Friday, July 29, 2005

Rush, II

Rush- Different Stages (live)

Q: What’s worse than listening to a triple live Rush album?

Rush- Vapor Trails

If you watch the Rush Chronicles DVD, you’ll notice that Geddy Lee has this amazing power. See, every mini-epoch of like six months or so seems to generate fashion trends that become instantly dated the second said era ends. Hell, just think back to last summer: remember Von Dutch? Like wildfire, instant ubiquity. Legions and legions of 22-year-old B.U. students in jeans and heels walking their tiny dogs up and down Newbury Street wearing those fucking hats. Then, just like that, shit was (mercifully) over, thrown in the same box as the Burberry plaid scarf and the Ugg boots.

Geddy Lee’s seemingly mutant power is to find the tackiest, most dated fashion accoutrements and haircuts of each timespan and incorporate them into the band’s videos. I don’t think Geddy’s much of an ironist- betcha he honestly thought that like the feathered mullet with two-foot rattail was the shit when they were doing the video for ‘Time Stand Still’ with Aimee Mann. Seriously, check the DVD out- way up there on the unintentional comedy scale, just howlingly funny stuff.

The reason I mention all of this is that Rush has made similar missteps in their recording history, as well. (Who the hell gave the whitest, most Canadian guys on the planet the green light to try and rap on ‘Roll The Bones’? Dancing skeletons? C’mon!) So, imagine my surprise when I picked up ‘Vapor Trails’, the most recent album of Rush studio recordings, and found that:

a) the band members all look pretty good in their album photos. Geddy does look a little art-faggy in his, holding his long hair back, but I can’t really say shit because I think I used the same pose in every photo of myself taken from the years 1993-7, and I wasn’t even in a band.

b) The production is the best I’ve heard from Rush in years. There are whole albums where they don’t sound at all like a band so much as a trio of grossly talented musicians waiting for chances to fucking go off. You know, a little break in the guitars so that Geddy can play some insane bass bit that would be a solo in any other band- that whole thing when you’re having a conversation with someone but you know the other person’s just waiting for you to stop talking so they get a chance to say something. The mix isn’t like that this time around, and neither are the performances- it feels way more cohesive than earlier efforts. More rock, more rockin’.

c) The album is fairly engaging start to finish, despite the presence of thirteen songs that average about five minutes per. They coulda cut a few, sure, but when I was listening to the record, trying to figure out which one single would be played on the next tour, I heard no less than like three or four candidates. Damn!

d) Geddy’s got a tiny little dog locked in his trunk. No shit.


Rush- Rush In Rio

A: Listening to TWO OF ‘EM.

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