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Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Tom Sawyer' - Rush (Single)

Being the single that was spawned from the first progressive rock record I really dove into, it goes without saying that I would have affection for this corresponding single. Claiming the first few minutes of 'Moving Pictures,' 'Tom Sawyer' really sets the stage for the quality that is to come. As well as being a fantastic live track to hear from the band, Rush really manages to harness their progressive inclinations and cater it towards a song that is both intelligent and undeniably memorable from the first listen onwards.

Being a relatively upbeat rocker and a great demonstration of the band's songwriting and musical skills, 'Tom Sawyer' is a perfect single for the album, and I remember it being one of the songs that convinced me to check out what is today, one of my favourite bands. The second track on this single is 'Witch Hunt,' an incredibly atmospheric and profound track. As one might be able to tell from the title, this is Rush at some of their darkest and most 'creepy,' for lack of better parlance.

While a single that delivers no original material obviously cannot be an 'essential masterpiece' by any stretch, 'Tom Sawyer' is a fantastic song, and a testament to the band's skill... Recommended to anyone who might want to get into Rush.

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Posted Monday, September 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
3 stars Modern day warrior

Moving Pictures is easily one of the greatest rock albums of the 80s. The entire album is a hit factory, with each of the six tracks being extremely well composed, executed, and received, which is a marvel for any type of music. The band's music had been loved before, and that album was truly the apex of their career. This single, the opener and easily most popular track off the album, was an easy hit for the band, reaching #25 in the UK and #44 in the US, a miracle for a punk, new wave, and pop dominated music scene. Of course when the album came out it was a far bigger hit, peaking at #3 in North America. Surely this song, and it's B- Side Witch Hunt, had a huge impact on the album's success.

The song is probably most well known for its distinguishable riff and unique synth line. Musically the song is compositionally tight as a song can be, with each part defined in black in white, to be executed with striking perfection, and the three guys certainly do that. The solos, verses, chorus, and various parts are executed with ease and precision, giving the song and its lyrical theme and even more eerie feel. Overall, the song is a fantastic masterpiece of both progressive rock and hard rock, and is a spectacular augment to the band's discography. The B-Side, Witch Hunt, is another slightly eerie bordering creepy song, with a dark theme and dark instrumentation, and although it was not as big a hit, it still is a very strong track. Overall, the single is a good representation of Rush's success, and although it is not on par with the full album, it is a great single release. 3+ stars.

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Posted Thursday, June 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Tom Sawyer", probably the biggest know song by Rush is on this single release along with "Witch Hunt", a lesser know song, at least to non-Rush mavens. Both come from the excellent MOVING PICTURES album released in 1981. MOVING PICTURES is probably their best-known album ever among rock fans. Not my favorite Rush album, but close. Both songs are classic Rush with great music and lyrical themes and they originate from a band in it's top form. Rush is not really a singles band so these may appeal to collectors and Rush freaks everywhere. I sold my copy long ago but remember it fondly.
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Posted Sunday, May 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars 'Tom Sawyer' is the number 1 US chartbuster that all Rush fans adore, and it is great when Rush open their concerts with this and the crowd are able to sing along; "A modern day warrior, Mean, mean stride, Today's Tom Sawyer, Mean, mean pride." The guitars crank out a mean, mean riff after this and there is a persistent synth drone that works well in the musical framework. The heavy dissonance or discord of time sigs and vocals is impressive, played in 7/8 for the most part. The chorus is one of the best especially lyrically, it is perhaps one of the more memorable Rush moments; "What you say about his company, Is what you say about society, Catch the mist, catch the myth, Catch the mystery, catch the drift, The world is, the world is, Love and life are deep, Maybe as his skies are wide." The ensuing lead break is incredible full of fret melting shredding, huge drum fills and power synth motifs. The Rickenbacker bass guitar is also wondrous that compliments the bright crisp guitar splashes. When the band were at their best they were totally irresistible.

'Witch hunt (Part III of Fear)' is a solid B side; another section of the 'Fear' tracks and a great addition at that. It begins with an off kilter ethereal sound made with synthesizers and bells. This builds slowly to pitch, and sounds rather creepy in a sense, but the melody drowns out the Gothic gloom. The guitar crunches in and Lee tells the story of the hunt; "The night is black, Without a moon, The air is thick and still, The vigilantes gather on, The lonely torch lit hill..." the dark lyrics are accompanied by a dark riff and very strong synthesizers, effective and enchanting. This track is highly esoteric as the whole atmosphere is intensely grim and has startling dark textures. Also Hugh Syme features on keyboards, the artist responsible for a plethora of Rush album covers. The theme reflects the Salem hunts where paranoia set in about a nonexistent threat, the uprising of so called witches, the Spectral evidence that was manufactured to accuse those who were different than others; a theme that has still an impact for modern society.

Check out that cool picture sleeve! If you can get hold of this it is worth something to all Rush fans. One of the greatest singles by the almighty Rush from arguably their best album of the 80s. An absolute must!

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Posted Wednesday, June 6, 2012 | Review Permalink

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