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Rush - 2112 CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.11 | 2126 ratings

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3 stars Maybe it's because I'm a newcomer to prog, compared to those who heard this album when it was new, but I can't really see what the fuss is about, for the most part. It's not that 2112 is a bad album at all, but my interest in it is more historical than anything. In this I find the precursors to some of the more current prog bands I'm a fan of, especially AYREON, whose mastermind ARJEN LUCASSEN cites RUSH (and this album specifically, I believe) as an influence on his own work. However, despite trying, I just haven't been able to get into this the way that many of you have. It definitely has its high points, but I really can't call it anything beyond just "good".

The "2112" suite itself is interesting to listen to for the story it tells, and also for the strange guitar acrobatics by ALEX LIFESON that accompany the tale of the instrument found by the narrator. NEIL PEART has done a very good job lyrically, and the concept of this suite reminds me strongly of some of AYREON's speculations about the future (a world where emotion and creativity are no longer valued...see "Evil Devolution" for an example). As for his drumming, in places it most definitely sounds like the precursor to the technique later drummers like MIKE PORTNOY of DREAM THEATER would adopt, and I have to wonder very seriously if his work had a part in touching off the entire metal genre. This has the same rapid-fire pacing in places, even some shredding from the guitars that is suggestive of it. The only thing about this song that I don't really care for at times is the fact that beyond the opening and a few other places, the synths are very underutilized and do little to fill out the atmosphere which consists of three things only: the drums, the guitars, and GEDDY LEE's odd vocals. He is a talented vocalist, to be sure, but listening to too much wears one out eventually!

"2112" is a decent 4-star track by itself...unfortunately, the rather radio-friendly, poppy shorter songs that followed it (for the most part) drag it down in my eyes. I have a hard time comprehending why these are on the same album with "2112". "A Passage to Bangkok", to be honest, does very little to me. As far as I can make out, this one seems to be a ramble about the various foreign countries where one can smoke pot, and quite frankly, I find that a waste of my time. How many other songs from the 1970s have we got that deal with that subject? Quite unoriginal. "The Twilight Zone" does better and has a more interesting sound to it, and was probably the second-best of the short tracks on here. "Lessons"...well, to be honest it just isn't very memorable to me. "Something for Nothing" was rather more interesting...but by the time I get to this point, I just feel lacking...

...especially after having just heard GEDDY LEE's fantastic "Tears". I really found myself wishing there was more of this kind of thing on 2112--more melodic, atmospheric, unassuming (yes, I know prog delights in showing off, but I respect groups that know how to be simple and soulful as well). LEE's lyrics are worlds away from NEIL PEART's bombastic fare, and while much less complex, there is something about them, as they're delivered, that is convincing. From what I heard here, I honestly think that LEE may be more comfortable singing his own material than what PEART writes for him; "Tears" brings out a much more heartfelt side of him that I had never heard before. Perhaps, freed of PEART's excess, he can at last relax be himself, and it really does show. While there's no denying that LEE's voice does support PEART's lyrics to a T, I just think this sounds much more natural, less forced, and the difference is like night and day. And maybe I'm just a sentimental sap, but part of me even wants to call this the best track of the album even ahead of "2112" itself.

Ultimately, though, I guess I just didn't find that 2112 lived up to the 5-star hype that a lot of people are giving it. Perhaps I was born at the wrong time to appreciate this, and thus my ears aren't accustomed to the type of sound production or techniques or some other element. It's not that I reject all earlier music; in fact, I truly love the work of PINK FLOYD. The difference is, though, PINK FLOYD typically had a very ahead-of-its-time production and atmosphere...2112 just seems too much like a product of its era in places for me to really accept it as anything special. I just find myself wanting an AYREON album, or DREAM THEATER, or something, rather than this effort that just seems incomplete to me, for lack of a better word. I imagine those who are interested in classic prog would like's not like there isn't good material here. Still, this just didn't make the best impression on this listener from a younger prog generation.

FloydWright | 3/5 |


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