Happy New Year. Today is the first day of 2012.
Sadly, most of us, including all of you reading this will not be around to usher in 2112.
Ah well. At least we have Rush’s record to let us know what the future might hold.
Rush – 2112
I first heard this song on the back of a bus, traveling across this great country on a YMCA teen tour… Jason Korfine’s boom box introduced me to Rush. I’m telling you, Jason’s Boom Box could be a show and a blog unto itself… Lots of music from that thing.
This album was most definitely a love at first listen and, to this day, remains one of my most favorite and prized records. I upgraded it from cassette to CD to remastered version CD. I have only seen the band do pieces of it live and would love to see them do it from start to finish… but I’ll take what I can get!
So my brother said my last blog on Wilco let him down a little bit… He wanted more of a song by song analysis. He felt that without a blow-by-blow, it did not feel like I actually listened to the album. I know, I know… I smacked him down and assured him I listened to the album multiple times. As I said, I usually listen at least once through and then play it again as I write… But I do see his point. Earlier blogs may have been more in-depth. I think it just depends.
The idea of this blog was not to be simply a music review. Or at least not just a review. I wanted to discuss albums I really dug… albums that grabbed me at a given point in time… Albums that meant something to me. Most importantly the idea is to open up a musical dialogue and discussion. This is why I like this record… why do you? What does it mean to you?
With that said and to keep the brother happy… Sort of…
2112 is a two-sided affair. Most records are of course, but this one is interesting in that Side 1 tells a seven-part, connected story and Side 2 consists of five songs, not related to each other or the twenty-minute opus. How cool would it have been if the song clocked in at exactly twenty-one minutes and 12 seconds?
The world of the future is a “dystopian” state… Simply put, the opposite of utopia… cold and controlling… a repressive Brave New World kind of living. Music… it is banned and forbidden.
“By 2112, the world is controlled by the “Priests of the Temples of Syrinx”, who determine the content of all reading matter, songs, pictures – every facet of life.
A man discovers a guitar and learns to play different music. When he goes to present this to the priests of the Temples, they destroy the guitar. He goes into hiding and dreams of a world before the Solar Federation. Upon awakening he becomes distraught and commits suicide. As he dies, another planetary battle begins resulting in the ambiguous ending “Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control.” (This spoken section was created by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson reportedly “messing around with a tape recorder”.)”
Revisiting this one made a few things clear… I have spent far more time and love on Side 1, but the songs on Side 2 are great, too and should not be skipped over as I have been guilty of.
With that said, I do have to declare my hard on and passion for the magnificent master work that is the “song” 2112. It is astounding. But let’s look deeper at the oft ignored tracks.
II: “The Temples of Syrinx”
V: “Oracle: The Dream”
VII: “Grand Finale”
“A Passage to Bangkok” – The opening notes to this one are one of the first things I learned on guitar. Sadly, I never really stuck with it… Ah, hindsight… This is my favorite track on Side 2.
“The Twilight Zone” – This is a spacey and mellow rocker. The whispering vocals still freak me a bit.
“Lessons” – The acoustic guitar fits in nicely with the revelation and discovery of the instrument in the story. I love this song and hearing Geddy in full vocal snarl. The way the three of them mesh together on this one is glorious.
“Tears” – A beautiful and hypnotic piece. I could easily meditate and dream to this one.
“Something for Nothing” – This closer has that staccato Rush sound. It is like a rhythmic machine gun spitting out drums, guitar and vocals intermittently but always on target. This song almost seems to fade out just as it gets going. If anyone wants to hear the amazing musicianship that is Rush, this is an under-the-radar song that works quite well.
It seems that Geddy’s voice is pretty shot as of late (how could it not be after so many years) and I did not see them on their last tour, but man, I just absolutely love this band… and this album remains a treasure.