Rush - 2112 and Moving Pictures
If you have seen last
summer's great comedy I Love You, Man, you will remember scenes of
Paul Rudd and Jason Segel bonding by rocking out the the music of Rush.
Rush is the ultimate guy
band - a mix of hard rock riffs and slightly goofy prog rock pomposity, the
band has put together a thirty-some year career by showing working class
Joes the world of rock superstardom.
I Love You, Man
recognized that bond that men have with Rush and now so does VH1's
Classic Albums series. However, unlike most episodes of the
series, the show is not an in-depth hour-long look at a single classic
album. Apparently VH1 couldn't decide and decided to smash two classic
albums together in one package, giving the DVD more of a career-overview
feel than previous installments in the series.
Okay, I have to admit while
I've always appreciated Rush's music, I never really followed it that
closely. I only ever had two of their albums, one of which is covered
here and undoubtedly Rush's best-known album, Moving Pictures.
2112, on the other
hand, I have honestly never listened to and I did not recognize any of the
songs played here. It all sounds just a bit ridiculous, but in a cool
over-the-top prog way, featuring a 22 minute suite based loosely on Ayn
Rand's novella "Anthem." Yeah, the death of the concept album is
probably for the best.
However, there is some
fascinating background on the making of the album.
By far the most interesting
part of the 2112 discussion was when the band acknowledges all the
backlash they received from the music press because they acknowledged the
conservative novelist Rand in the liner notes. The band - which
appears to be left-leaning, but who knows? - explained, correctly, that just
because they appreciate her art does not mean they believe in her political
philosophies. Lead singer Geddy Lee - the child of concentration camp
survivors - seemed particularly stung by the harsh allegations of the music
The other great part here
was drummer and lyricist Neil Peart bitching about how the record label was
pressuring the band to do something commercial. They got the last
laugh, though, it may not have been at all commercial, but somehow it became
Still, Moving Pictures
is an album that is commercial, and it is the better for it.
Of course, Classic
Albums sort of oversells that commerciality. The video several
times says that Moving Pictures is wall-to-wall hits, which is a bit
of a stretch. Actually, only "Tom Sawyer" became an actual hit
(and even that did not hit the Billboard Top 40), though "Limelight"
is also a classic tune and "Red Barchetta" got a bit of airplay.
Still, the album was then
and stays now a smart and tuneful set of songs (and thankfully, there was no
overriding concept to the songs.) In the few years since 2112,
Rush had noticed the changing prevailing winds in music coming from punk and
new wave and were able to incorporate the new sounds into their own work.
That album, more than any
other, made Rush the commercial force that they have remained for over three
decades (though the previous album, Permanent Waves, may actually
have been their commercial breakthrough.)
All these years later, Rush
still tours regularly. Geddy Lee acknowledges that people still
request songs from Moving Pictures more than any other album in their
catalogue. Classic Albums does make the case that Rush was a
groundbreaking and extremely talented band.
And somewhere, in a man
cave in Santa Monica, two guys like Paul Rudd and Jason Segel are watching
this DVD and air guitaring along blissfully.
Living in the limelight,
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: October 3, 2010.