a gentler ballad with some heartfelt lyrics from Peart. 'Between the Sun and Moon' is catchy as anything, and 'Alien Shore' has a great bass line from Geddy.

The second half is slightly weaker, except for the killer instrumental 'Leave That Thing Alone.' Counterparts is a dramatic turn of events for Rush, but a welcome one at that. While I can't help but think this doesn't have the same charm as their 70's albums, this is still a solid effort from a constantly changing band.


Report this review (#771354)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars The biggest improvement to this album over the last couple is that the band no longer sounds uncomfortable with the notion that they're a freaking power trio. Supposedly (maybe this is me getting fooled by another myth, I dunno), Alex and Geddy had an argument over the direction the band was taking, with Alex wanting the band to go back in a harder direction, and Neil ended up siding with Alex. This resulted in drastic changes in the band's sound; for the first since the 70's, the band put out an album that RAWKS (not "rocks," but "RAWKS"). Geddy clearly uses a different-sounding bass from the last few albums, and the bass sound returns to the low-pitched and superactive *rumble* of the band's earlier years. Similarly, Alex got to heavy up his sound and take a more prominent role than on any album since ... man, maybe since Hemispheres. He even incorporates a grunge sound from time to time (well, it was 1993); I can understand why some fans might cringe at this (Rush's guitar sound was a bit hair-metallish at times in the 80's, and grunge was pretty much created to destroy hair metal), but I definitely have no problem with grunge when there are good chops backing it.

As usual, there are a couple of great songs, and as usual they're placed near the beginning. "Animate" showcases everything good about the album's sound and couples it with strong guitar and bass lines and some really good hooks. Even the softer parts of the song are quite decent. As for "Stick it Out," well. I know many fans despise it, but I enjoy it a bunch. It's a good hard rock song! I guess I'm just a sucker for the heavy guitar sound, but that shouldn't be surprising at this point. I'd listen to this ten times in a row before I'd want to listen to "Mission" again ...

Unfortunately, as usual, the rest of the album is somewhat of a letdown. As much as I love the new sound the band adopts, it can't prevent me from thinking that there are some really stupid songs on here. Peart has some ridiculous lowpoints on this album, and there's even a bad set of lyrics from Pye Dubois in "Between the Sun and Moon" (I like the song itself, though). "Double Agent" features spoken interludes from Geddy that I think are supposed to be spooky or intimidating or whatever, but they pretty much cement the song as one of Rush's worst ideas. And, well, there's a good number of songs that are okayish, but which don't have melodies that are much better than the typical work from the past couple of albums.

I can think of least two other songs on here, though, that I think are notable. "Nobody's Hero" may have the most ridiculous first verse in the history of man, and I can only appreciate it on a purely ironic level, but once I get past the lyrics I find the song quite nice. What can I say, I think the melody is well-constructed, and even the chorus, overblown and cheezy as it might be, sounds moving to me in its own way. I'm also quite fond of the instrumental "Leave That Thing Alone" (boy, it's nice of Rush to start consistently putting instrumentals on its album), which is kind of a sequel to "Where's That Thing?", but featuring stronger and heavier basslines, and a more intense vibe.

The rest is the rest, and you know what? It's enough to make this into a somewhat decent album, even if I wouldn't recommend getting it on the grounds that all of the best songs are available on Different Stages.

Report this review (#823523)
Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now that's more like it - finally a Rush album again that I could sink my teeth into. "Animate" caused me to sit up and pay attention once again relating to a band that I once loved and found I could love again. Was kind of like sitting back with an old friend who had gone missing for a long while sending me post cards now and then. Oooooh "Stick it Out" - harsher sounding Rush again - man! bring out the Jack. "Cut to the Chase" - no hiccups yet. "Nobody's Hero" very good track with good emotive content lyrically. "Between Sun and Moon" - interesting track. "Alien Shore" - again, interesting. "The Speed of Love" - ok track, nothing special. "Double Agent" - interesting track that I enjoy. "Leave that Thing Alone" - brilliant instrumental track. "Cold Fire" - really enjoy it. "Everyday Glory" - good emotive album closer.

I love this release and once again can pay attention fully to an old favorite band. What a difference an album makes. Four solid stars from me.

Report this review (#940381)
Posted Saturday, April 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars A dull tedious album that does little to differentiate from any other standard hard rock outfit in the early 90s. I have to be honest with my review here, I am not a huge Rush fan. Even in their glory days I find them to usually be little more than a highly stylized, quite technical hard rock outfit and that, generally, their music could easily be said to not be prog. I find that's a useless distinction to make and falls into useless generalities and pigeonholing as, nevertheless, there are certainly progressive elements within Rush... Through and through.

That being said, those elements are completely gone here. The music is well played, well produced, catchy and groovy. Gone are the keyboards that overshadowed any other music in the early 80s, gone are the lighter, softer albums that bored Rush fans to tears in fact it seems as though every aspect of classic Rush seems to be back with this album except for one.

Gone is the adventurous nature, any sense of ambition or any need / want to push any envelope. A band that once walked its own path has joined the hordes of hard rock bands around them and have become the status quo that they once would diverge from. To put it simply this album is tame, it's safe, it's a calculated album that serves no other purpose than crowd pleasing. I don't mean to argue that there's anything wrong with that, it's a tactic, it's a business but on the whole it seems disingenuous to the progressive rock genre.

Musically, this album falls somewhere between two and three stars. It's a good album, truly, but at the same time it's only worthwhile to fans of the band or the genre. Lyrically this album is banal, completely boring... Lacking of any originality or purpose beyond simple lyrics to hook people into the song. I do think the albums that surround this one are far worse than this, at least this is perfectly listenable. That being said you aren't going to find any new or interesting material here.

2 stars.

Report this review (#1134128)
Posted Wednesday, February 19, 2014 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars RUSH basically continued the ideas from "Roll The Bones" on their 15th studio album COUNTERPARTS but while the previous album seemed awkward and the ideas presented were so weak that they stumbled all over themselves, on this album we get a more energized RUSH beefing up the hard rock sound with a strong alternative rock sound that sounds more in tune with what they were aiming for all along. Like many recent albums this one starts off with a very strong and instantly likable track in the form of "Animate." It displays the strong beefy bass sound of Geddy Lee, a return to the rock guitar sound of Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart delivering his drumming skills that we had been waiting for.

The lyrics as on the previous album are all very personal and dark. The track dealing with the death of a gay friend was definitely the surprise of the album. Subject matter that most rock bands wouldn't touch in a million years. I admire RUSH for taking such topics on. This album starts off fairly strong but like many of their 90s album just simply goes on too long with each track becoming increasingly irrelevant and boring. This album has some really good tracks and seems like a promising comeback but all you have to do is listen to this after one of the classics and it's apparent that the quality of this album is far from past glories but like many out there I can't seem to just write this band off and support even their mediocre efforts of which this is one of the stronger representations.

Report this review (#1191102)
Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars On this album, Rush takes an obvious step away from the keyboards that are so prevalent in most of their albums since "Signals" and they make an album that is a lot more guitar oriented. This doesn't mean that you get an album with crazy guitar hooks and solos that you got from the Rush of the 70s, but you do get a solid album. Most of the songs on this album are well written and the band feels more at home here than they did on "Roll the Bones". This album has some of the better lyrics than they have had for quite a while. To me, this album compares more to "Presto" than it does to the weak "Roll the Bones", except for the fact that it is more guitar centered. Geddy's vocals are in top form here, at least his post 70s style vocals are at their best. The bass in this one is more subdued which was a disappointment for me on this one though. I've always loved the bass sound with Rush.

One of the things that I have notice with the post 70s albums is that it takes longer for the songs to grow on you and when they do they all acquire a life of their own, but before they do, they can sound too much alike. That's quite okay though, the payoff is worth it on the better albums, and this one is one of the better 90's albums.

There has been a lot said about this album already and as you can see from the reviews, the ratings are all over the place, which is pretty much what one can expect from Rush's albums released during this stage in their discography. There really isn't much more to add since this album has been reviewed a lot already, but I will say that I consider this an excellent album, but it is not one of their greatest, so I don't consider it essential. 4 stars.

Report this review (#1320812)
Posted Saturday, December 6, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Considering how willing Rush were to adapt to the current musical times, Presto and Roll the Bones displayed them shifting toward an alternative rock sound with a mellower vibe. But then you have 1993's Counterparts... and if Roll the Bones had many hints of alternative rock, this album puts the genre right into the foreground of the music. By this point in Rush's music, it was definitely difficult to call them a progressive rock band anymore; the songwriting and musicianship was just getting more and more straightforward, and the band hadn't created an epic 10-minute+ song in years. However, as with Porcupine Tree's Deadwing, this record does display both progressiveness and high quality through little nuances and nods here and there. So how does it compare to Roll the Bones? Well, despite having their minor differences, they're both about equal in quality.

What keeps Counterparts consistently interesting is based on some really fascinating risks it makes along the way. Songs like "Animate" and "The Speed of Love" are just your typical mid-tempo Rush songs; they're okay, but they just sound like leftovers from the last few albums. But then "Stick It Out" comes through your speakers, and... well, Rush just turned grunge for this one! Between the extremely thick riffing in the chorus, the much darker lyrics, and an angry overall vibe, it sounds as if Rush briefly channeled the heavier moments from Pearl Jam's Ten record. Other songs like "Double Agent" and "Alien Shore" are extremely satisfying as well when they keep this heaviness intact, and this aspect is also what somewhat saves the bland nature of the album's sole instrumental "Leave That Thing Alone." Counterparts is widely regarded as Rush's real return to their guitar-driven roots, and it's easy to see why.

As I mentioned before, this album also makes a return to some of the band's progressive elements, although not in the most obvious ways. A lot of these aspects are based on the little things such as subtle dynamic shifts, some key and tempo changes here and there, etc. For instance, there's the way "Alien Shore" combines Neil Peart's off-kilter drumming with Alex Lifeson's beautiful clean guitar portions, creating a nice instrumental contrast. Or there's "Double Agent"'s mix of midtempo alternative rock and more technical spoken-word passages. But as with previous Rush albums, the beauty of this record is that the band are able to show off their incredible talents without coming off as overly flashy or unnecessarily technical. Geddy, Alex, and Neil all play parts that are still within each song's intended atmosphere or range, particularly Geddy Lee, whose bass playing is pretty low-key on this one.

Luckily, this is all able to make up for one pretty noticeable shortcoming: the damn lyrics. I enjoy Neil Peart's writing as much as the next guy, but his work here is insanely hit-or-miss. Some songs have incredibly endearing and relatable lyrics such as the AIDS-inspired story of "Nobody's Hero," but songs like "Everyday Glory" and "The Speed of Love" have some really awful cringe-inducing lines. Hearing Geddy Lee sing about how "love is born with lightning bolts; electromagnetic force" is pretty hilarious, but lines like "Mama says some ugly words; Daddy pounds the wall" are just painful to listen to. The problem is that they don't sound like what Rush naturally sing about, so it comes off sounding incredibly forced and awkward. Also, as I said earlier, that instrumental "Leave That Thing Alone" is just not very good. The heavy portions are good, but the overall product sounds a bit boring and uninspired compared to previous classics like "La Villa Strangiato" or "YYZ."

However, this was still a surprisingly great effort. One of the reasons I decided to do this Rush discography series is because it's always fun to look back on each album and see how it holds up. And once in a while, you might come across that certain record that was much better than you remember; Counterparts is that album for me. For all the problems it may have, the songs that are good are just fantastic. The musicianship is awesome as usual, the heaviness was a sweet upgrade from the thinner sound of Roll the Bones, and the experiments with alternative rock were (mostly) bold successes. It may be clunky and it may have problems, but there's just too much to like here to pass it up.

Report this review (#1445880)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | Review Permalink

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