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Geddy Lee

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Geddy Lee My Favourite Headache album cover
3.41 | 96 ratings | 15 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. My Favorite Headache (3:33)
2. The Present Tense (3:25)
3. Window to the World (3:01)
4. Working at Perfekt (4:59)
5. Runaway Train (4:31)
6. The Angels' Share (4:34)
7. Moving to Bohemia (4:25)
8. Home on the Strange (3:47)
9. Slipping (5:05)
10. Still (4:29)
11. Grace to Grace (4:57)

Total time: 44:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Geddy Lee / basses, vocals, piano, guitar, programming, percussion, "whining" voice, string arrangements, co-producer

- Ben Mink / electric & acoustic guitars, violin, viola, programming, wheezing, string arrangements
- Waylon Wall / steel guitar (3)
- John Friesen / cello (4)
- Matt Cameron / drums
- Jeremy Taggart / drums (8)
- Chris Stringer / percussion
- Pappy Rosen / backing vocals (9)
- Ed Wilson / programming

Releases information

Artwork: Fuel Design Inc. , Steve Mykolyn

CD Atlantic - 83384-2 (2000, US)
CD Wounded Birds - WOU 3384 (2010, US)

Thanks to Ghost Rider for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GEDDY LEE My Favourite Headache ratings distribution

(96 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

GEDDY LEE My Favourite Headache reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Legendary Rush bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee released this album in 2000, when the future of the band was still hanging by a thread following the tragic events in drummer Neil Peart's life. His cohort Alex Lifeson's solo album, "Victor", had been released in 1996, when the band was still active. Lee's first solo effort must have been seen as a godsend by the many fans who feared their favourite band was on the edge of calling it a day. So, the burning question first - is it anything like Rush? And, if so, how?

A completely honest answer would be "yes and no". Seen as Lee has had practically little or no history of recording activity outside the band he helped found in 1974, it is next to impossible to hear his distinctive vocals (loved and loathed in almost equal proportion) without thinking of Rush. The same goes for his famed, intricate bass playing style, which on this album is somewhat more understated than with his mother band, but nevertheless quite recognisable. However, the musicians who accompany him are in many respects a departure from what one would have expected. Canadian multi-instrumentalist Ben Mink, familiar to Rush fans for his wistful violin playing on the song "Losing It" (from 1982's "Signals"), provides both strings and guitars. Geddy's choice of a drummer, though, may seem quite strange to many a staunch progger, as the musician in question is Matt Cameron, better known for his work with two seminal Seattle grunge bands such as Soundgarden and Pearl Jam - therefore, a more traditional rock drummer than Lee's thirty-year, faithful sidekick, drum god Neil Peart. Cameron, however, acquits himself very well in this new role, although we can imagine how daunting it must have been for him at first to work with one half of one of the most celebrated rythm sections in the whole rock world.

Like on latter-day Rush albums, the emphasis here is on shorter, well-crafted songs (the longest, "Slipping", clocking in at about 5 minutes). Lee's voice sounds as strong as ever, with the presence of airy. lyrical string arrangements making for the most striking difference from Rush's sound. Most of the songs are deceptively simple in structure, revealing unsuspected musical layers after repeated listens. Some are noticeably heavier, like the title-track, which opens with one of Geddy's trademark, booming bass lines, only to slow down in the middle with a beautiful string section punctuating his thoughtful vocal delivery. The tracks that may be more reminiscent of Rush's '90s output are "Moving to Bohemia" (where the violin part reminds me somehow of Mink's contribution to "Losing It"), the metallic "Home on the Strange", possibly the heaviest song on the record, and especially album closer "Grace to Grace", which could have been lifted from Rush's "Vapor Trails" - only with much better production. These streamlined, dynamic offerings are balanced by the string-laden, almost romantic "The Angels Share" and "Slipping", which see Lee's vocals at their emotional best.

As I have already mentioned, the production (by Lee, Mink and David Leonard) is crisp and modern, as is the intriguing cover artwork, featuring some striking photos of Geddy's new look. He may not be the world's best-looking man, but he's sure a very expressive, even photogenic character. "My Favourite Headache" is without any doubt a strong offering by one of prog's most influential musicians, one which reveals a different side of his remarkable creativity (even as a lyricist). Highly recommended, not only to diehard Rush fans.

Review by Menswear
4 stars Did I liked it? Yes.

Lee has to work, that's just his way. He has to stay active, so when Neil got his shares of crap, he tooked the time to express some (very light) feelings in a decent album. This is no way a brain-turmoil like Lifeson's Victor. This is very light hearted material, in the same vein of Test For Echo for instance...but much better actually.

Is it better than what Rush did in the last 9 years? Almost. Really, almost. Working at Perfekt, Runaway Train, Still and Present Tense are VERY good songs, no doubts here. They rock, they catch and stick their little choruses in your brain like termites on hardwood. The guitar work is, of course, not as great as Lifeson's and the drum is simple, but done by a popular 90's icon: Matt Cameron from the regretfully dead Soundgarden.

Overall, this is a very decent Rush album, better than Test for Echo in every way. Fans should really consider buying this fast, as well as Victor.

But why didn't he saved those songs for a new Rush album?! Arhgh!!

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Geddy Lee's only solo record to date features Ben Mink on guitar and orchestration and Matt Cameron (SOUNDGARDEN and PEARL JAM) on drums.There are some guest musicians as well.

Things get started with the title track "My Favourite Headache" one of my favourites on the album. Geddy really shows off his bass playing skills on this one. Check out his playing during the intro ! This is the only song where his playing really stands out. Great song ! "The Present Tense" surprised me a little bit at how much it reminded me of the "Vapor Trails" album sound. Another good one is "Runaway Train" it's a little heavier then the rest with some good guitar. "The Angels' Share" is also quite good, a mellow tune with some orchestration.

"Home On The Strange" is a humorous song. I received a promo copy of this song through my daughter who knows a DJ at our local radio station. He offered my daughter a whole pile of promo cds that they were going to throw out, she took this one knowing my love for RUSH. It has the song "Home On The Strange" on it as well as a 42 second clip of Geddy's thoughts on this song. Geddy says that this was the last song they did and he and Jeremy Taggart performed this song live and they recorded it while adding the guitar and vocals later. Geddy says it was fun and spontaneous. He also mentions that Jeremy is a great Canadian drummer. I should note that Jeremy grew up about a half hour north from where I work. He is the drummer for OUR LADY PEACE and you have to check out their debut record "Naveed", it's amazing ! To continue being off topic, some are surprised at Matt Cameron being the choice of Geddy for the drummer. Keep in mind though that the guys from RUSH and PEARL JAM are great friends. I remember Geddy saying they were at the PEARL JAM concert in Toronto a few years ago and had a case of champagne sent to their friendsdressing room for after the show. "Slipping" is such a good song. Inspiring lyrics and I like the heavy soundscape with a vocal melody along with it. The rhythm section is great on "Grace To Grace".

Overall this is a pretty good record, but non-essential.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Considering how monstrous a player Geddy is, it is surprising to hear that his only solo album features very little of his dynamic bass playing. "MFH" is modest and soulful release, with songs I think are earnest reflections of Geddy's personality and feelings, as well as his own contributions to Rush.

For those Rush fans who haven't heard this, be prepared-- it is not Rush; the distinctness of Alex and Neil's sound become apparent the moment the title track opens. In general, the songs show off little virtuosity and instead focus on craftsmanship and lyrics, with many containing some powerful messages and moving passages which Rush fans will be right at home with. The songs are quite a bit more mellow as well.

While the backing band players are no slouches, there are few instrumental moments to get excited about-- even from Geddy himself. However, fans of his singing will in no way be disappointed-- Geddy delivers what may be his finest vocals yet.

"MFH" deserves to be checked out by anyone who likes Rush, who will certainly find many of the songs meaningful and enjoyable.

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

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What did Lee bring to Rush? Here it is encapsulated on one disc.

Heavy rocking frost bitten Canadian boys Rush have been on the map for a good number of years now, and the trio have a dynamic relationship that few bands that have lasted as long as they have do. The line-up has only ever changed once and that was after their debut to allow Peart to join the band. Each member of the band has something to bring to the table, whether it be Peart's scientific lyrics, Lifeson's heavy riffs and passages along with a bit of necessary quirk and Lee's skilled composition. So what happens what you take the fish out of water? During the 5 year hiatus following the events that brought Rush to a screaming halt, Lee decided to embark on a solo effort. What we have here is not Rush at all. While the voice and the style of bass playing that made Lee so notable in the first place follow him onto this release and give off a Rush vibe -- this is nothing like a Rush album. So let the comparisons end there.

What to expect then? Based on the grinding bass riff that opens the title track, My Favorite Headache, a lot. While a bit misleading, as the rest of the album won't be quite as heavy as this track, this is still a great standout on the album. The distorted guitars coming in in a decidedly NON-Lifeson manner and Geddy's voice echoing in screams make for a mind blowing entrance to the album. As stated before, this is not the way the rest of the album will flow. However, what this song does is basically say, ''okay, we got the aggression out of the way, lets focus more on the emotion, shall we?''. Indeed, the next track The Present Tense does just that. Winding down a bit in terms of aggression, Geddy's bass and compositions are no less fantastic. Here is where his voice really starts to shine in it's ''new style'' -- less screaming and more melodic.

Many of the tracks on the album are just that -- melodic and very reflective. Window To The World is very much in the same vein as the second track as is Working at Perfekt. A couple of tracks that can easily lull the audience into a comatose state if they're not paying attention to what they're doing. The next giant standout however, is the amazing Runaway Train. Synths and a classic guitar riff (anyone who listens to Vancouver's radio station - Rock101 - will recognize this riff as the background to their ''legends of classic rock'' segment) press this track along until it slows down for Geddy's excellent delivery. Not a runaway train at all in terms of music, this track is tightly knit and characterized by the perfect blend of amazing music and lyrical content. The Angels' Share is another good, slower track that introduces the second, even more emotional second half, but first... some quirk!

Indeed, the pair of tracks that come up next, Moving To Bohemia and Home On The Strange are a couple of quirky tracks that Geddy pulls off quite well, even if Rush maybe would not have been able to. Moving To Bohemia is an almost ominous song with intriguing lyrical content while Home On The Strange is... well... strange. But in a good way. Seemingly describing himself in a parodic manner, this song is likely in place simply to lighten up the album before the very emotion segments begin.

Then, as suggested by the moving piano at the top of Slipping suggests, the maelstrom of emotion begins. Though subdued, there's no doubt that these tracks are enough to make one look inside oneself very closely. Slipping in particular is characterized by an excellent segment of vocalization about halfway through that solidifies the song and indeed, the album. Still is a much less heart-wrenching track that's still pleasant and emotional to the point where one wants to regain that comatose stare obtained sometime back around the second track.

Then, hey, heavy guitars! Not letting up in the tradition of Rush's coda tracks being some of the best off every one of their albums, Grace To Grace is an excellent, powerful rocker in the same style as the opener. Though it slows down considerably at each chorus section, this one is still a driving track that incorporates the emotion portrayed in the previous tracks to make for a very exciting song.

While not a Rush album and somewhat lacking in true progressive material this one still earns a 4. Not a progressive masterpiece, but certainly a work of art that would fit well in any prog music collection. It seems that bass-players really know how to capture the audience with serene music, because their solo efforts are usually excellent. Great job Mr. Lee!

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Many have claimed that this album sounds like Rush- I couldn't disagree more. Certainly there is Geddy Lee's aggressive bass playing and signature vocals throughout, but the guitar work sounds nothing like that of Lifeson's. Rather, Ben Mink's electric guitar sound here is more akin to the grunge of the very early 1990s, and it takes a backseat to everything else. And while it may not be Peart behind the kit, Matt Cameron adds a mighty element to this record, playing madly when called for, and using a delicate touch when not. If one must make a comparison, the sound is a little more like The Mars Volta's first album, only with the bass guitar in the forefront of the sound and more quieter passages. The title refers to something one loves but causes bouts of aggravation. For many, a spouse fits this category perfectly; for Lee, it's the music-making process. The greatness of what is Geddy Lee's only solo album to date lies in its consistency: There are eleven tracks here, some of them heavy, some of them gentle, but none of them are worthy of the skip button.

"My Favorite Headache" Geddy Lee lets us know whom we're listening to right up front: That serrated bass riff and its chunky sound leave us with no question. The vocal melody and the words put to it evoke thoughts of madness and nihilistic hopelessness. The lyrics are a bit esoteric, which is unusual for Rush, but again, this is not Rush, and Peart is not holding the pen. My own feeble attempt to penetrate the lyrics and give them meaning would lead us to believe that the song is about (at least in part) how television is replacing our observations of the natural world around us ("I watch the sea; I saw it on TV").

"The Present Tense" This song lavishes us with pleasant guitar and bass work, alternating between loud choruses and quiet verses. As will be the case with this album, the vocal melody is incredibly creative and memorable. The bridge doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the song, at least at first, but repeated listens can remedy that.

"Window to the World" Once again, the composition is ingenious, even if the song has more of a pop-rock feel to it. The guitar part that bookends the song is intriguing and should have been brought out a little more in the mix.

"Working at Perfekt" The guitar and bass share in making up the main riff here. The instrumentation during the choruses differs a little each time, with some cellos adding to the sound. The vocal harmonies are some of the best Lee has ever invested his voice in. Electronic sounds and bass dominate the ending.

"Runaway Train" The main riff is simple enough, and the song is largely straightforward rock. Just over two-minutes in, there is pleasantly encouraging middle section. The song is perhaps a bit longer than it should be since it overuses the main riff and the chorus chords, but it's a solid song.

"The Angel's Share" The acoustic guitar dominates this piece, and it is one of two soft songs on the album. It's a beautiful one, about how little man knows in comparison to celestial beings. It is one of the most memorable songs on the album, with exquisite strings brought in here and there. There is a rare guitar solo in the end.

"Moving to Bohemia" The seventh song on the album is one of the best, with some of Lee's more interesting lyrics, which describe recognizing reality for what it is rather than accepting and offering up sugar-coated and censored versions of the truth. The strings make another appearance.

"Home on the Strange" Even though all of the songs are highly enjoyable, "Home on the Strange" is the worst one here. The lyrics are amusing enough, about a man Lee has worked with (and yes, he really does sleep with a chainsaw when he's camping). Lee insists that the words describe a very eccentric individual, but that we should recognize that our world is made up of many eccentric individuals, so we should not isolate them just because they are, well, weird. Compared to everything that came before and after, the music is really off-kilter, and the bridge is repetitive.

"Slipping" The only song to really make use of the piano, it is the softest one on the album. It is a song that would really be at home in the soundtrack of a romantic drama. The words remind us that no matter the intentions of the people we love, they can still fail and hurt us somehow.

"Still" What an amazing song- so full of hopeful optimism and determinism, and the groove during the verses is simply not to be missed. It is a song to listen to when the circumstances of life are bearing down upon you. Listening to it now, I think of my own difficult situations, and reflect on the economic struggles 2008 has brought. But as Lee reminds us, "These moments will pass." And at some point, we will overcome in our struggles, stand on top of the hill we were climbing, and look back with relief and great joy.

"Grace to Grace" A moderate radio hit when the album came out, "Grace to Grace" is a phenomenal way to end the record. It's inspired by Lee's mother, who was a victim of World War II. Rather than come out of those horrific experiences bitter and cynical, she has created "wonderful possibilities" with "grace and dignity," as Lee himself says. The music during the verses suggest the abrasive and harsh events people often go through, while the amazingly beautiful music during the choruses conjures up the gracefulness people who endure mature into.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars What? A solo album by the great front-man of Rush? This I just have to hear! And so I did...

Although I wasn't expecting another Rush album from the '90s what I basically got was just that. The album's songwriting follows pretty basic patterns and it's mostly entirely aimed at fans of Rush without even trying to break new ground. That's a pity since Geddy Lee is such a talented artist who could have used this solo-opportunity to record something completely different and exciting.

There are a few instances here and there that seem to be going for something new but once the chorus line kicks in it all falls back into the familiar style that most fans would expect from this artist and this is ultimately why this is just a fans only album experience.

My Favourite Headache is not a bad solo debut album but I just can't imagine anybody but fans of Rush picking up this album since there isn't much for anybody else here.

**** star songs: My Favourite Headache (4:44) The Present Tense (3:25) The Angels' Share (4:34) Still (4:29)

*** star songs: Window To The World (3:01) Working At Perfekt (4:59) Runaway Train (4:31) Moving To Bohemia (4:25) Home On The Strange (3:47) Slipping (5:05) Grace To Grace (4:57)

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars It is surprising how much this one sounds like a real Rush album. Where Lifeson's earlier solo album served as an outlet to explore uncharted territory, Lee seems perfectly happy writing more Rush-type songs for us. The musicians accompanying him are very adequate but don't take the spotlight as much as Lifeson and Peart do.

Sitting inbetween Test For Echo and Vapor Trails, it sometimes sounds like it could have been the Rush album to fall exactly between those two albums. The focus is very song-oriented and Geddy shameless applies plenty of classic songwriting clichés. One of those is cheesy chord modulations between chorus and verses, or worse, by a nasty break after the second chorus. Another feature is some fairly standard chord strumming and rather bland melodies. Some of these features also plagued the Rush albums around it but there Lifeson and Peart managed to obscure them much better then the musicians do on this album.

The album starts very pleasantly. With the first two songs we even have some great additions to the Rush canon. But from then on it sinks into sentimental FM-rock writing and mellow pop-balladry. This album painfully shows who was responsible for the cringe-worthy parts on recent Rush albums. Only the last track deserves an occasional spin, but that's only because the 8 songs that precede it are really trite.

This solo album won't add anything you've heard on recent Rush albums. Only recommended if you like the mellow side of Rush as evident on Roll The Bones and Test of Echo.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars First and only solo album of this legendary musician Geddy Lee - released in 2000 and named My Favourite Headache. From the start I'll say that is impossible to make diffrence between him and Rush, when you say Geddy Lee you say Rush and vice versa. Musicaly this album is quite similar with Rush, it was almost impossible after 4 decades to come with a diffrent sound and manner of composing as your mother band. This album alternates from good moments to mediocre ones aswell. I mean the opning track , the title track is excellent showing that he is the master of the bass, definatly the highlight from here, another worthy one is The Present Tensevery much sounding like pieces from Test for echo, in fact almost all pieces ounds like left overs from that album or even from Counterparts aswell. Very similar with Rush, in some parts the sound and overall atmosphere has an indie almost alternative flavour, maybe because on the drums is Matt Cameron from Soundgarden and Peal Jam fame. So all in all decent but far from being great or something really strong, I like the album and giving fair credit because Geddy Lee is one hell of a musician, other wise I don't know some parts sounding really mediocre. 3 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I feel it impossible not to regard this as almost a Rush album. Maybe my musical understanding is pretty limited, but Geddy Lee's voice is so distinct that it is impossible not to bring up Rush in the review. Although both Alex and Neil is sorely missed here. Their replacements are not too ba ... (read more)

Report this review (#240260) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, September 19, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For many Geddy Lee's only solo album is viewed as a watered down version of Rush, characterised by short songs with neat, clear melody lines. There are grungy moments reminiscent of Rush's Vapor Trails, the introduction to Grace To Grace not too far a cry from Earthshine, but for the most part M ... (read more)

Report this review (#170232) | Posted by TheRocinanteKid | Thursday, May 8, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This album is not bad at all. But, it is the perfect example of what happens when you take elements away from something. It is not Rush. It is very decent, though. I am extremely hesitant to give it over two stars because I feel that if it wasn't Geddy and another band that released this, i ... (read more)

Report this review (#139926) | Posted by White Shadow | Saturday, September 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars During Neil Peart's temporary departure from the legendary Art Rock band Rush (due to the death of both daughter and wife), the remaining two members of the power trio decided to work on solo projects. Bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee decided to take a Hard Rock/Pop direction (with clear prog r ... (read more)

Report this review (#107879) | Posted by Shakespeare | Thursday, January 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Geddy Lee breaks away from Rush with an old friend guitarist/violinist Ben Mink (who we remember for providing the violin on "Losing It" from Signals), and new face Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam and Soundgarden). With this new cast of characters Lee forges a sound surprisingly different from that wi ... (read more)

Report this review (#84397) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Friday, July 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars O.K. I've always wondered what a Rush member solo record would sound like, and; lo and behold, here it is. "My Favorite Headache" is class (!!!!!) rock and roll. It's rougher and rawer than most of Rush's (at the time; more) recent releases, like "Counterparts" and that near-snore "Test Fo ... (read more)

Report this review (#81700) | Posted by sbrushfan | Thursday, June 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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