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Each of us a cell of awareness, imperfect and incomplete
August 31, 2010 8:49 AM   Subscribe


 
tl;dr -> As a consequence, this choice business, despite the fact that it's the rhetorical peak of the song, is an utter argumentative failure.

Oh, and the guitar solo is a noodly mess, too.


It hurts because he's right.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 8:54 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


This guy is my fact-checking cuz.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:59 AM on August 31, 2010 [18 favorites]


It's just an explication of Ayn Rand, really. I like the song, but it's never been one of my favorite Rush lyrics.
posted by koeselitz at 9:01 AM on August 31, 2010


Ah. Should've RTFL before commenting – this is quite good, and he's echoing some of my sentiments. I would add, though, that most of the problems with that song seem to come from Ayn Rand.
posted by koeselitz at 9:02 AM on August 31, 2010


choose free will as a metaphysics

This hurts my brain. He did it twice in the article, and both times I felt that he could have chosen a better way to say it. Maybe "metaphysical system" or something. But I don't read much philosophy, so maybe that is accepted usage?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 9:06 AM on August 31, 2010


In the later song, "Roll the Bones", they say, "Fate is just the weight of circumstances," so at least their philosophy (or whatever) is evolving.
posted by charred husk at 9:09 AM on August 31, 2010


Ayn Rand on free will
posted by koeselitz at 9:09 AM on August 31, 2010


I thought the article was kind of plate-of-beansy and he was reading a bit more Objectivism into the song than necessary. I do agree with him that describing Rush as "thinking man's music" is a bit of a stretch (unless by "thinking man" you mean "sci-fi reading high school student". But he does have a lot of interesting stuff elsewhere on his blog, so I appreciate this post for pointing me in that direction.
posted by TedW at 9:13 AM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I always thought that the song confused "free will" with "ego," but yeah.
posted by lordrunningclam at 9:19 AM on August 31, 2010


I would like to point out that Rush is a rock band and that "Working Man" kicks ass regardless of any half-baked philosophy said rock band espouses.
posted by Mister_A at 9:23 AM on August 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


I always thought it was just an anti-religious screed.
posted by NoMich at 9:25 AM on August 31, 2010


Or I should say, an atheist's anthem.
posted by NoMich at 9:27 AM on August 31, 2010


I would like to point out that Geddy Lee sings some of his highest notes in the "Each of us a cell of awareness" section of this song.


It is very hard to replicate.
posted by wittgenstein at 9:27 AM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Call me when they can hammer out a coherent lyrical analysis of "Tom Sawyer."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:35 AM on August 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


That dude is mean-mean, down to his legbones.

Next?
posted by ardgedee at 10:02 AM on August 31, 2010


unless by "thinking man" you mean "sci-fi reading high school student"

Them's fighting words!
posted by jbickers at 10:07 AM on August 31, 2010


Call me when they can hammer out a coherent lyrical analysis of "Tom Sawyer."

I think it's about a dickish little kid who will thankfully one day grow out of his dickishness.

You know, like Alex Lifeson and his Objectivism.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:12 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


It hurts because he's right.

No, it hurts because he attacks conclusions that aren't solely supported by the lyrics. He makes a bunch of logical leaps of faith in order to have a position, then dismantles these trivial (and illogical) positions in order to appear educated and/or relevant, presumably to draw traffic to his worthless blog where he apparently does the same thing with other popular songs.

See also.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:13 AM on August 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh, and the guitar solo is a noodly mess, too.

I think its a superb dialogue between Alex & Geddy.

Go listen to it again.
posted by elmono at 10:16 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


[This song] is an utter argumentative failure.

[This song is] just an explication of Ayn Rand, really.


...but I repeat myself.
posted by el_lupino at 10:19 AM on August 31, 2010


I'm completely with Civil_Disobedient on this one. This essay brings in a lot of concepts which are nowhere to be found within the actual lyrics of the song.
There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance
A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance

A planet of play things
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive
'The stars aren't aligned
Or the gods are malign...'
Blame is better to give than receive

[Chorus:]
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that's clear
I will choose freewill

There are those who think
That they were dealt a losing hand
The cards were stacked against them
They weren't born in Lotusland

All preordained
A prisoner in chains
A victim of venomous fate
Kicked in the face
You can't pray for a place
In heaven's unearthly estate

[Chorus]

Each of us
A cell of awareness
Imperfect and incomplete
Genetic blends
With uncertain ends
On a fortune hunt that's far too fleet

[Chorus]
Then Aiken writes: the majority of the song is out to cast the poor as people who rationalize their poverty as a consequence of fate, when it actually is because of their own inaction.

Seriously? The POOR? I don't see any mention of class or financial status in those lyrics ANYWHERE.

Etc etc for most of his essay. He really is bringing far too much of his own baggage into the discussion, and not reading from the actual text.

Cute idea, but he gets an F for poor exegesis.
posted by hippybear at 10:21 AM on August 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, what Civil_Disobedient said. The blogger doesn't analyze the lyrics so much as the strawmen he constructed from his own skewed interpretation of those lyrics.
Personally I don't see objectivism in Free Will. I see a criticism of religion, astrology, new-age mysticism, and fatalism. I consider myself a socialist and still agree with the sentiment of the song.
posted by rocket88 at 10:24 AM on August 31, 2010


Oh, and the guitar solo is a noodly mess, too.

If by "noodly mess" you mean "rip-tastic shredderific gee-tar gawd-DAY-um weedly-weedly-weedly-woodly-weedly-woodly-weedly-WAAAAUUGHGHGH MOTHERFUCKIN YE-E-E-E-E-E-EEAH!!!!!", then yes, I would agree.

signed,
Spoobnooble, aged 15
posted by spoobnooble at 10:30 AM on August 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


And is this a good time to point out that 25-30 years ago I used to think the lyric was "I will choose a bathysphere", and not "I will choose a path that's clear"? Yes, I know it makes no sense.
posted by hippybear at 10:33 AM on August 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


I look forward to the author's upcoming analysis of "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley as a critique of current schools of psychology.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:34 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would add, though, that most of the problems with that song seem to come from Ayn Rand.

I would argue that the problem is Geddy Lee's voice. Seriously. The guy accomplished much with what the gods gave him (go free will, go) but it always bugged me that Rush didn't have someone with more agreeable pipes hogging the microphone, hence my tendency to make tape edits (yup, even back in the late 70s) where I dumped all the singing and just kept the thrashing.

As for the Free Will stuff, for some reason M Scott Peck comes to mind, and one of his fundamental conclusions (at least, as I remember it). Basically, he felt, after years in the psychiatry biz, that regardless of what life had thrown at them (silver spoons, grinding poverty, easy street, the wrong side of the tracks, perfect teeth, congenital disease), it was the people who figured out a way to take some form of accountability for the messes they found themselves in (rather than blame them on gods, governments, grandparents, germs, various other things that don't begin with "g"), and thus took conscious action toward improving their situation --- these were the mostly mentally healthy and effective people he knew.

Rush, at their vox-free best.
posted by philip-random at 10:52 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


And is this a good time to point out that 25-30 years ago I used to think the lyric was "I will choose a bathysphere", and not "I will choose a path that's clear"? Yes, I know it makes no sense.

May I talk to you for a moment about the ideas of Andrew Ryan?
posted by tyllwin at 10:54 AM on August 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think it's about a dickish little kid

Don't put him down as arrogant!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:00 AM on August 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation:
We have assumed control!
posted by not_on_display at 11:03 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you're going to analyze rock lyrics, it seems like it might be prudent to focus on artists who are known for their lyrical content. There are a lot of great rock songs out there that are, lyrically, a few bricks short of a load. Take almost any song by Led Zeppelin, at best the lyrics are innocuous and at worst, juvenile to the point of self parody. Rush is definitely in the same boat, most of their lyrics could have been written by a particularly precocious thirteen year old, whereas the music is often very complex rhythmically and very well played.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:13 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


And is this a good time to point out that 25-30 years ago I used to think the lyric was "I will choose a bathysphere", and not "I will choose a path that's clear"? Yes, I know it makes no sense.

Makes perfect sense. Peart, evil objectivist that he is/was, perfectly foresaw "Bioshock."
posted by jbickers at 11:16 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tough crowd.
posted by rush at 11:30 AM on August 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


Neil Peart likes Science Fiction & Objectivism; writes emabarrasing lyrics about them. News at Eleven.

Now, In the End, that's pure f'n GOLD, man!
posted by KingEdRa at 11:32 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously? The POOR? I don't see any mention of class or financial status in those lyrics ANYWHERE.

It might be a stretch, but not nearly as much of a stretch as you suggest:

There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand /
The cards were stacked against them; they weren't born in Lotusland.


I mean, it is not too far from there to quote-unquote I am poor because of circumstances beyond my control. But, yeah whatever.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:34 AM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rhetorical analysis of Rush's "Free Will"

Meanwhile on the Pyramid stage there's "Free analysis of Will's rhetorical rush". Hamlet's solilothingy, anyone..??
posted by MajorDundee at 11:40 AM on August 31, 2010


Except that the lotusland in the lyrics is (I believe) a reference to the lotus eaters of Greek Myth. It does not mean riches and wealth, but possibly artificial idyllic contentment. (Which given that Neil Peart is pretty constently not a fan of religion, might also be a reference to the often over-quoted "Religion is the opiate of the people" statement by Marx.

Which is deliciously ironic given how many of Peart's early stuff was Randian*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus-eaters

It isn't an implication against the poor, it's an implication against people who blame fate (or religion or whatever you like to call it) for their circumstances, regardless of what those circumstances ARE.

* AFAIK, he's since basically said "Yeah, I was young and stupid. Sorry."
posted by FritoKAL at 11:42 AM on August 31, 2010


They can pry my copy of Permanent Waves from my cold dead hands. And I say that as someone who am about as far from an Ayn Rand fan as can be. Though I like "The Fopuntainhead" too, at least the 1949 movie version -- Robert Burks' cinematography rocks, even if nothing else does.
posted by blucevalo at 11:50 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Peart apologist/fanboy here, reminding you to be sure to check out his later stuff, which is much more thoughtful and open-minded and concerned with humanity. I'm fond of "Middletown Dreams" and "Territories" myself.
posted by jbickers at 11:51 AM on August 31, 2010


Wait, this is surely meant to be taken as at least slightly tongue-in-cheek, isn't it? I mean, you don't really suppose the author means this to be taken as seriously as all that, given the self-consciously frivolous "also the guitar solo..." punchline near the end? Maybe I'm wrong, but I kind of read this as a lighthearted example of wonky-rhetorical-analysis-as-satirical-literary-form goofiness, not necessarily a serious/sincere attempt to analyze/critique Rush lyrics (though I don't doubt the author actually does seriously view these lyrics as kind of a mess--but then, most lyrics are!).
posted by saulgoodman at 11:56 AM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


All these years I've misheard the words "they wern't born in Lotusland" as "they were born in low estate."

Anyway, the paradox of the line "I will choose free will" makes it clear to me that the song isn't talking about "free will" in a metaphysical/philosophical sense. It's just a rant about choosing to make your life better through your own efforts rather than waiting around for God to make it better.
posted by straight at 11:58 AM on August 31, 2010


Neil Peart's version of "The Hockey Theme" is great for getting through the story mode of Rock Band (original, 2, or Lego) during the "pick your own songs" sets. (Along with Colbert's "Charlene", etc)

That's all I can really contribute here.
posted by kmz at 12:01 PM on August 31, 2010


Rush is definitely in the same boat, most of their lyrics could have been written by a particularly precocious thirteen year old

Isn't this true with nearly ALL rock lyrics? I mean, really.

That said, Rush is probably a step or two above most rock bands with what they try to achieve with their lyrics. Certainly anything post Hemispheres, and increasingly as they've continued their career, they've managed to walk a nice line which makes their words accessible and still open to analysis. Their last two albums in particular have been especially lyrically rich, but that's not surprising considering the things Peart has been through.
posted by hippybear at 12:20 PM on August 31, 2010


Cute idea, but he gets an F for poor exegesis.

Give him a break, he's doing the best he can.
posted by homunculus at 12:27 PM on August 31, 2010


So, uh, some people believe they cannot control their fate, and so don't even try. But, uh, the guy singing the song, he believes you can control your fate, and that you should try. THIS IS NOT COMPLICATED. Gz.
posted by davejay at 12:37 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


And anyway, writing lyrics is less about a message and more about a message with cadence that supports the melody. Just a long string of related haikus, in a way. The lyrics "You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice/If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice" is mediocre absent the melody that gives it structure, but against the melody it's brilliant. No need to analyze it like it's a passage from a novel.
posted by davejay at 12:39 PM on August 31, 2010


writing lyrics is less about a message and more about a message with cadence that supports the melody

And if not, you can always throw in a few yeahs, whoas, and babys to keep the cadence in line.
posted by rocket88 at 12:48 PM on August 31, 2010


I'm curious to see which Rock artists doctor_negative thinks "are known for their lyrical content." if not Rush? Comparing Zeppelin's ripped off blues lyrics to Rush's...them's fightin' words.
posted by numbskeleton at 1:22 PM on August 31, 2010


Van Halen's lyrics are pretty thoughtful. Like, Dave really put a lot of thought into letting everyone know he likes to drink and get crazy and do snu-snu with women of questionable scruples.
posted by Mister_A at 2:17 PM on August 31, 2010


It's weird that this is here in Metafilter, because I just, perhaps an hour ago in the car, had my own fantastic Rush lyrical epiphany. 2112 came on through the random shuffle, and it has a line that's always puzzled me: "I know it's most unusual, to come before you sow." And it finally dawned on me, after 20-odd years of listening to this epic prog rock opera, that in fact what he's saying, to the priests, is "I know it's most unusual, to come before [you exalted priests] so."
Anyway, this guy clearly has a much better grasp of Rush lyrics than I do
posted by Flashman at 2:18 PM on August 31, 2010


I'm curious to see which Rock artists doctor_negative thinks "are known for their lyrical content."

I ain't doctor_negative, but as far as mainstream (i.e. classic) rock goes, how about ... Pink Floyd, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, The Clash, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground? That's a start.

Rush is definitely in the same boat, most of their lyrics could have been written by a particularly precocious thirteen year old

Isn't this true with nearly ALL rock lyrics? I mean, really


No.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:02 PM on August 31, 2010


I do have to wonder what Aikin would have to say about Anthem:

Know your place in life is where you want to be
Don't let them tell you that you owe it all to me
Keep on looking forward...no use in looking 'round
Hold your head above the ground and they won't bring you down

Anthem of the heart and anthem of the mind
A funeral dirge for eyes gone blind
We marvel after those who sought
The wonders of the world, wonders of the world
Wonders of the world they wrought

Live for yourself...there's no one else
More worth living for
Begging hands and bleeding hearts will only cry out for more

Well, I know they've always told you
Selfishness was wrong
Yet it was for me, not you, I came to write this song


Although it is a good song (and I am a Rush fan), this showcases their Randian side about as well as any of their songs.
posted by TedW at 3:18 PM on August 31, 2010



I think this person missed the mark with the lyric analysis, reading implications that just aren't there (and why did anyone expend the energy? Rush lyrics are about as erudite as an Encylopedia Brown novel).
But when he says:
Oh, and the guitar solo is a noodly mess, too.
I must respectfully say he's out of his fucking mind.
posted by Red Loop at 3:20 PM on August 31, 2010


Come before you sow
posted by mrgrimm at 3:21 PM on August 31, 2010


Believe it or not, across the 40 years of their career, Rush has actually let go of the Randian stuff. They did nearly 20 years ago, actually. If that's your only context for Rush, that they're a Randian band, then you're living in a false reality about them at this point.
posted by hippybear at 3:29 PM on August 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


Put me in the "I thought the song was a knock on religion" column.
posted by MikeMc at 4:06 PM on August 31, 2010


Cute idea, but he gets an F for poor exegesis.

Heh. That reminds me of the Unkle Fucka exegesis I wrote a whole bunch of years ago for no reason that I can quite recall.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:44 PM on August 31, 2010


Also, I watched the newish Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage documentary last weekend, and it's pretty great.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:46 PM on August 31, 2010


Rush is all about the drums. Nobody but dumbasses cares about the lyrics.
posted by jonmc at 4:46 PM on August 31, 2010




All things being equal, I will still choose free will.
posted by bwg at 6:07 PM on August 31, 2010


via
posted by ovvl at 6:09 PM on August 31, 2010


OMG WTF YYZ
posted by mattdidthat at 6:51 PM on August 31, 2010


All things being equal, I will still choose free will.

I might, too, if all things were or ever had been equal.

As it is, I will choose reality (which, if I'm lucky, comes with a small side salad of free will).
posted by saulgoodman at 6:51 PM on August 31, 2010


But seconding jonmc: neal pert's chops on the trap kit are all that anyone should really listen to rush for, not to discount geddy lee's ample skills on the bass.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:55 PM on August 31, 2010


hippybear: “Believe it or not, across the 40 years of their career, Rush has actually let go of the Randian stuff. They did nearly 20 years ago, actually. If that's your only context for Rush, that they're a Randian band, then you're living in a false reality about them at this point.”

Hell, they were never really pure Randians. The song "free will" is totally Ayn Rand derived, but I don't think Neil Peart has ever been really in her sway. Anybody who believes the guys from Rush are just rote followers of Rand should listen to the lyrics "The Spirit Of Radio" a few more times – she would've cringed so hard her knees wrinkled if she'd read those lyrics.
posted by koeselitz at 6:58 PM on August 31, 2010


jonmc: “Rush is all about the drums. Nobody but dumbasses cares about the lyrics.”

Y'know, I get where you're coming from. But I just linked a song that has lyrics that happen to mean a lot to me, and if you say I'm a dumbass for thinking those lyrics approach the sublime... I will cut you.
posted by koeselitz at 7:00 PM on August 31, 2010


I have conflicted feelings about Peart's lyrics. I despise Rand as much as anyone on MeFi, but I also get the sense that Peart was perhaps trying to aspire to something more comprehensive.

His memoir Traveling Music has a really hilarious Schopenhauer + Tropical disease anecdote.
posted by ovvl at 7:02 PM on August 31, 2010


doctor_negative: “... most of their lyrics could have been written by a particularly precocious thirteen year old...”

hippybear: “Isn't this true with nearly ALL rock lyrics? I mean, really.”

I think that's an easy mistake to make, considering that rock music only started having a crop of really interesting writers of lyrics about thirty or thirty-five years ago. Before that, really interesting lyricists (I don't say songwriters, but lyricists) were relatively rare, and usually only a handful appeared in a decade. Bob Dylan was the first rock musician, I think, to write lyrics that had enough depth and breadth to them that they really stood on their own, as intellectually interesting and worth some attention. Lou Reed has done some great stuff, but it's my conviction that he didn't really sit down and start writing interesting lyrics until his solo records (which always seemed superior to the Velvet Underground anyhow to me). I'd like to think of more really good rock lyricists from the 50s to the early 70s, but I can't; I hope somebody will throw some names out for that period.

Whereas, since 1975, there have been a hell of a lot more really great lyricists working in the rock medium, maybe just because of the strong influence of Bob Dylan and Lou Reed. I mean... David Thomas from Pere Ubu, Robin Hitchcock, Ana da Silva and Gina Birch, Ari Upp, Ian Curtis, Patti Smith, and most of all Nick Cave and Mark E Smith. All great writers.
posted by koeselitz at 7:33 PM on August 31, 2010


If nothing else this FPP has turned me on to a bunch of Rush on YouTube. That has made me think this post should be retitled "We are the priests... Of the temples... Of MeFi..."

Schopenhauer+tropical disease has me looking for Traveling Music right now.
posted by TedW at 7:37 PM on August 31, 2010


It's not even a rhetorical analysis. It's got jack to do with rhetorical analysis.

What the author has done is basic undergrad informal logic (identifying parts of the argument, and trying to find problems with it). And even then, as others above have mentioned, he attacks the conclusions, rather than the meat of the argument, which is completely absurd from a logical point of view. You can't attack conclusions, as it is a logical fallacy. You can show the premises don't structurally follow to the conclusions, and you can show one of the premises are false. But purely attacking the conclusion, claiming the argument is false, then calling it a 'rhetorical analysis', shows that this blogger probably doesn't know what he is talking about.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 8:07 PM on August 31, 2010


We analyzed this song in my intro to philosophy class!
posted by saul wright at 9:59 PM on August 31, 2010


Olly, aren't you mixing up logic and rhetoric? Logic is about being... logical, and rhetoric is about persuading. They're two different things. His post isn't a logical proof, it's an argument to persuade you to his perspective. Clearly it's not one you find effective, but others might have a different opinion.
posted by jsturgill at 11:19 PM on August 31, 2010


Although he may be using the term rhetorical analysis incorrectly, and I appear to be skimming things more than usual at the moment, rather than reading them closely for comprehension, so I'm going to stop typing now and go to sleep.
posted by jsturgill at 11:23 PM on August 31, 2010


Good Song
posted by 3secondheat at 11:24 PM on August 31, 2010


jsturgill, it's your second post.

I'm not the one mixed up. The blogger is the one mixing up rhetorical analysis with informal logic. Again, see that link above about rhetorical analysis. The two are completely different fields. One is assessing the completeness of plain language arguments (logic), and the other is assessing the context, structure, and persuasive appeals made by an orator (rhetoric).

He is predominantly arguing from the former perspective, not the latter. For instance check out his tag 'ad hominem'. From a logical perspective ad hominem is a species of fallacious argument. From a rhetorical perspective it is a legitimate tool in rhetorical combat, as it attacks the ethos of a fellow orator. He is mainly saying something akin to "BAD, AD HOMINEM BAD!" without even bothering to get into the nitty gritty of proper rhetorical analysis.

Again, if he is going to throw around words about things being rhetoric or not, he should at least be familiar with the field, and not try to pass himself off as something he is not.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 11:47 PM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


ugh, I meant soundness, not completeness. Time for me to step away from the keyboard as well.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 11:57 PM on August 31, 2010



I'm curious to see which Rock artists doctor_negative thinks "are known for their lyrical content."


Bob Dylan
Elvis Costello
The Beatles
The Rolling Stones
Neil Young
David Bowie
Patti Smith
Radiohead
Sufjan Stevens
The Band
Ian Dury
The Kinks
etc.

And what Koeselitz said.

I like Rush a lot, but they are not the poet laureates of rock and roll.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:58 AM on September 1, 2010


Man, oh, man, thanks for posting this!

About 20 years ago while in high school - probably 11th grade - I suddenly discovered Rush's 2112 and my world was utterly changed. I was not a popular kid, I had braces, glasses and a frizzy afro, and I could not figure anything out, but Rush and Neal Peart helped show me the way. Listening to Rush still takes me back to that awkward time, which lasted until my second year of university when I discovered pot, contact lenses and Shoegaze, but the years in-between were pretty harrowing. I seriously considered joining the French Foreign Legion. I bought books about Objectivism. I wore an OPP in tribute of Kim Mitchell from Max Webster.

I grew out of Rush at about the time I developed more emotional intelligence. I still find Grace Under Pressure pretty interesting, and I play Permanent Waves at 8am on January 1st at the start of every new decade. But I'm done with Rush.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:10 PM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


There's a big difference between "the poet laureates of rock and roll" and "their lyrics could have been written by a particularly precocious thirteen year old". I think Rush probably falls somewhere in between the two, as do the artists you've listed above. My vote for poet laureates of rock and roll goes to Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia for 'Crazy Fingers'.
posted by numbskeleton at 7:31 AM on September 2, 2010


I know I've mentioned it before, but if you ever did like Rush and have abandoned them because you thought they were too precious or too Randian or whatever, you really need to check out their most recent album, Snakes & Arrows. It really shows where the band is today musically, and where Peart is coming from these days lyrically and philosophically. I think it's easily one of the best albums they've ever put out, and I've been buying their stuff upon release since, jeez, the mid-70s. (Damn, I'm old.)

I'm interested to see what Clockwork Angels will be like when it comes out next year. The first two singles have me pretty stoked, actually.

And I'd probably put Pearl Jam in that list of bands who have better-than-normal lyrics.
posted by hippybear at 9:19 AM on September 2, 2010


It would be awesome if Jarvis Cocker wrote Rush's lyrics.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:24 AM on September 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


My vote for poet laureates of rock and roll goes to Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia for 'Crazy Fingers'.

I completely agree, and there's several other Hunter/ Garcia tunes I'd put in that category.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:16 AM on September 3, 2010


It would be awesome if Jarvis Cocker wrote Rush's lyrics.

This is one of those very few occasions where I -- just briefly, but fervently -- wish for a downvote button here on the blue.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:05 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jarvis Cocker could write a song about that, and it would be good!
posted by KokuRyu at 8:00 AM on September 3, 2010


several other Hunter/ Garcia tunes I'd put in that category.

Well, Robert Hunter is an amazing poet, definitely not your typical rock wordsmith. Certainly at least head and shoulders above 99% of what is out there. Probably worth a FPP of his own someday.
posted by hippybear at 9:11 AM on September 3, 2010


This medley from the Exit... Stage Left video is pretty awesome.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:07 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


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